Friday, December 4, 2009

Week 14: Shifting educational systems from efficiency to sufficiency models

Presenter: Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Associate Vice President for Academic Planning at Indiana University and Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University - Bloomington.

Abstract: In the nineteenth century, Horace Mann devised the Common School model as a means for the State of Massachusetts to facilitate compulsory education system based on the assembly line and using the resources and technologies available at the time. The problem Mann was interested in addressing was “how to educate all students.”

In this presentation, Dr. Bichelmeyer will demonstrate that at this time in history, with new technologies and new resources, the question educational reformers should be asking is no longer “how to educate all students”, but rather, “how to educate each student?” New technologies and new resources are causing shifts in other sectors including government, non-profit, media, journalism and retail to sufficiency models, while educators continues to seek solutions to old problems using old models, without recognizing the landscape has shifted so much that the important problems involve new questions and require new models for solution.

Dr. Bichelmeyer’s grant-based research has recently focused on the study of distance learning environments in graduate education and blended learning environments in high schools and community colleges. In particular she has been leading the design, development and evaluation of online advance degrees in Instructional Systems Technology (masters’ level) and leading the evaluation of Cisco Networking Academy blended learning environments. As an administrator she has been involved with the development of policy and practice, strategic planning, and coordination of intercampus initiatives for undergraduate education.

Dr. Bichelmeyer holds four degrees from the University of Kansas, including a Bachelor of Science in Journalism (1982), Bachelor of Arts in English (1986), Master of Science in Educational Policy and Administration (1988) and a PhD in Educational Communications and Technology (1991).

Facilitator: Cennet Altiner

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Week 13: Educational Websites for Elementary Age Children

Presenter: Becky Popelka, candidate for MFA in Graphic Design

Effective Design of Educational Websites for Elementary Age Children: A User-Centered Study


Many educational websites for elementary age students exist on the internet today, however there is a need for more research to be completed into order to determine the level of effectiveness with which these sites operate. The goal of this research and design project is to identify usability and aesthetic problems that exist and consequently solve those problems. This research study was conducted in three stages. The first stage consisted of an analysis of a current, popular educational website, www.funbrain .com, to distinguish potential problems with the navigation, information architecture, and visual appearance, based on previously published research. A set of hypotheses and a new site design is proposed based on the correction of these problems. The second stage involves testing both websites with students in grades two through five. Twelve students participated in the preference measure testing in which students used both sites to complete the same objective and offered their opinions as to which they preferred in terms of ease of use, visual appearance and enjoyment. Ten students participated in the performance measures testing which used time on task and error and assistance analysis to compare the two websites. The data obtained from the testing was analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods and a set of recommendations for effective design of educational websites for elementary age children was developed based on the findings drawn from data. The third and final stage of the project involves a second iteration of the website redesign which incorporates the recommendations from the second stage. One of the most compelling findings revealed that while the redesigned site was easier for the students to use, the ease of use did not automatically dictate the student’s preference in terms of visual appearance or enjoyment. The most important conclusion drawn from this study is the need to balance user preferences with ease of use to create an interface which is both appealing and effective.

Facilitator: Ester Mukete

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Week 12: Ethnography and Educational Research

Presenter: Mimi Lee, University of Houston.

Dr. Mimi Lee is an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Houston. She received her Ph.D in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University at Bloomington in 2004 with an ethnographic study focusing on the complexities of intercultural understanding in a rural learning environment. Her research interests include theories of identity formation, sociological examination of online communities, issues of representation in education and critical theory in instructional design.

In this presentation, Dr. Lee will provide a brief overview of critical ethnography as a qualitative research method and discuss its possible uses in educational inquiry.

Suggested explorations:

Facilitators: Dennis Culver / Jacob Larsen

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week 11: Digital Equity and Black Brazilians -- A Freireian Liberatory Pedagogical Approach

Presenter: Patricia Leigh
Facilitator: Wei Wang

In this paper, Patricia Leigh and James McShay examine the history of the colonization of Brazil through the transatlantic Black slave trade and the effects this history has had upon digital equity experienced by Black Brazilians in the information age. The authors are motivated by the belief that issues of digital equity and equality of opportunity can only be effectively addressed if one has a deep understanding of the factors that led to inequities, particularly inequities that preceded the information age. In addition, the authors look to Brazilian scholar and activist, Paulo Freire (1972), and his liberatory pedagogy for countering discriminatory practices, particularly in educational settings and institutions. They then suggest ways in which Freire’s pedagogy can be used to conceptualize liberatory uses of technology tools to dismantle the racist influences embedded in school practices and curricula.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week 10: Preparing Pre-service Teachers for Online Teaching: A Research Study

Presenter: Lily Compton
Facilitators: Becky Popelka / Brian Fodrey

Abstract: The first study represented the literature review portion that included a critique of an existing skills framework for online language teaching. It also included a proposed framework for online language teaching skills and a look at the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in an online learning system.

The second study reviewed literature on conceptual change and proposed a conceptual change framework to help pre-service teachers increase their awareness of online education, commonly known in the US as virtual schooling (VS). This study used a grounded approach to identify common preconceptions, misconceptions, and concerns of VS based on secondary data that included pre-service teachers’ personal journals and responses to a set of materials related to VS in part of a curriculum intervention in a pre-existing introductory field experience course at a large Midwestern university. Findings were complemented by insights from an interview with the course instructor and the researcher’s journal. It shows the importance of identifying pre-service teachers’ preconceptions, misconceptions, and concerns about VS to facilitate the selection of relevant resources and the design of curricular activities.

The third study was a case study of a pilot virtual early field experience. An in-depth analysis was conducted on the data that included personal journals and reflections from three teacher candidates at a large Midwestern university. Findings were complemented with insights from interviews with the VS teacher and the university field placement director, and the researcher’s journal. The article sheds light on the importance of virtual field experiences to facilitate the understanding of VS.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 9: Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 2009 International Convention practice

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 2009 International Convention brings together annually around 2,000 educators and others whose activities are directed toward improving instruction through technology from colleges and universities, the Armed Forces and industry, museums, libraries, and hospitals and the many places where educational change is underway. This association international convention gathers some of the most prestigious names in Instructional Technology and graduate students from top U.S. graduate programs.

The research papers to be presented at AECT by the panel members cover topics such as, flexible online learning and game-based learning environments, distance learning, usability cases in education, and activity theory in game design.

Panel members: Ana-Paula Correia, Evrim Baran, Turkan Karakus, Kajal Shah & Yasemin Demiraslan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 8: Preliminary Portfolio -- A requirement for the PhD program

When doctoral students are near to the end of their coursework, they must complete a preliminary examination. This is one of the final steps before beginning work on their dissertation.
The preliminary examination can take three forms: a portfolio, a written examination or combination of both. In this session Yasemin Demiraslan and Vanessa Preast share their electronic portfolios and tips on how to be successful when fulfilling this requirement.

Panel members: Yasemin Demiraslan (, Farrah D. Yusop and Vanessa Preast (

Panel facilitator: Connie Hargrave