Saturday, November 24, 2007

Assignment 11, Completed Research Paper

Hi all,

I think I am finally done with the 5 part research paper. I have uploaded the paper to my website and here is the link to the web page that contains the paper.

ETEC 543 Research Paper

Please take a look at let me know your thoughts. I am not sure about the formatting of the paper (ie. if I was supposed to use indentions for new paragraphs, or titles for the new sections, or even advancing the sections to the next page). Does anyone else know about the formatting issues of the paper? Are we supposed to leave the headings in for the 5 sections? Is the paper supposed to be double spaced?

Good luck to everyone else with completion of the research paper for the class.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Assignment 11, In Progress Research Paper

Well, this week was busy writing all three sections for the 5 part research paper. I was going to cut and copy all of the written work here, but I thought it would be cleaner to upload all three sections to my website and create a webpage. You can open or download the introduction section, the results section, and the discussion section from the webpage. Please visit my webpage at ETEC 543 webpage.

This webpage has a link for the introduction section, the results section and the discussion section.

Next week, my plan is to upload the entire paper to my website. Then you will be able to download the entire research paper containing all 5 parts.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Assignment 10, Method Section

In this section, the methods implemented to explore the topic of new media in online learning environments will be explained in detail. First, the recruitment process will be explored. Second, the development of the online survey instrument will be discussed and the process of how the final research questions were selected will be explained. Finally, the actual implementation of the online survey and some of the issues of using this tool as a method of data collection will be discussed.


The recruitment process for the participants in this study was informal and anonymous. I wanted to be sure that a majority of the population were adult learners with higher education backgrounds, so I sent out the hyperlink in an email directed to the faculty of Riverside Community College, Moreno Valley campus as well as classified staff of our campus. The participants were told that the survey should only take about 15 minutes of their time. By sending the email to the faculty of the college, this would ensure that each participant obtained at least a Masters degree or higher. About half of the classified staff at our campus has a minimum of a Bachelors degree, but there are about half of the staff that do not have a degree at all. I would have to state that this half of the staff would not participate in the survey in the first place, so I believe that it would not really affect the results by sending out the invitation to all of the staff members. There was also a few select individuals who I personally invited to participate in the survey by handing them a paper with the URL link printed on the paper.


The development of the final research questions was a very involved process. Each student in ETEC 543 was asked to submit several potential research questions on the topic of new media in online learning, adult learning and issues with online classes in general. These questions were collected and categorized. At first, the potential questions were grouped in a semi-structured way. Then the questions were split into two categories: media choice/adoptions/use and andragogy and online learning. The first category had 12 questions and the second category had 5 questions. By splitting the questions into two categories, this process helped to clarify exactly what the research project is focusing on.

The next step in the refining process was to revise and reduce the number of questions in each of the two categories. In the first category, 9 out of the 12 potential research questions were crossed off and in the second category, 3 out of the 5 questions were crossed off, with the addition of one more question. This reducing and refining process is important to narrow down the focus of the research project. From the 6 questions that were finally left after this process, four questions made the "final cut." These four questions are the final research questions that we hope to be able to answer after completion of our research.


The implementation of an online survey was used to collect data from a sample of our population. The sample was given a URL to access the survey and submit their results via the Internet to Dr. Newberry. One of the issues with using this online survey was that everything was kept anonymous; therefore, the researchers did not know who has or who has not completed the survey. I believe the use of the online survey is the best way to collect massive amounts of data that needs to be compiled. Online surveys are easy to administer, cost effective, and sure saves a lot of paper.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Assignment 8, Literature Review

Literature Review


This review examines the literature that has been published relating adult learning and andragogy, new media in online education and the idea of social presence and learning with new media. Studies have shown that online learning is better than traditional methods of learning. "The results revealed no significant differences in test scores, assignments, participation grades and final grades, although the online group's averages were slightly higher."(Neuhauser 2002, p. 99) Other professionals have expressed that online education is not as effective as traditional methods of learning and the integrity of the education might not be as valued. This review explores new media that is implemented in online education classes. The idea of social presence, methods of communicating with peers and the professor, and learning with new media will also be explored in this review.

