2010年9月29日 星期三

Week part 2 onlice course

   According to the week4 papers, the online course has been popular for years. Several papers reporting the development of online course in the United States with recent years showed that the proportion of students involved in undergraduate-level online education (83.9 percent) is slightly below that of the total population of student involved in a standard undergraduate education (85.6 percent).
   The economic downturn, which resulted in increasing rates of unemployment, led to an increasing demand for online courses. One of my university professors once told us that bad economic time are often the best times for pursuing a degree, as admissions are often not competitive. 
  As we can see from the reporting, most of students take online classes attain an associate's degree, which means they might only want to spend two years doing graduate work online. Interestingly, most of  these students are new, which means they wouldn't have enrolled in a traditional program with face-to-face classes. Thus, after initial shock my question is:   Should a college student spend four years engaged in studying? When beginning my bachelor's degree I took courses as many courses as possible, including core courses, elective courses, and physical courses etc. A friend of mine, being a senior career and technical teacher for more than ten years, has ever told me that most of his students are not interested in conducting research or any academic papers, but more concerned about the most efficient way of finding a good job.
  In terms of the two reasons why students took the online course: decreased availability of good jobs and those currently employed seek to improve their chance for promotion by pursuing higher degree,  have you ever thought of the reason why online courses have been mainly taken by the learners who are not currently full-time students? I think this somehow explains the drawbacks of online course. Just like while some of new technologies tried to threaten or replace the traditional tool, they might be coexisting in the end. According to my reading, further, when it comes to "for pedagogical advantages" and "for personal and professional growth", the percentage of chief academic officer rated it as "important” are distinguishably higher than the percentages of online teaching faculty rated it as the same; this shows that in terms of the perspective of online teaching faculty, online course has few enhancements to their pedagogical and professional growth. Above all, when it comes to “To earn additional income”, 40.7 percent of chief academic officer rated it as "important", but 19.9 percent of online teaching faculty rated it as the same:  Is one  of ultimate goal of building online course to earn much money? I was really disappointed at this point. We have been talking a lot about the merits of online course, but does online course really help the learners find a better job or gain more knowledge efficiently? Or even their professional growth?  I doubt it. Further empirical evidence on those kind of concerns might thus be needed.
  Moreover, Bill Gates’s idea that going to universities to get an education is going to go away relatively soon. I kind of appreciate his thoughts, especially he has been a kind of anti-open person. Yet, after initial applause my question is:  Are the online courses and all the learning web-resources ready for all of the learners who are about to go to university relatively soon?   Are these resources capable of replacing the fact that going to colleges in such a way as to find a good job or gain the knowledge?
  Surprisingly, after I had read the points that "However, it was found that less than 1/3 of CAO believed that faculty accepted the values and legitimacy of online education" from Thanompor, I found out that Xiaojing’s "Academic leaders do not believe that there is a lack of acceptance of online degrees by potential employers".
   My questions are:  How come the academic leaders had this kind of thoughts?  Does the most of the academic leaders themselves believe that online courses won’t be making the instruction meaningful at all? If so, how come they could expect that the potential employers will appreciate the value of it? Really, I am being curious about the reasons beyond this issue!  I hate to say that, but it seems online courses are not appreciated by the academic leaders somehow.

2010年9月22日 星期三

0922 week4 online course

After going through the class discussion and peers’ fantastic presentations, I found out that the online course will definitely play a crucial role in the future instructional setting. From my point of view, however, when it comes to the proportion of content delivered online, I am inclined to prefer the blended/hybrid courses rather than online courses.

Admittedly, online courses benefit learners a lot, such as offering more flexible, extensive, and affordable learning environment. All the course content will be available online, so we are able to grasp the information any time anywhere. Further, there are face-to-face meetings in which learners have to spend three hours per week in class. Thus, I believe that online courses are capable of overcoming geographic and time barriers.

As an international student on campus, however, I prefer blended courses to online courses, for there is a significant difference between face-to-face and online instruction. R685, for example, is a typical case of blended course; we regularly have face-to-face meetings every week, which is helpful for my skills of making presentations and engaged with peers in English. Obviously, face-to-face interaction is totally different from online interaction: in terms of the weekly group discussion, while I have come up with other ideas and thoughts, I can immediately have a discussion with peerss. Above all, we can easily change seats to join other groups’ discussion. This is what we can’t do easily in online course; while I came up with new ideas, I might have to spend times sending my group emails, and then waiting for their feedback.

