Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2006

Learning Hands-on Skills in an Online Environment: The Effectiveness of Streaming Demonstration Animation

Dr. Shiang-Kwei Wang
New York Institute of Technology


Online learning courses are generally text-based. Particularly for students who are learning multimedia skills, these courses can be problematic because demonstration and hands-on activities are important in the field of multimedia authoring. This study uses action research techniques and describes the application of onscreen-action-capture software to the design of hands-on demonstration animation. This article (1) explores the teaching of multimedia skills in an online learning environment, (2) compares the use of the software in an online learning environment to use of the software in a face-to-face learning environment, and (3) proposes strategies by which instructors can encourage students to complete hands-on activities in an online learning environment.

The Efficacy of Online MBL Activities

David Slykhuis
James Madison University

John C. Park
North Carolina State University


The focus of this study was twofold: one, to determine if students could increase their physics content knowledge through the completion of an online hands-on Microcomputer-Based Laboratory (MBL) unit on motion; and two to determine if the demonstrated learning gains were equivalent to those of students who completed the same MBL activities in a more traditional classroom setting with their teacher. One hundred and fifty high school physics students from five diverse high schools participated in the study. Ninety-five were in the classroom group and 55 were in the online group. The online group showed significant comprehension gains from pre-test to post-test. When compared to the classroom group, there was not a significant difference in the gain scores between the two groups. This suggests that further study could lead to the development of online, hands-on physics classes that could be offered to students whose schools do not offer physics due to the lack of resources or physics teachers.

Technology-Enabled Content in Engineering Technology and Applied Science Curriculum: Implications for Online Content Development in Teacher Education

Joyce Pittman
Eugene Rutz
Virginia Elkins
University of Cincinnati


This preliminary study compared the effects of technology-enabled courses and face-to-face instruction using student learning styles and student preferences for content types. Two groups of students enrolled in problem-based courses (one in the College of Engineering and the other in the College of Applied Science) were included in this quasi-experimental research. A survey was used to collect information about the students’ preference for content types. Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory was used to measure student learning styles preferences. The results indicated an expected preference in the engineering technology disciplines for concrete experience over abstract conceptualization. Neither the delivery medium nor the content type (face-face or online) had any statistically significant impact on students’ final performance. A significant finding was that both group profiles suggested differing needs for presentation of content and learning styles for students in the two colleges. The conclusion was that learning styles could influence content type preferences among students in either environment (face-to-face or online) but this hypothesis needs more research.

Cybermentoring: Evolving High-End Video Conferencing Practices to Support Preservice Teacher Training

Todd E. Johnson, Ph.D.
Gerald H. Maring, Ph.D.
John H. Doty
Michelle Fickle
Washington State University


This article is a descriptive study of an evolving cybermentoring videoconferencing practice and tool developed to support preservice teacher training. Cybermentoring projects are synchronous distance learning collaborations using high-end video conferencing to foster interactive learning and tutoring among preservice teachers and K-12 students, all of whom are mentored by classroom teachers and university faculty. Cybermentoring for preservice teachers is situated within the theoretical frameworks of constructivism and "co-teaching." A list of projects and two streaming videos illustrating these projects facilitated by our state's cyberinfrastructure are provided. In addition, a case study of one cybermentoring project is presented in terms of its procedures, participants, and participant reflections. The benefits and challenges of cybermentoring are discussed before five suggestions [technology training, strengthening the assessment skills of the cybermentors, improved assessment of tutee learning, use of focus groups, and recommended use of high quality desktop videoconferencing] for improving cybermentoring projects are offered.

Comparing the Effectiveness of a Supplemental Online Tutorial to Traditional Instruction with Nutritional Science Students

Patrice Zubas, MS, RD
Consultant Dietitian

Cindy Heiss, PhD, RD
Missouri State University

Mary Pedersen, PhD
California Polytechnic State University


The purpose of this study was to ascertain if an online computer tutorial on diabetes mellitus, supplemented to traditional classroom lecture, is an effective tool in the education of nutrition students. Students completing a web-based tutorial as a supplement to classroom lecture displayed greater improvement in pre- vs. post-test scores compared with students who attended lecture only. Students completing the tutorial indicated a favorable attitude toward computer supplemented instruction.

Collaboration in Online Teaching: Library Instruction and Education Research

Faith Maina
Barbara Shaffer
State University of New York at Oswego


Recent explosion of online teaching has brought unique challenges for libraries as they strive to provide access to necessary resources and services for distance learners. These challenges are increased by the desire to provide the same level of library services to distance learners as to their on-campus counterparts. In response, many libraries are increasing electronic resources and developing special services, including online library instruction. However, little has been done to document the impact of this access on students’ learning and their satisfaction. This paper presents some evidence of students’ satisfaction and increased proficiency in research, as a result of direct library instruction for students in an action research course offered through SUNY Learning Network (SLN).

Selecting Evaluation Items for Judging Concept Attainment in Instructional Design

David Richard Moore
Ohio University


Instructional strategies for successfully teaching concepts are found throughout the instructional design literature. These strategies primarily consist of presenting learners with definitions, examples, and non-examples. While examples are important presentation instruments, theorist suggests that examples should not be re-used in the assessment phase of instruction. The rationale being that encountered examples could be memorized thus activating different cognitive processes than those required for concept attainment. Consequently, test items referring to encountered examples may have less value in assisting evaluators in discerning whether or not a learner has attained a target concept. In this study test items consisting of encountered examples and un-encountered examples were examined. There appears to be evidence supporting the notion that examples are not sufficient discriminators for judging a learner’s level of concept attainment.

A Learning Strategy to Compensate for Cognitive Overload in Online Learning: Learner Use of Printed Online Materials

Shujen L. Chang
Kathryn Ley
University of Houston-Clear Lake


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between achievement and the quantity of online course materials that students printed and the frequency with which they reported using them. One hundred thirty-two graduate students from one of 11 hybrid or online classes voluntarily completed a self-report survey asking how much they printed (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%), how often they used printed materials (almost never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost always), and preference for either print, onscreen, or none. Neither quantity printed nor frequency used was related to achievement. But learner preference was associated with achievement; onscreen preference learners had higher mean rank scores than print and no preference learners. There were no achievement differences between the online and hybrid learner groups. Learners, who printed more, used more and preferred print online materials and experienced more onscreen reading difficulty than learners who printed less. Learners who used print materials more preferred reading printed materials, had difficulty reading onscreen, and were older.

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