Adult Learning and Andragogy:

The term andragogy means "adult learner" compared to the term pedagogy where the learners are children. Adult and children actually prefer to learn material in an online environment differently. Adult learners tend to need more time to digest new information given in an online class. The four R's for adult learners are responsibility, relevance, relatedness and rewards (Burge, 1988). Adult learners should feel a sense of responsibility for understanding the material in an online class and find the relevance and importantness of knowing and understanding the materials. The learners should be able to relate the material to past experiences or learning objectives for the course and the instructor should be able to provide the class with incentives or rewards that will benefit the learners.

The authors Luanne Fose and Martin Mehl are confident that adult learners can learn to use new technologies in their online classes. The students were introduced to podcasts by watching a podcast explaining the steps towards using a podcast and what exactly a podcast was. "This reduced the amount of campus staff required to support the pilot since, for the most part, students were able to prepare their computers for podcasting on their own without additional assistance."(Fose & Mehl, 2007) Therefore, adult learners are able to learn new technologies just as well as any students in online classes.

New Media in Online Education:

There are many different types of new media that are being used in online education. Podcasts, blogs, instant messaging, streaming video, streaming audio and wikis are just some of the many new innovative ways in which technology has helped students in online education. Berger studied the use of podcasts in online education. "The pilot study was designed specifically to assess student attitudes about podcasting, determine who benefits from podcasts, and evaluate which types of educational content provide the greatest benefit to the largest number of students."(Berger, 2007) Paul Lam and Carmel McNaught (2006) examined the benefits of using multimedia clips. Their student had students using multimedia clips to present material related to their projects. Their conclusions from this study showed the students were able to express their creativity, as well as improve their analytical skills.

Weller, Pegler and Mason (2005) examine the use of four innovative technologies incorporated in the design of an online course. The four technologies are blogging, instant messaging, audio conferencing and Harvard's Rotisserie system. Blogs were used to post information and to comment on other students' blog sites. Instant messaging was used between students to have a synchronous conversation with each other. Audio conferencing allows students to also have a synchronous conversation with each other, but the difficulty was trying to find a "good" time for everyone in the group to converse. Also, only one student could talk at a time. This leads to the Rotisserie system which incorporates a structured conferencing system that would decrease some of the previously mentioned problems. The Rotisserie is designed around a series of rounds where the students who signed up for a Rotisserie session would be sent an email letting them know to respond to a posting by a certain deadline. The students were asked to evaluate their experiences using the four technologies. The results revealed that instant messaging and audio conferencing were the most popular choices. It is also interesting to note that both of these technologies involve synchronous conversations to take place.

Social Presence and Learning with New Media:

There are many benefits from using new technologies to communicate in online class discussions. Stuart Glogoff (2005) examines how online discussions offer students the anonymity they may need so they can openly express their opinions relating to a topic. This anonymity also allows others the confidence to give more direct feedback over the Internet versus saying something face to face to another student (Glogoff, 2005). The communication tool that was implemented in this study was the blog. The students and professor found there were more communication and comments by using these blogs versus the traditional discussions that take place in a classroom.

Students can also benefit and increase their social presence by using instant messaging. Instant messaging can be used to increase the students' participation and engagement in discussions (Sparks & Mentz, 2006). Instant messaging can be helpful with assisting students with homework issues, clarifying assignments or even to hold virtual office hours for distance education students.

Project Talkback (Witte, 2007) is another example of how technology can be used to increase and improve social presence in online learning. This research project implemented the use of blogs to increase students' interest in writing about various topics. While a student may not be interested in writing about a topic on paper, using blogs as a writing instrument increases their interest in the writing assignment and the students are able to write more creatively.

Online education will never be perfect, but over the last 10 years, the improvements have come a long way. New technologies have made communicating in online classes more effective and at the same time, easier for all students to learn to use, including adult learners. New technologies have increased and sparked the interest of children to want to learn how to use technology and to improve their education. With new technology tools being discovered and implemented every year, perhaps one day soon, online education will be the way classes are taught at all grade levels.


