Archive for April, 2009

Pros and Cons of Using Second Life in Higher Education

    

Recently, at the Creating Futures through Technology Conference in Biloxi, MS, me and my colleagues gave a presentation titled, “Does Second Life Belong in Higher Education?”

As novice users ourselves, we wanted to evaluate what we felt are the pros and cons of using Second Life in education.  Our hope was give our audience some things to think about when trying to decide whether to incorporate this as an educational tool.

We presented arguments for and against using Second Life in higher education classrooms. We discussed how current institutions are integrating Second Life into instruction, including the hybrid mashup of Second Life and Moodle called Sloodle. We also showed the audience an example of an educational community within Second Life as well as educational resources that are available for the use of Second Life.   The slides from our presentation are below.

Second Life Presentation Cfttc 09
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Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom

Recently, at the 2009 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference me and one of my colleagues gave a presentation entitled, “Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom.”      

In this presentation we discussed the implementation of Wimba Classroom at The University Southern Mississippi.  Southern Miss implemented the virtual classroom in phases, choosing to do a pilot before full implementation.  We discussed the lessons we learned throughout the implementation process.  We also included a discussion on the policy and procedures that were developed to effectively deal with any issues.

As illustrated in the presentation slides we are using Wimba Classroom in different ways out our institution, including academic and non-academic uses.   We developed a set of best practices to assist instructors as they are preparing to incorporate a virtual classroom into their course which are also discussed.  As a result of what was learned during the pilot and implementation, we also found that the training we offered needed to evolve in different ways to be of the greatest benefit to our institution.  To learn more about what we discussed, view the slides from our presentation below…

Lessons Learned: Implementation of a Virtual Classroom
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A Research Study on the Use of Wimba Classroom

Recently at the 2009 Wimba Connect conference me and my colleagues gave a presentation on “A Research Study on the Use of Wimba Classroom.”  

The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) chose to implement a virtual classroom due to the increase of fully online courses being offered and the need to accommodate different types of courses through an online medium.  Many of the departments that were asked to put courses fully online were concerned about the lack of interaction and student engagement tools available.  Southern Miss decided to investigate the feasibility of adding a tool to our current Learning Management System, Blackboard, that would increase opportunities for student-to-instructor and student-to-student interaction.  After auditioning applications from several different companies, Southern Miss decided that Wimba Classroom was the best fit for the goals and objectives it had set out to achieve.

Southern Miss began implementation of Wimba Classroom in spring 2007 with a pilot group of 15 faculty across multiple disciplines.  The University entered full implementation in summer 2007.

To evaluate the implementation of Wimba Classroom, instructor and student perspectives, and the impact on student engagement and learning outcomes, two survey instruments were developed.  A survey instrument was created to administer to instructors and a separate survey instrument was created to administer to students.  The survey instruments were sent to the instructors who used Wimba Classroom for their courses.  The instructors were asked to distribute the student survey to the students in their course.  The surveys were collected and the data was analyzed.

Results to be discussed in the session include items such as: (1) all the instructors and more than half of the students had used collaboration software prior to using Wimba Classroom, (2) students reported that they found learning to use Wimba Classroom easier than did their instructors, and (3) instructors reported using application sharing more than twice as much as their students.

We are currently revising the instruments and preparing to administer the questionnaires to multiple institutions, which use Wimba classroom. Data collected will be compared to see if findings are consistent across multiple institutions and provide further evidence for the generalizability of these findings. The data collected in the evaluation of the pilot are outlined in the following presentation.

A Research Study on the Use of Wimba Classroom
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The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM

Recently, at the 2009 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference, me and two of my colleagues presented on “The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM.”  In this session we discussed why The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) chose to use Wimba classroom, the pilot implementation phase in spring 2007, and the evaluation of that implementation.   We discussed the methodology and the instruments used to conduct the research study as well as the results of the data analysis and the conclusions. Results discussed in the session included items such as: (1) all of the instructors and more than half of the students had used collaboration software prior to using Wimba Classroom, (2) students reported that they found learning to use Wimba Classroom easier than did their instructors, and (3) instructors reported using application sharing more than twice as much as their students.  We have revised the instruments and are preparing to administer the questionnaires to multiple institutions, which use Wimba classroom. Data collected will be compared to see if findings are consistent across multiple institutions and provide further evidence for the generalizability of these findings.  Below are the slides from our presentation…
Pilot Use Of Wimba At USM
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