In addition to face-to-face meetings, Professor Bonk always brings much first-handed information and valuable knowledge into the class. Being an international student for the first year(not including the one year in Columbus, Ohio when I was ten years old), I truly need enough time to digest what I have learnt that night. Personally, while I enjoyed my peers’ reflections and interactions on the oncourse forum, I really learned a lot from their invaluable thoughts as well. As far as I am concerned, writing is sometimes better than speaking in that it allows one to come up with more thoughtful ideas and to reflect on extensive discussion, which will be of great assistance for me to understand better what I confuses me.

Finally, I find that for the blended course, the online part appropriately complements face-to-face meetings. The social ice breaker, for instance, was used to introduce ourselves and get to know each other, preventing peers from being too shy to introduce themselves. Further, in terms of my poor English skills, I know I need to catch up with peers through diligent works; therefore, I have not only been trying to enhance my English speaking, but also English writing skills as much as possible. Interestingly, I have found that browsing peers’ comments is an invaluable source as it allows me to imitate the writing style of native English speakers.    

2010年9月10日 星期五


Only if we are responsible to ourselves are we able to use the Internet effectively and efficiently.

  Do we use the Internet to benefit our life or waste our time? As far as I am concerned, it depends.

   I firmly believe that the Internet plays a double-sword role in our life, which might benefit us or distract us somehow. According to author Nicholas Carr mentioned, our Internet use really changed our brain activity; I used to surf my friend’ blogs frequently. When I clicked their link, all of a sudden I heard a lot of noise and faced glittering text. I found out I can’t see very clearly what my friends wrote, let alone figure out the meanings of their writing. On the other hand, I should say that we have access to look for the latest information, check our mail box, share our perspective and experience of the use of new technologies; there is no doubt that the Internet is such a useful tool to human beings, and it truly somehow changed the way of our living and communicating.

   However, our Internet use is able to turn us into shallower thinkers. Many of us, I believe, have got used to surfing the websites, information searching, and social platforms on the Internet. Similarly, we get used to a lot of photos, noise, and advertising as using the Internet, which might distract us when we’re trying to read a passage online. Additionally, too many hypertext links might weaken comprehension of our reading; we might turn out to be the superficial thinkers, for the Internet use gradually declined our concentration and ruin our independent thinking and critical thinking: we may have limited ability to acquire the knowledge on the Internet. When it comes to the physical part, I prefer to grab the information and knowledge in the traditional linear-text format, because my eyes might not feel comfortable to deal with digital document, especially the links surrounded by images.

   Furthermore, in terms of the cognitive effects the Internet use might bring, we should call for a balance between using the Internet and not using the Internet. Nowadays, the information explosion has led us to face too many resources, which might ruin our ability to transfer the information from working memory to long-term memory, for we have always been overloaded using the Internet. Besides, I frequently forget what I just read online; the outcome of depending primarily on Internet might be that we are unable to remember what we have learnt yesterday: we frequently rely on the web searching, upload the files on the server, and even friends’ cell phone numbers etc. Interestingly, nevertheless, it’s very hard to imagine the life without the Internet, and I was wondering can you enjoy our life without the Internet. Yes, we all can. Yet, we have been gradually wasting a lot of time using the Internet day by day without any significant purpose.

   I do know we all need the Internet, but there is a possibility that we might have truly been addicted to it. Although I’d like to learn almost everything available on-line, I found out that I always want to be online aimlessly as possible as I can. Frequently, for instance, I chat with friends on MSN; I might be in a bad moon today trying to talk to a friend of mine, which probably makes me a little bit comfortable. However, when I have to study hard trying to concentrate on the work I find out I have difficulty concentrating and focusing on what I must deal with.

  The Internet led us to a convenient life, so we are able to do what we couldn’t do in the past. For example, I used to get involved in the daily news via TV, newspaper, and radio etc. However, now things changed; we're allowed to do what we can't do simultaneously in the past: the Internet do offer a lot of functions as you can imagine; we can see a movie, gain the latest information, and even go shopping on the Internet. Furthermore, the Internet brings the information, people, and things all around the world, which makes us broaden our horizons; we feel so close with family and friends via skype. In other words, the Internet makes it possible for us to broaden our horizons and touch the base so easily with our friends.

  Finally, we frequently use the Internet for nothing but for fun once we have access to connect it, which might have a significant impact on life style, such as reading behavior, time management, and personal privacy. Moreover, we seem to have lost ability to choose what kind of information would benefit us on our own, not because the Internet somehow facilitates our life, but because we unconsciously follow the rules set by the programmers, website developers, and platforms’ regulators etc. like "a tool". The worst is that so far the problems might be beyond our ability to handle and be worth evaluating in the near future. Perhaps we should get rid of all the distractions either by closing our computer or by achieving the goal within limited time period. In the end, I will conclude my reflection by demanding that we won’t be completely benefited without any by-product until we are responsible to ourselves for using the Internet.