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Suggested weekly readings and short descriptions



Post your reflections on the readings to our Forum



Week 1


SuggestedHints for Learning Online. (1998). University of Guelph Learners Resources.

Learning on-line is a new experience for all of us; however, it is a way of learning that will increase in the future, as more institutions and organizations use the Internet for distance education. Does being a student in an on-line environment require new strategies for maximizing your learning? We believe it does, and we would like to share some simple tips to help you succeed as a student on the Web.

Hunter, M. (2006). Are You on the PD Cybertrain or Still Hesitating? Teaching English with Technology 6 (3). IATEFL Poland.

Have you noticed how many new words such as “podcasting”, “vodcasting”, “learncasting”, “RSS”, “Web2.0”, “webinars”, etc. you must manually add to your word processing dictionary recently? We are in a rapidly changing world in which we, as educators, must keep abreast of change in order to be able to engage, rather than enrage, Digital Natives in their learning process. We must embrace lifelong learning ourselves and acquire new skills. Social networking, scaffolding and belonging to a robust virtual community of practice like Webheads in Action keep members connected and provide ongoing opportunities for collective and individual professional development.

What Makes a Successful Online Student? (2003). Illinois Online Network.

Like the facilitator, the online student possesses unique qualities. The online students of today consist primarily of working people who are trying to better their opportunities. This however is changing, as more and more young and older people become aware of the online model. The traditional school will never go away, but the virtual classroom is a significant player in today’s educational community(...) In general, the online student should possess the following qualities....

OptionalDotson, T. (2003). Why Johnny Won't Post. Converge.

Students are accustomed to sharing space and time, not ideas, whereas online learning is exactly the opposite. Tim Dotson - August 2003

Sweeney, N. (2001). How to Be an E-Learner. Learning Circuits, May 2001.

Congratulations! You've been selected for e-learning. Here's how to excel.



Week 2

SuggestedAlmeida d'Eça, T. (2004). Online Tools that Promote Language Learning and Foster Professional Development. Polifonia, 2004 pdf.

This article is based on my year-and-a-half experience with the Webheads in Action, an online community of practice... After referring the main features of each tool (Tapped In, Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Groups), as well as some advantages, disadvantages and practical applications to the teaching-learning process and to online professional development, the article ends with advice and conclusions based on my practical experience with the Webheads.

Farmer, R. (2004). Instant Messaging: Collaborative Tool or Educator’s nightmare!. Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada.

In conclusion, this paper reviews some of the good, the bad, and the ugly about instant messaging and some of the benefits and drawbacks of instant messaging in educational settings.

Gonzalez, D. (2003). Teaching and Learning Through Chat. A Taxanomy of Educational Chat for EFL/ESL. IATEFL Poland Computer SIG Journal, Oct. 2003.

Chat are synchronic communicative spaces which are incorporated into online activities, especially in EFL/ESL courses, due to the possibilities to interact with native and non-native speakers of the L2 they offer participants. Teachers interested in using chat for educational purposes should know the characteristics of different chat tasks according to the objective, role of moderator, and structure of the interaction to be generated, in order to plan their activities accordingly. This paper introduces a taxonomy for educational chat which was designed based on the author’s experience using chat with language learners and in-service teachers.

Pointers & Clickers (1999). Chat as a Teaching Tool

How can you use synchronous chat effectively in an online course? Chat as a teaching tool calls for pedagogical uses of chat, chat room management techniques, as well as coping strategies for instructors and students. Well-managed and focused chats can be useful online learning experiences, and add a dynamic dimensions to an online course..


Week 3

SuggestedMcCarty, S. (2005). Spoken Internet To Go: Popularization through Podcasting. The JALT CALL Journal, 1 (2), 67-74, (August, 2005).

This article starts with a brief historical background on the trends leading to the popularization of podcasting or the sudden prominence of Internet audio. Supporting Web services such as dynamic directories of podcast sites and iTunes are shown to contribute to this popularization. Specific examples are presented: the BlogMatrix podcast hosting site, the podcasting blog "Japancasting," and the "Spoken Libraries" project of the World Association for Online Education. There is also the little-known story that the first school in the world to give iPods to all students was not Duke University but rather Osaka Jogakuin College in Japan, where podcasting is therefore particularly made to order.

