Volume 3, Issue 1, Summer 2004

Using an Electronic Bulletin Board in Science Teacher Education: Issues and Trade-offs

Ruth S. Burkett
Central Missouri State University

Cynthia Leard
University of South Florida

Barbara S. Spector
University of South Florida


University professors increasingly are expected to infuse computer technology in teaching. Many universities are aggressively promoting the delivery of entire courses and programs using computers and the Internet as vehicles for instruction. There is also a movement to align university teaching with the national standards for K-12 teaching. National and state standards call for K-12 teachers to integrate computer technology in teaching. One way to encourage prospective or experienced teachers to do that is to provide opportunities to experience success using computer technology during preservice and in-service courses. Computer-mediated communication (CMC), or any form of communication that takes place with the use of a personal computer, can be an effective tool for not only infusing technology in an education course, but also for fostering the creation of a community of learners within which the social interaction supporting meaningful learning occurs (Fussell & Benimoff, 1995; Herring, 1996; Nonis, Bronack, & Haton, 1998).

Using Web-Based Distance Learning to Reduce Cultural Distance

L. Fai Wong
University of Hong Kong

S. G. Trinidad
Curtin University of Technology


In recent years, Web-based distance learning (WBDL) systems have become a popular learning environment for many western learners. While it has been established as an effective learning alternative, WBDL is not flourishing in Hong Kong as expected. This paper proposes that this is because Hong Kong students are not trained to learn independently and actively, as required in distance learning. Trapped in a Chinese Confucian-heritage culture, a generation of Hong Kong learners’ learning behavior can be summarized as shy, passive, reactive, inarticulate, non-collaborative, and timid—in short, the SPRINT learning behavior. Hong Kong learners with a SPRINT learning behavior contrast drastically with western learners, who are more proactive, articulate, collaborative, and eager to challenge traditions. The cultural distance in learning that is between western learners and traditional Chinese learners is wide and visible in Hong Kong. The objective of this research was to examine whether a WBDL environment that was integrated with advanced information and communication technology (ICT) can reduce this cultural distance and induce a motivation to learn through interaction. Several key ICT components are suggested that can help to remedy the cultural learning deficiencies of Hong Kong learners when using WBDL environments.

A Maturity Model: Does It Provide a Path for Online Course Design?

Charlotte Neuhauser
Madonna University


Maturity models are successfully used by organizations attempting to improve their processes, products, and delivery. As more faculty include online course design and teaching, a maturity model of online course design may serve as a tool in planning and assessing their courses for improvement based on best practices. This article presents such a maturity model.

Web Logs and Online Discussions as Tools to Promote Reflective Practice

Pedro Hernández-Ramos
Santa Clara University


This article reports on the use of Web logs (“blogs”) and online discussion forums in an instructional technology course in a teacher preparation program. Key goals behind the use of these tools included exposure for students to computer-supported communication and collaboration, encouragement of reflective practice, and a better understanding of the pedagogical and learning benefits derived from integration of these technologies. Management and assessment challenges for instructors derived from the volume of writing, as well as pedagogical considerations, are noted. Some of the issues raised led to a call for improvements in the tools and for additional research in a wider variety of contexts.

Leading the Band: The Role of the Instructor in Online Learning for Educators

Barbara P. Heuer
Kathleen P. King
Fordham University


Drawing from the online experiences of teachers across the United States who participated in online professional development courses, this article focuses on what educators/participants consider to be the roles and responsibilities of the online instructor. They see the online instructor as facilitator, model, planner, coach, and communicator. They describe how these roles are uniquely tuned in the online environment.

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