Berger, E. (October 2007). Podcasting in engineering education: A preliminary study of content, student attitudes, and impact. Innovate Journal of Online Education, 4, Retrieved October 14, 2007.

Burge, L. (1988). Beyond andragogy: Some explorations for distance learning design. Journal of Distance Education, 3(1), 5-23.

Fose, L. & Mehl, M. (May 2007). Plugging into students' digital DNA: Five myths prohibiting proper podcasting pedagogy in the new classroom domain. MERLOT Journal of Online Teaching and Education, 3(3).

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate, 1(5), 1-6.

Lam, P. & McNaught, C. (2006). Design and evaluation of online courses containing media-enhanced learning materials. Educational Media International, 43(3), 199-218.

Neuhauser, C. (2002). Learning style and effectiveness of online and face to face instruction. American Journal of Distance Education, 16(2), 99-113.

Sparks, P. & Mentz, L. (2006). Electronic note passing: Enriching online learning with new communication tools. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2(4), 1-6.

Witte, S. (2007). That's online writing, not boring school writing: Writing with blogs and the talkback project. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51, 92-96.

Weller, M., Pegler, C., Mason, R. (2005). Use of innovative technologies on an e-learning course. The Internet and Higher Education, 8(1), 61-71.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Assignment 7, Research Ideas

These are some potential research questions related to my article from Assignment 6.

  • What is the effectiveness of using blogs as the only communication mechanism in an online class?
  • What the advantages versus disadvantages of using the Harvard Rotisserie system as compared to audio conferencing?
  • Which form of communication: blogging, audio conferencing, Rotisserie system or instant messaging increases students' retention in an online class?
  • How effective is using instant messaging as a communication tool in an online class?
  • Which method of communication do students feel is the most effective in an online class?
  • Which method of communication do instructors/professors believe is the most effective and successful in an online class?

The Research Methodology:

These research questions could be examined and explored through both qualitative and quantitative research studies. These are some examples of research studies that could be explored.

For a quantitative research study, an online class could be offered using each of the four innovative technologies as the primary form of communication between students vs. students and also students vs. professor. At the end of the term, a common final exam could be given that covers topics that were discussed through dialogue using the technology as a communication tool. The results could be compared to see which method of technology communication seemed to get the dialogue and material through to the students the most effectively and clearly.

A survey could be implemented and distributed to an online class asking the students' opinion on the effectiveness of using the four technologies as a form of communication. A likert scale would be most helpful in a situation like this so that statistical measurements could be calculated for not just one class but over several years and the results could be calculated together. A similar survey could be created for professors who teach online classes that use the four types of communication technologies between the students in their classes.

A research study might also include using more than just one of these four innovative technologies for communications together in the same class at once. For example, the students might find it beneficial if instant messaging was combined with blogging as forms of communication in an online class. Many combinations could be explored and perhaps there isn't one situation that is best for everyone, but we should understand that everyone is a different type of learner; therefore, students will probably prefer different situations.


Assignment 6, Annotation

APA Citation:

Weller, M., Pegler, C., Mason, R. (2005). Use of innovative technologies on an e-learning course. The Internet and Higher Education, 8(1), 61-71.


This article examines the use of four innovative technologies incorporated in the design of an online course, Learning in the Connected Economy offered by the Open University in the United Kingdom. The four technologies were blogging, instant messaging, audio conferencing and Harvard's Rotisserie system. There were no face to face meetings in this course. The content of this course was divided in 155 learning objects presented over four blocks. Each block used one of the four technologies to assist in delivering the content and information to the students and last approximately 2 months. The learning blocks applied text, audio content, animation, audio conferences and web casts to cover areas of learning in each block. Also, blogging, instant messaging and other collaborative tools were explored as well.

