Friday, September 25, 2009

E-Learning Philosophy

Defining a strategy for e-learning is quite a challenging task for most Open and Distance Learning Centres. There is no single ‘fit all’ strategy. There are, however some key elements that need to be considered when going for e-learning.

First of all, it is necessary to outline the differences and the similarities between traditional classes and e-learning. Traditional classes are aimed at group learning and require the learner to move to the event. On the other hand, e-learning is designed for individual learners. It suits their pace of learning and their individual lifestyles. Moreover, it should be highlighted while both e-learning and traditional classes follow same principles of teaching and learning; online learning offers more possibility of participation and more options for the retention of materials.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Dodo Syndicate - My own Social Network

Social Networking is the buzz word these days. What is social networking about? It does entail being on a social network such as Facebook, Hi5 and so on. It also involves being active on the website. Some ways in which people are active on social networks include linking with existing friends, making new friends, playing games etc.

However, social networking can be used for more productive purposes as well. for example, professionals can network among them and provide support to each other. This is what sites such as Linkedin are about.

Ning has moved social networking to another level. Now, anyone can create his/her own network and customize it. The first thought that came to my mind when I came across Ning was that that's a nice tool for networking my students.

I created The Dodo Syndicate for that purpose: network my students so that they can share, create and collaborate. On my website, I started by creating groups that would interest my students. The first groups were sociology, science and technology. Once I started the process of posting discussions and encouraging others to post their views, the site's activity increased.

Two weeks after its creation, my social network has 51 members, students and colleagues. The online interaction is wonderful. There is a lot of sharing and reciprocal teaching going on. Members now create their own groups. And they are no longer timid users! They now feel free to ask questions and boldly reply to others.

There are a few aspects that I am looking forward to on my site. I hope that students and colleague use the blog space they are entitled to. Secondly, I am exploring the possibility of having paperless homework. But that a medium term target!