Putting the Internet into perspective.
“Teaching, Learning, and Technology: A Cross-Cultural Look at Transforming Educational Institutions.” The proliferation of electronic resources and distributed learning environments over the past decade has put pressure on many educational institutions to transform the manner in which they structure student learning experiences. As educators across the world reflect on their teaching practices and the potential use of these digital tools, an interesting dynamic has emerged as values, knowledge, time, and the allocation of resources have collided over the issue of what is frequently called “best practice”. The purpose of Bailey’s proposed project is to engage in a cross-cultural examination of the issues surrounding the transition to the use of educational technologies in a range of learning environments. The project will focus on the personal, relational, professional, and cultural aspects of this transition in a collection of schools in America and in New Zealand, ranging from elementary through graduate school. Mark’s work will, we think, help us at the Berglund Center in further defining best practices for K-12 teachers.
A central focus of Bell’s work over the past eight years has been an exploration of web-based learning environments for use in science education. In the research project associated with the Berglund fellowship, he extends this work by studying the educational and social effects derived from an active attempt to foster on-line interaction between highly polarized stakeholders associated with a contemporary controversy in science. As they naturally develop, online communities that feature an activist agenda can resemble balkanized thought collectives where polarized information and opinion pools in distant corners of the Web. Bell’s research seeks to provide insights about how to promote multi-partisan, democratic on-line forums that allow for the airing, education, and possible resolution of competing perspectives about issues of societal importance. Such work stands to inform the possible roles for network infrastructure in society and how to foster constructive interaction around scientific controversies. We are pleased to be able to fund it, and look forward to working with him.
Tiffany Boggis's project was the creation of a website for an interdisciplinary health program abroad: "Health Promotion of Elders in Nicaragua: Interdisciplinary International Educational Opportunities for Pacific University Health Programs." This website can be found at: http://www.pacificu.edu/chp/international/nicaragua/.
As a Berglund Center Research Fellow, Mike is going to expand on earlier work about technology and human values, particularly as these matters play out in K-12 education. His thesis is that the fundamentally human character of education is being increasingly undermined by la technique--a phenomenon first described by the French social thinker Jacques Ellul in the middle of the 20th century. La technique is often equated with technology, but Mike believes this is a mischaracterization. Technology is often viewed as merely an object, but Ellul critiques la technique as the way of thinking that produces technological objects; it is this way of thinking that is invading every field of human endeavor, including education.
"The Influence of Collectivistic and Individualistic Value Orientations on the Acceptance of Individually-Tailored Internet Communications" Shawn is an Assistant Professor at the School of Professional Psychology at Pacific. His research is to detail the role that collectivist and individualistic value orientations play in the tailoring, acceptance and eventual utilization of information transmitted via the Internet. This study will provide insight into the cultural value orientations play in communication, and into how to better present individualized information to serve a diverse population.
My name is Desheng Yang, an English teacher of the Chinese nationality. I started to teach the English language, right after my graduation from Sichuan Foreign Languages Institute, to the Chinese students in Chengdu University of Technology from 1988 to 2000, in Wenzhou University from 2000 to 2002, and from 2002 until now in Wenzhou Medical College(WMC, for short, hereafter ) in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province of China.
As a Berglund fellow Eli proposes to investigate one of the novel aspects of synchronous textual computer mediated communication (CMC): the ability of CMC users to follow and take part in several textual conversational interactions at the same time. This phenomenon is manifested, e.g., in Internet Chat, Instant Messaging applications, and textual virtual worlds, and has not been acknowledged so far for what it is—a new cognitive communicative skill, which can be labeled as conversational multi-tasking. Eli's objective is to research conversational multi-tasking empirically, and then to draw from his experimental work conclusions regarding the implications and applications of this ability. Does multi-tasking give rise, e.g., to a more fragmented self, as Turkle hypothesizes? Is conversational multi-tasking associated with greater efficiency in goal-oriented interactions in general, and in educational ones in particular? What kinds of interaction are better suited for multi-tasking, and what kinds are not? Eli hopes to be able to provide answers (albeit tentative ones) to as least some these questions.
Dr. Ebersole has been studying new media and the convergence of digital technologies since the late 80s. Currently he is researching and teaching about electronic media, interactive multimedia and interface design, and media research. With a textbook published by Focal Press and numerous scholarly articles about media effects and online pedagogy, Professor Ebersole's research has been cited in The New York Times on the Web and in The Christian Science Monitor.
According to an online learner in one of Dr. Ebersole's classes, "the biggest void in this or any online program is the lack of a sense of community and the social aspect of attending class." Another student put it this way: "is anyone out there?....sometimes it's hard to connect with other students in a meaningful way...by the time we get to know each other the semester is over." Still another student remarked, "...instead of a number, I'm a screen name...that can be depressing at times...I just don't know how to connect or to be part of the class."
Failure to address the relational concerns just noted may result in poor student performance, greater feelings of isolation, and subsequent withdrawal from online courses. The "communal scaffold" is a way for instructors to conceptualize the relationship between affective and cognitive learning in the online setting. The scaffold sets guidelines for effective online and offline community-building strategies in ways that extend and enhance opportunities for knowledge construction and cognitive learning.