Web blogs are the fastest growing technology over the last few years. There are basically two types of blogs; the journal or a filter-style blog in which the blogger will post comments as well as links to other web based information. Blogging has been simplified do to easy to use tools such as, Radio Userland and MoveableType which allow users to post information from any location with Internet access. The three primary uses of educational blogging are 1) group blogs 2) academics keeping blogs and 3) students using blogs. The students in the online class were provided with instructions on how to set up a blog, with references on blogging, and then shown a variety of popular blogs so they could gain a sense of the type of writing style and commentary used in the blogging community. Then they were required to set up their own blogs and use them for posting and commentary on other students' blogs for several weeks.

Audio conferencing was the next technology to be explored. Audio conferencing was the most familiar of the technologies to the students. Many of the students have used some sort of audio conferencing in the past either at school or with work related projects. That is primarily because audio conferencing is building on telephone conferencing in which the students were familiar with. Audio conferencing is synchronous and should be used effectively in smaller groups. This made it difficult to communicate with students in different parts of the world who were in different time zones. Another issue is that only one student can talk at a time. A set of rules needed to be implemented to how the students would take turns talking so that everyone was not talking at once.

The Rotisserie system from Harvard University was also implemented as the third technology. Some of the problems from online discussions include lack of participation, unfocused discussion and resistance to participation. Therefore Harvard University designed a "Rotisserie" system. This is a structure conferencing system that would hopefully decrease some of the above mentioned problems with online discussions. The Rotisserie is designed around a series of rounds where the students who signed up for a Rotisserie session would be sent an email letting them know to respond to a posting by a certain deadline. They could post their reply before the deadline, but their responses would not be published until the deadline had past. In the next round, each student would be assigned another posting and a deadline to post a reply to their posting and so forth until all of the rounds were completed. This system has more structure and more control of the dialogue than previous online discussions.

The use of instant messaging is the last technology explored in this article. Instant messaging allows the users to have synchronous communication with each other. The discussions using instant messaging are less formal and more relaxed than any of the other uses of technologies. Instant messaging is very popular with teenagers, stating that 74% of online teenagers use some type of instant messaging in their online communication. The students in this online course were asked to install an Instant Messaging client, and then implement the instant messaging features by arranging for online discussions with other students in the class. The students were encourage to continue using their instant messaging throughout the remainder of the class so they could communicate with other students on their buddy list.

The students were asked to evaluate their experience using these four technologies with this online course. Several questions were asked of the students and their responses were transcribed. Only three students out of 55 made negative comments regarding the uses of any of the four technologies. The negative comments included finding the technologies frustrating and unreliable, technical difficulties and time consuming. All of the other comments were positive! The most popular technologies to be used were instant messaging and audio conferencing. The least popular were blogging and the Rotisserie system. Many of the students kept using the technologies even after the class was completed because they enjoyed using the technologies like instant messaging and audio conferencing.


This article examines the uses of four technologies in the teaching of an online course. Since all four technologies were not used at the same time, we can examine the positive and negative aspects of relating the material to the students using each of the technologies separately. The students in the class could experience using the four technologies, one at a time, and determine for themselves which technology they would prefer to use and the reasons why. This would allow the students to reflect directly on the tools of technology and compare and contrast the four technologies independently.

Although there are other technologies that could be used, these four were implemented one at at time. In another study, one might try using a combination of audio conferencing with blogging, or the Rotisserie system with instant messaging to see if maybe a mixture of two or more technologies might be beneficial to the students. Sometimes, too many technologies at once might be over bearing for the students, but other times it might benefit the students to have more than one option to use for communicating with other students in the class. Not all students are the same types of learners, just like all students do not all enjoy communicating with each other using the same methods of technology.

James Namekata
ETEC 543

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Assignment 5, 3 Articles

Here are my 3 articles dealing with new media in Online Learning for this assignment:


Haythornthwaite, C. (2006). Facilitating collaboration in online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7-24.

This article discusses more of the theory behind using media in online learning environments.


Downes, S. (2004). Educational blogging. EDUCAUSE Review, 39(5), 14-26.

This article discusses the advantages of using blogging in a distance education course.


Weller, M., Pegler, C., Mason, R. (2005). Use of innovative technologies on an e-learning course. The Internet and Higher Education, 8(1), 61-71.

This article deals with what has been studied and what has not been studied related to educational blogging.