Stanley, G.(2005). Blogging for ELT. Teaching English, 7 Mar. 2005.

This article takes a look at blogging, which is becoming increasingly popular as a language learning tool. It gives an overview of blogging websites, suggests why you might want to use them, and gives some practical advice on setting up blogs for use with your own classes.

Stanley, G. (2005). Podcasting for ELT. Teaching English, 17 Nov. 2005.

What are podcasts, why might your students benefit from listening to them, and how might you go about using and producing them?

Warlick, D. (2006). A Day in the Life of Web 2.0. Teachlearning, Oct 15, 2006.

The latest powerful online tools can be harnessed to transform and expand the learning experience

OptionalStevens, V. (2004). Establishing and Maintaining Web Presence: A guide for educators. TESL-EJ, Dec. 2004

Web presence is in essence the gift to see ourselves as others see us, enhanced uniquely by the Internet. It might be more precisely defined as an ability to convey messages in text, sound, and image over the Internet through means of communicating asynchronously through fixed URLs

Wiki Starting Points. (2005).

Welcome to the WikiWikiWeb (also known as WardsWiki, or even just "Wiki" for short). Lots of people have their first wiki experience here. This community has been around since 1995 and consists of many people. We always accept newcomers with valuable contributions. If you haven't used a wiki before, be prepared for a bit of CultureShock. The beauty of Wiki is in the freedom, simplicity, and power it offers



Week 4

SuggestedAllison, D., Crichton, S. & Labonte, R. (2003). Moderating Tips for Synchronous Learning Using Virtual Classroom Technologies Odyssey Learning Systems Inc.

One of the key mechanisms for enhancing online learning is computer conferencing - human-to-human communication with the computer acting as a mediating device.

Felix, U.(2004).Performing beyond the comfort zone: Giving a voice to online communication. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 284-293). Perth, 5-8

The purpose of this paper is to introduce three innovative resources which allow speaking online in attractive virtual settings and under user-friendly conditions. Our aim is to demonstrate the potential of these for setting up constructivist activities in a non-threatening environment in which students might be less inhibited to express themselves orally than in traditional face-to-face settings.

Foreman, J. & Jenkins, R. (2005). Full-featured Web conferencing systems Innovate 1(4)

In order to match (and perhaps exceed) the customary strengths of the still dominant face-to-face instructional mode, a high-performance online learning system must employ synchronous as well as asynchronous communications; buttress graphics, animation, and text with live audio and video; and provide many of the features and processes associated with course management systems.

Shi, S. and Morrow, B. V. (2006). E-Conferencing for Instruction: What Works? Educause Quarterly, 4.

The selection of applications for instructional purposes can be a complicated task as the number available grows. Not only must the application work, but it also must have a pedagogical purpose or serve an instructional requirement.

(2006). 7 things you should know about ... Virtual Meetings Educause Learning Initiative February.

Online virtual meetings are real-time interactions that take place over the Internet using features such as audio and video, chat tools, and application sharing.

Optional(2005) Beyond Text: using your voice online Part of the 2005 Australian Flexible Learning Framework

This resource demonstrates ways you can introduce online voice technologies into your course design and delivery and provide increased flexibility and engagement for learners. It can be used as an individual guide or as a resource for professional development and training sessions.

Hampel, R. & Hauck, M. (2004). Towards an Effective Use of Audio Conferencing in Distance Language CoursesLanguage Learning & Technology, 8 (1),66-82.

In order to respond to learners' need for more flexible speaking opportunities and to overcome the geographical challenge of students spread over the United Kingdom and continental Western Europe, the Open University recently introduced Internet-based, real-time audio conferencing, thus making a groundbreaking move in the distance learning and teaching of languages.



Week 5

SuggestedPérez, I. (2003). Creating Materials Online with Free Teacher Tools. TESOL Spain, Newsletter 2003.

This article focuses on this utility of the Internet. Some sites are presented where teachers can easily design activities and exercises online, such as quizzes, tests, puzzles or surveys, which require no advanced computer skills. Included are only those tools that are free for educational use for obvious reasons.

Morrison,Sally(2002). Interactive Language Learning on the Web.ERIC Digest 2002.