Dr. Ebersole's research will consider several online and offline strategies used to connect online learners with one another and with faculty. Course designers or facilitators who practice these strategies can create more supportive learning environments and minimize program attrition. The research will consider online and offline tools to help instructors and their students successfully integrate academic and social environments. Research demonstrates that the degree to which students and faculty intentionally construct or develop a sense of interpersonal intimacy and community through multiple modes of online and offline communication tools will significantly impact student motivation, performance, personal growth, harmony, inclusiveness, and satisfaction with the overall online learning experience. The communal scaffold is that communication structure which facilitates or otherwise promotes the development of intimacy and community.
"Adaptation and Implementation of Innovative, Technology-Based Pedagogies in Optometry" James and Stephen Hall are both Associate Professors of Physics at Pacific University. Their grant is to investigate the effectiveness of several technology-based pedagogical techniques and to assess the benefits of adapting these techniques for use in the Geometric and Physical Optics Course at the Pacific University College of Optometry.
“Developing On-line Methodology for the Exploration and Examination of Community Attitudes and Values”. The project seeks to develop and test an on-line methodology for the exploration and examination of community attitudes and values with two groups, one in the UK and one in the US. Group members will be encouraged to explore the main themes through personal biographies and the insights gained from comparing and discussing them in the light of community attitudes and values. It is envisaged that the knowledge gained would underpin approaches to education which would be more interactive, dynamic, participant centered and collaborative. This project will also be useful in gaining insights into the similarities and differences between communities in the U.K. and the U.S. We first met Derek as a Berglund Affiliate during the summer of 2001. The perspective derived from his many years of working with electronic communities in the United Kingdom brought an otherwise unavailable perspective to our discussions and we look forward to working with him again.
“Issues In The Development Of A Formal Policy On The Inclusion Of Digital Publications In The Faculty Evaluation Process”. The very nature of scholarly communication is in a state of flux because of technological innovations that have altered the way information can be organized and delivered. Through electronic media, scholarly articles and monographs can now be “published” without ever appearing in print. The most significant obstacle to the acceptance of these new publication outlets has been the reticence of tenure committees to consider new and as of yet unproven journals in what many consider to be an ephemeral medium as the equivalent of the older print counterparts. In light of these efforts as well as the growing arenas for publication, the libraries at Washington State University have just incorporated set of guidelines for the inclusion of non peer-reviewed electronic publications in the formal evaluation process. As a Berglund Fellow, Ryan will outline the various issues in developing and implementing such a set of guidelines.
"Blogging in the Middle East" Shereen is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Pacific University. Shereen's research focuses on the categorization of blogging in the Middle East and the effect political blogging has had on governments in the Middle East. The aim of her study is to provide a unique insight into the political and social atmosphere of Middle Eastern blog sites.
Berglund Fellow Professor Michael R. Steele is the former Executive Director of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, and Distinguished University Professor at Pacific University. Professor Steele's publications and presentations include, among many others:
A former journalist, Dr. Wall has taught journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was a Poynter Teaching Fellow at Indiana University. While on a University of Washington Graduate School Grant in Zimbabwe, she interviewed women journalists and conducted archival research. She has presented research papers at a dozen conferences and been published in the Journal of Development Communications; Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies; as well as in book chapters in Critical Studies in Media Commercialism; Media and Conflict: Framing Issues, Making Policy, Shaping Opinions; and the forthcoming Views From the Horizon: Perspectives on Digital Journalism.
Dr. Wall's research examines social movements and media, particularly their use of the Internet; media representations of Third World countries; and the practice sof journalism in Africa. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington focused on the use of the Internet to organize the "Battle in Seattle" protests in November 1999.
Dr. Wall teaches news writing, international news, radical media and graduate research methods to one of the most diverse student bodies in the country. One of the most notable trends in journalism in the last several years has been the rise of do-it-yourself journalism in the form of weblogs or blogs. Her Berglund research project will analyze how blogging is contributing to a changing world of journalism and how it fits within a traditional journalism curriculum.
Berglund Fellow Dr. Deborah L. Wheeler is at the Center for Internet Studies at the University of Washington. She is conducting a study of how technologically driven change affects the issues of education, community ethics, and politics in the Islamic World.
Dr. Wheeler states: "Most of my research and publication to date has examined the changes in education, community, and values stimulated by the Internet in developing countries, specifically those of the Islamic world."
"Web Conferencing as a Means of Enhancing Online Learning in a Hybrid Course Delivery Model" Abstract: This action research study reports the outcomes of using web conferencing technology to enrich the online component of a hybrid educational technology course in a Master's teacher preparation program. Participant blogs, transcripts of online sessions, and an exit questionnaire were analyzed to gain insights into the participants' experiences and perceptions of the hybrid model, and to elicit suggestions for improvement. Results indicate that even with some initial technical hurdles, the web conferencing technology was well received and participants stated overwhelmingly that they would want to participate in a future hybrid course. Instructor and students alike felt the technology was most effective when used for demonstrations and virtual tours [i.e. in Second Life] as well as for student presentations. Web conferencing is relatively easy to use but requires proper orientation especially for novice users. Future study should implement more of the tool's collaborative features to encourage more active student engagement.
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