Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Software for Synchronised Asynchronous Constructivist e-Learning

The ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science needed projects for students to do, I created one on "Software for Synchronised Asynchronous Constructivist e-Learning". This topic can then be tailored to the student's level (undergraduate to masters) and interests (software development or theory):

Student research opportunities

Software for Synchronised Asynchronous Constructivist e-Learning

Project Code: CECS_912

This project is available at the following levels:
CS single semester, Honours, Masters


asynchronous learning, synchronous learning, electronic learning, web conference, videoconferencing, pedagogy, MOOC


Mr Tom Worthington


On-line learning research literature uses the terms synchronous and asynchronous to describe tools and learning activities. This project will investigate software tools which will permit breaking down this division. It is proposed that syncronisation of asynchronous learning can address problems with large scale e-learning, such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The combination of synchronous and asynchronous forms of on-line learning could be used to promote a constructivist approach. This could be done by relaxing the current lockstep approach of packages such as Blackboard Collaborate, where the aim is for all the class to see precisely the same images on screen at precisely the same time. As well as imposing severe limited on the equipment, this also limits the opportunity for the student to build their own internal model by exploring the topic for themselves, as they have to keep up with the live presentation. Relaxing the real time aspect would also the student time for reflection and to be able to explore the materials themselves, within a time limit.

Goals of this project

Provide a theoretical framework to synchronous and asynchronous forms of on-line learning and implement a free open source prototype to demonstrate this in practice.


Training, experience or an interest in teaching would be an advantage.

Student Gain

Software and tools to support e-learning is a growth industry worldwide.

Background Literature

Worthington, T. (2013). Synchronizing Asynchronous Learning: Combining Synchronous and Asynchronous Techniques. In Proceedings of 2013 8th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 26 Apr - 28 Apr 2013 , Sri Lanka.

Preprint available at: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/9556

Presentation notes: http://www.tomw.net.au/technology/it/moocs_with_books/


Synchronizing Asynchronous Learning: MOOCs with Books

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