Distance ed and virtual worlds…(9751 weekly response #2)

14 Sep

Some thoughts that came to mind from some of the readings…

Does distance learning put a lot of the responsibility on the student? By that I mean, while the ACRL standards state that “sufficient facilities, equipment, and communication tools to attain the objectives of distance learning programs” (Marcum, Napier & Trainor, p. 92) must be offered, what does that mean really? After all, the student is responsible for his or her own technology at home (for example)…So, are these word empty (to a certain extent)?

Never really considered a course management system as part of distance learning. And even now having read how it applies, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the way in which I’ve used OWL as any type of distance learning component or offering…to be honest, I just thought of it as a more environmentally responsible way of sharing information resources (i.e. not passing paper back and forth).

When I got to the section on “Social Bookmarking” I remembered, that I had created a “Delicious” account—oh, about a year ago. It was for a course and I guess it served it’s purpose but I haven’t used it since then. (This happened with my blog as well). Of course this made me think about all the ways and places information can be stored and offered. And it can get pretty overwhelming trying to stay on top of it. So, I guess I see this as a challenge in the library context too. It’s all well and good to offer these many avenues to students/patrons, but they need to be monitored, reviewed, and updated; there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a link or a file etc. that’s out of date and irrelevant. From a student side, it can also become overwhelming remembering what’s where. I mean, I don’t even remember what all my bookmarks are on my own computer. So, I think there needs to be a balance somewhere: offering enough, but not bogging things down…otherwise the whole idea of accessibility goes right out the window.

Some other musings from Virtual Worlds: Real Libraries…

I was struck by the “sheer novelty” comment (Thompson, p. 165) in that when something new(ish) comes along, we can be quick to jump on board (actually, I often find it’s administration that does this…) too quickly. For sure it can be very exciting to add something to our teaching repetoire but it’s important to take a critical view of such additions: some things are better in theory than in practice. Or at least, the problem is that we aren’t well-trained enough to make the practice valuable. While the Thompson chapter is obviously speaking about the use of Second Life, I’m reminded of the use of SmartBoards in the classroom. The amount of training required to use a SmartBoard well, and creatively in order to offer new/different/authentic learning experiences for kids–is more than what teachers have time for…in fact, in over  3 years of supply teaching I’ve not seen a SmartBoard used in any other way than as a glorified screen/overhead. Pretty pricey overhead…

In the Burhans et al. chapter, I kinda smiled to myself when it was mentioned that in “[i]n game and virtual world environments, students are actively engaged in the learning process, as they are ‘interpreting, analyzing, discovering, evaluating, acting and problem solving’ (p. 174). And while I’m not arguing that active learning doesn’t happen in gaming/virtual environments, I do argue that these things should be happening in a traditional classroom–as well as getting students excited and motivated about learning.That’s only good teaching…

Readings referenced:

Burhans, S., Hill, J. B., & Spires, T. (2008). Virtual world, virtual students: Instructional possibilities in Second Life. In L. Bell & R. B. Trueman (Eds), Virtual worlds: Real libraries. (pp 173-182). Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

Marcum, B., Napier, T., & Trainor, C. (2011). Current issues in distributed learning and virtual librarianship: ACRL standards. In S. G. Almquist (Ed.), Distributed learning and virtual librarianship (pp 89-120). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Purpur, G. & Ochoa, L. (2008). New frontiers for distance learning library service: A virtual world library at Appalachian State University. In L. Bell & R. B. Trueman (Eds), Virtual worlds: Real libraries. (pp 183-192). Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

Thompson, S. (2008). Teaching in a virtual setting. In L. Bell & R. B. Trueman (Eds), Virtual worlds: Real libraries. (pp 165-172). Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in 9751 stuff...


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