Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Impact of Open Source

For my review of Cpen Course websites, I chose to review the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseware  (OCW).  According to the MIT OCW website, MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.”  I reviewed the site’s “online tour” (at which described the course content and explored a number of the courses themselves.  While the format has been modified for distance learning, the available courses have all previously been taught at MIT and were not pre-planned or designed for online learning.

Because the courses were first taught in the classroom, they were not designed for distance learning and do not follow many of the recommendations for online learning.  For example, the course do not have instructor support, nor do they have any guidance on how to succeed as a distance learner and students complete the course on their own without a scheduled timeline; however, there are many benefits to this program.  For example, MIT did build in study groups for most of their courses, which allows students to help each other in the same way that a certified distance learning class does with discussion groups. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Interactive Museum Tour

For my distance learning example, I chose example two, the interactive museum tour.  Many organizations, to include museums, subscribe to one or more social media sharing sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. These sites allow users to “follow” the site and post comments about the site.  Museums will also want to share photographs, presentations and other information about the museum’s artifacts and may choose to do so through the use of a media sharing site such as Flickr or YouTube (Laureate Inc., 2012).  In order to create a group critique about the art exhibit, the instructor should consider creating a blog (Laureate Inc., 2012) and have the students log in and post their critique about the art or if the museum already has an art exhibit blog, the instructor could work with the students to submit a group blog entry on the museum’s blog site.
The museum may also offer podcasts (Laureate Inc., 2012) about various exhibits so the instructor should make sure that her students are familiar with podcast technology and look for podcasts for the students to download and view, if applicable.  The museum may or may not offer virtual tours; however, the instructor could work with the curator to use some type of discussion technology (Laureate Inc., 2012) to develop a webinar or chat session  to allow the students an opportunity to ask questions of the curator in real time.
The Smithsonian offers a wide variety of technologies for distance learners to connect and explore the museum on their website.  On their “ways to connect page” (Smithsonian, 2012), the Smithsonian offers users the following web 2.0 technologies: Blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Mobile, Pinterest, Podcasts, Twitter, YouTube, and Virtual World.  Pinterest is an online “pinboard” that allows users to share pictures, videos and other interests (Pinterest, n.d.).  The Smithsonian’s  Virtual World offers a program called the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum, which is a an avatar-based 3-D virtual world featuring learning activities based on bilingual mixed media experiences created to increase visitors knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Latino Cultural Heritage through innovative and engaging online experiences (Smithsonian, 2012).  This technology was developed by the VITAL Lab, a research and development facility at the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (VITAL Lab, 2011).
Pinterest. (n.d.)  Pinterest.  Retrieved from
Smithsonian. (2012 February 2). Connect with the Smithsonian.  Retrieved from
VITAL Lab. (2011). Virtual immersive technologies and arts for learning laboratory.  Retrieved from

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Distance Learning Map

Defining Distance Learning

                When I first enrolled as a community college of the Air Force (CCAF) student, the only distance learning programs were correspondence courses, though the academic advisors never mentioned this as an option to military students.  When I enrolled, I was on active duty with the Air Force in the early 80s and was encouraged to take CLEP and DANTES tests for college credit; however, because I was in a mobile unit that was subject to short notice temporary assignments worldwide, I was discouraged by my unit from taking college courses.  During my second duty assignment (which was in Italy), I was only able to  attend a few college courses (on base) as I worked rotating shifts.  Moller, Foshay, & Huett (2008) stated that the primary driving forces of distance education are economics and access.   While I may or may not have been able to attend distance education classes while assigned to a mobile unit, I definitely would have been able to attend more classes during my second assignment in Italy, had the technology been available.  Because I often worked shift work during my early years in the military, I often found it challenging to find the courses I needed, much less find the time to complete the course.