Monday, March 07, 2011

Handbook of Online Learning

Cover of Handbook of Online LearningThe Handbook of Online Learning by
Kjell E., Judith Schoenholtz-Read (SAGE Publications, Second Edition edition May 2009) provides an overview of e-learning well grounded in academic theory and research.

Some e-learning handbooks provide essentially a cookbook step-by-step guide to using a particular software package the teach little about education, whereas others are so full of pedagogy jargon that they are all but unintelligible. This work is at the latter end of the scale, with free use of terms and numerous references. However, it is readable and provides useful ammunition for those (such as myself) defending e-learning against the charge that it is shallow and lacking in academic rigour. The introduction provides a good overview of where adult e-learning is at and how we got there. It should be noted that this book is about adult learning (that is androgogy), not teaching children.

After the introduction, the chapters can be read in any order, being grouped into themes but largely independent. I found "Revisiting the Design and Delivery of an Online Graduate Program" by Judith Stevens-Long and Charles Crowell, of particular value. This discusses the use of online discussion for small groups of mature students. This is how I teach and it was very useful to find the history and intellectual underpinnings of this approach, derived from the UK's Open University, so well laid out.

The book is not perfect, in particular Moodle is mentioned several times, but the description of its origins a little odd. It acknowledges Martin Dougiamas as having created Moodle. But it suggests that he was only vaguely aware of the pedagogy it related to. Anyone who has read the Wikipedia entry for Moodle will see that Martin set out to write a PHD thesis on "The use of Open Source software to support a social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning within Internet-based communities of reflective inquiry" and that there was a very clear theory underpinning Moodle. As to if Moodle actually depends on any such theory is a separate issue. ;-)

Table of Contents

1. The Flourishing of Adult Online Education: An OverviewKjell Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz-Read
Part I. Changing Philosophies and Theories of Online Learning
2. Presence in TelelandGary Fontaine and Grace Chun
3. The Challenges of Culture and Community in Online Academic EnvironmentsJeremy J. Shapiro and Shelley K. Hughes
4. Evolving TechnologiesRobin Mason and Frank Rennie
5. Applying Social Systems Thinking and Community Informatics Thinking in Education: Building Efficient Online Learning Design Culture in UniversitiesPierre-Leonard Harvey
6. Media Psychology Controls the Mouse That RoarsBernard Luskin and James Hirsen
7. Globalization in Online LearningJanet Poley
8. Online Learning ResearchYolanda Gayol
9. Uncertain Frontiers: Exploring Ethical Dimensions of Online LearningDorothy Agger-Gupta
Part II. Implementation of Online Learning
10. Revisiting the Design and Delivery of an Interactive Online Graduate ProgramJudith Stevens-Long and Charles Crowell
11. Candlepower: The Intimate Flow of Online Collaborative LearningBarclay Hudson
12. Designing and Developing Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring Systems: A Step-by-Step Approach With Practical ApplicationsKay Wijekumar
13. Synthesizing Higher Education and Corporate Learning StrategiesBruce LaRue and Stephanie Galindo
14. Teaching Action Research at a DistanceJenny Edwards and Sue Marquis Gordon
15. Beyond the Looking Glass: What Faculty and Students Need to Be Sucessful OnlineRena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt
16. Teaching Professionals to Be Effective Online Facilitators and Instructors: Lessons From Hard-Won ExperienceLeni Wildflower
17. Leadership and Management of Online Learning Environments in UniversitiesAnna DiStefano and Judy Witt
18. Accrediting Online Institutions and Programs: Quality Assurance or Bureaucratic Hurdle?Ralph Wolff
19. Virtual Libraries in Online LearningStefan Kramer
About the Editors
About the Contributors
From: Handbook of Online Learning, Kjell Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz-Read, Sage, 2010

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