In this chapter, I will discuss my decade of evaluation activities relating to online learning experiences, with a focus on methods. These online experiences range from setting up online networks for social interaction, facilitating collaborative learning experiences among graduate students in several universities, moderating worldwide online professional development activities, and teaching entirely online. Most of my online experiences relate to my role as a professor at the University of New Mexico where I teach graduate level courses in distance education and educational telecommunications. In this respect, I would like to acknowledge the valuable lessons I have learned from many students and colleagues who have collaborated with me and helped me develop my understanding of how learning occurs in online networks. For me the greatest value of online learning is in the concept of “networked learning,” the opportunity to engage in collaborative, reflective learning for an extended period of time with individuals who may be thousands of miles apart, in very different time zones. As I study online learning, I am more interested in discovering the “process” of learning rather than the “product,” that is, how did this specific online group share multiple perspectives, negotiate meaning, and come to new understandings? and how did individual participants in this group, change their own perceptions as a result of this group process? One of the difficulties I have experienced as a practitioner however, is assigning individual worth to collaborative group learning processes, when institutional policies often require assessment of individual learning.
Using Learning Technologies: International Perspectives on Practice
Learning technologies, online experiences, collaborative learning
Gunawardena, C. N. (2001). Reflections on evaluating online learning and teaching. In E. J. Burge and M. Haughey (Eds.), Using learning technologies: International perspectives on practice (pp. 115-124). London: Routledge Falmer.
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