Volume 1, Issue 3 Winter 2003
Preparing Teachers for Assistive Technology Using Online Learning: A Descriptive Study
This paper describes the learning environment of the introductory courses provided as part of the Virtual Assistive Technology University (VATU) certificate in assistive technology for educators. VATU, sponsored by The Spurwink Institute and the University of Southern Maine, offered its first course in the spring of 2001. The Web-based courses in this certificate program provide special and general educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to incorporate assistive technology in their educational programs for students with disabilities. This paper provides an in-depth descriptive study of the rationale of strategies for embedding social learning in the first two VATU courses. As each of the seven courses is delivered, assessment of student learning and student and instructor feedback and reflection will guide the course developers and instructors in improving the effectiveness of social learning.
An Investigation of the Effects of Using a LISTSERV Discussion Group After Traditional Workshops to Sustain Staff Development: Training K-12 Teachers to Use Internet Resources
Three staff development workshops were conducted with 25 teachers in a rural school district in the Southeast. Participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group and asked to complete a pre-survey measuring their Internet usage, confidence, and self-efficacy. Participants in the experimental group kept in daily contact with the researcher/workshop trainer via the LISTSERV. During the last workshop, a post-survey was administered to determine if changes in teachers’ behavior, confidence, or self-efficacy occurred. In addition, interviews were conducted with six of the participants from the experimental group. Results of the statistical analysis indicated that, although there were significant gains in Internet usage for both groups, there was no statistical difference between the experimental and control group on the post-survey with regard to Internet usage, confidence, or self-efficacy. However, teachers in the control group reported in qualitative interviews that they benefited from the sustained interaction, convenience, and teacher collaboration and they reported higher levels of confidence as a result of participating in the LISTSERV. In addition, teacher created lesson plans indicated that the participants were able to use the Internet to plan or enhance lessons.
Analysis of the Effectiveness of Online Learning in a Graduate Engineering Math Course
This paper describes a collaborative effort between faculty in the College of Engineering and the College of Education at the University of Alabama. A graduate course in engineering mathematics called Partial Differential Equations was developed, then taught in the Spring 2002 term to 26 onsite students and 14 off-campus students. The students in the class were divided into three tests groups: (1) traditional mode of delivery only, (2) online delivery only, and (3) a mixture of traditional and online delivery. In addition, the performance of the students taking the class was compared to that of a previous semester’s students who took the class via the traditional mode of delivery. Results indicate that the mode of delivery had little effect on student performance.
Windows to the World: Perspectives on Case-based Multimedia Web Projects in Science
Open-ended computer simulations enable students to solve scientific problems through case studies in areas such as human genetics. Use of the Internet allows students to communicate and discuss their scientific findings with others through Web-based posters and electronic conferencing. The aims of this study were to (1) examine high school students’ learning during this case-based multimedia project; (2) analyze the interaction that occurred during electronic conferencing based on the high school and college students’ Web posters in the United States, England, and Australia, and (3) compare the perspectives of high school students, and high school teacher on this project.
The Design and Field Test of a Web-Based Training Program for Future School Administrators in a Northwest Florida School District
A Web-based instructional product was successfully developed and evaluated through a field test. The module was the prototype of a new learning and training system and part of the Florida Principal Certification. The sample consisted of 25 trainees who were teachers, appointed intern assistant principals, or interim principals. The instructor was district-based and served as the subject matter expert. To guide the three phases of the module’s production three instructional design models were combined. The statistical analysis revealed the group scored significantly higher on the posttest (M = 37.56) than the pretest (M = 26.88), p < .001. The instructor confirmed all trainees had met identified instructional objectives. Trainees evaluated the Web-based training favorably; the majority of trainees agreed with all 49 items on an evaluation questionnaire administered after the field test. Reported advantages outweighed experienced disadvantages, and participants indicated they would enroll in additional Web-based training modules. Participants offered several suggestions and recommendations for the revision of the module.