This digest discusses some of the advantages and challenges for teachers who want to design their own interactive Web-based language learning activities, describes some of the activities produced by language teachers that are already available on the Web, and provides guidelines and resources to help teachers create Web-based activities of their own. (Contains 14 endnotes and 3 references.)

OptionalGonzalez, D., & Mühren, A. (2004). Real English Online (REO) Review. TESL-EJ, vol 8, 1. June 2004.

Real English Online (REO) authoring team has put together a web site allowing access to the videos and lessons via three modes of delivery: Free Access, fee-based Gold Pass for Learners, and fee-based Gold Pass for Teachers. In addition, a vibrant guidance and support Yahoo Group1 has been created for the growing community of users.



Week 6

SuggestedCarman, J. M (2002). Blended Learning Design: Five Key Ingredients. KnowledgeNet.

...If this is true–that people perform better when they have a mix of modalities and methods of learning–what defines the most effective mix? Will any combination of modalities do, or is there an “optimum blend,” a “sweet spot” to blended learning? In short, what is the most effective blended learning design? This paper suggests the need for five critical ingredients for blended learning, and uses both traditional and modern instructional design to back it up.

E-Learning Resources (2005). Blended Learning. GrayHarriman.com

Blended learning combines online with face-to-face learning. The goal of blended learning is to provide the most efficient and effective instruction experience by combining delivery modalities.

Gonzalez, D.(2005). Blended Learning Offers the Best of Both Worlds. Essential Teacher, Dec. 2005.(.pdf)

Imagine EFL students doing oral presentations for an authentic audience from different countries or listening to presentations by a group of invited guest tutors from all over the world. Through blended courses (courses that include an online component as well as face-to-face (F2F) classroom activities) at Universidad Simón Bolívar, in Caracas, Venezuela, students have increased their exposure to the target language, learned how to use Web tools, and gained flexibility in how and when they learn.

Rossett, A., Douglis, F., & Frazee, R.V.(2003). Strategies for Building Blended Learning. Learning Circuits.

At a recent conference, a practitioner was overheard saying, “I can see why blending makes sense. But what do I put with what? We have a hundred instructors and e-learning modules. If I put them together, is that a blend? What is a blend and how do I make it work in an organization that prefers a quick fix?” Those questions and more are tackled here."

Singh, H. (2003 ). Building Effective Blended Learning Programs (pdf). Educational Technology, Volume 43, Number 6, pp. 51-54.

This article has two objectives:

1. To provide a comprehensive view of blended learning and discuss possible dimensions and ingredients (learning delivery methods) of blended learning programs.

2. To provide a model to create the appropriate blend by ensuring that each ingredient, individually and collectively, adds to a meaningful learning experience.

OptionalAlmeida d'Eça, T. (2006). Going Global with the Webheads in Action.

What started as an 8-week teacher development workshop has brought us, almost four years later, to our community's first online convergence, WiAOC 2005, "Bridges in Cyberspace". So much has happened and has been accomplished in these years. How did all this come about? How has it affected me at the professional and personal levels? That is what I will briefly cover in this paper.

Graham, C. A. (2005). Blended Learning Systems: Definition, Current Trends, and Future Directions. In Bonk, C. J. & Graham, C. R. (Eds.). (in press). Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing. (esp. pp. 1-6) (.pdf)

This chapter will provide a basic introduction to blended learning systems and share some trends and issues that are highly relevant to those who are implementing such systems. To accomplish these goals, the chapter will address five important questions related to blended learning systems such as: What is blended learning?, Why blend?, What current blended learning models exist?, What issues and challenges are faced when blending?, and What are the future directions of blended learning systems?

Rovai, A. P. (2002). Building a Sense of Community at a Distance. IRRODL, Apr. 2002.

"This article challenges the belief that strong sense of community is limited to the traditional classroom and proposes that the virtual classroom has the potential of building and sustaining sense of community at levels that are comparable to the traditional classroom. Drawing on research literature, the concept of learning community is applied to the virtual classroom by taking on the issue of how best to design and conduct an online course that fosters community among learners who are physically separated from each other. Course design principles are described that facilitate dialogue and decrease psychological distance, thereby increasing a sense of community among learners.

Teaching-Learning Center (2002). Hybrid Classes: Maximizing Resources and Student Learning.



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