by Carmel McNaught // Assessment
In this issue's Assessment, Carmel McNaught details RMIT University's efforts to ensure the quality of its online courses. Of particular value is McNaught's description of both RMIT's policy and its means of helping faculty members meet policy objectives. This institution's efforts to clarify the mission and methods of online education deserve attention.
by Virginia Michelich // Case Studies
In her Case Study, Virginia Michelich details ways in which the process of streaming media has been used to supplement instruction in both traditional and online biology courses and offers evidence suggesting that these efforts have increased student learning. Of particular value is Michelich's success on two fronts: content development and technological integration; this study is likely to stimulate fruitful discussion on each of these issues. Hyperlinks give Technology Source readers a glimpse of Michelich's practices.
by Greg Kearsley // Case Studies
Greg Kearsley provides a Case Study of the Masters of Engineering in Professional Practice program offered by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Taught almost completely online, this carefully constructed, two-year program serves mostly adult professionals. Paying particular attention to development issues, Kearsley provides a wealth of detail on such elements of the program as admissions, curriculum, students, faculty, staff, institutional support, program delivery, program management, and evaluation. In short, this article enumerates the many issues to which successful online education programs must attend and explains how MEPP has succeeded in those areas.
by Sharon K. Anderson and Val Middleton // Case Studies
Sharon Anderson and Val Middleton describe online course development as an acculturation experience in their Case Study. By applying psychological theories to their personal experience, Anderson and Middleton provide an interesting perspective on this crucial element of online education. In addition to the insights it offers to those involved in faculty development, this article encourages instructors to attend to the myriad ways in which course design can facilitate successful online learning.
by Cheryl Darrup-Boychuck // Commentary
In her Commentary, Cheryl Boychuck assesses the current state of international student enrollment and provides guidance for enhancing online recruitment. By adopting more efficient means of filtering, distributing, and tracking student inquiries, counselors will be able to spend more time and resources on close communication with candidates. Such a streamlined use of Web-based resources, Boychuck observes, will be necessary to address the challenges of this increasingly competitive field.
by Robert Sommer // Commentary
Robert Sommer provides a personal Commentary on his adoption of PowerPoint as an instructional resource within the traditional classroom. While noting the convenience and the technical possibilities of electronic slide presentations, he addresses the copyright issues and pedagogical concerns that arose as he incorporated new visual aids in his lectures.
by James L. Morrison and Geoff Cox // Virtual University
James Morrison interviews Cardean University's president Geoff Cox for our Virtual University section. Cox describes the mission and structure of Cardean as well as its relationship to its parent company UNext and partner universities. According to Cox, Internet-based distance learning is a niche that companies such as Cardean are better able to fill than traditional educational institutions.
by Randy Stamm and Bernadette Howlett // Faculty and Staff Development
In their Faculty and Staff Development contribution, Randy Stamm and Bernadette Howlett discuss how the Instructional Technology Resource Center at Idaho State University integrates instructional design with WebCT, the university-supported course management system. Working from successful systems approach models, the ITRC has developed its own model, the WebCT Ordinal Web Delivery Organizational Companion, to assist faculty members with the myriad aspects of Web-based instructional design. The WOWDOC makes a complex process more easily accessible to faculty members who lack the time to explore the nuances of instructional design, while, at the same time, facilitating the development of the appropriate instructional strategies for the Web-based delivery tools of WebCT.
by Stephen Downes // Spotlight Site
For our Spotlight Site feature, Stephen Downes offers an introduction to the eLearning Forum Web site. Devoted to exploring the professional and commercial potential of e-learning, this non-profit corporation offers free membership to the public. As it documents their monthly meetingswhich address such topics as the global expansion in e-learning, investment trends, pedagogical strategies, and technological innovationstheir Web site fosters a virtual community for the discussion of best practices. In doing so, it also serves as a helpful bridge between industry specialists and a wider audience of e-learning administrators and advocates.
by James L. Morrison // Letters to the Editor
In keeping with our mission to enhance professional communication on the role of technology in education, Technology Source editor James Morrison invites you to participate in virtual conferences with the featured authors of this issue. In his letter, Morrison outlines the purpose and procedures for this option, which will allow our readers to provide their own questions, suggestions, and opinions in a lively, real-time audio dialogue with our contributors.