Beyond Distance wins international academic e-learning award

IELA certificate

International E-Learning Association: Academic E-Learning Winner

We were all very excited to learn this week that Beyond Distance has won a major international e-learning award as a result of its work on an online course offered by the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.

The International E-Learning Association (IELA) selected the Dissertation Module as the winner of the Academic E-learning category.

Drawn directly from the Carpe Diem learning design process, the Dissertation Module is part of a highly successful suite of distance learning MA courses in International Relations at Leicester.

The Dissertation Module uses e-tivities – a key component of the Salmon 5-stage model – that incorporate Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis to scaffold learners towards a structured path to a coherent, interesting and viable dissertation topic.

The adaptability of the Dissertation Module has seen it adopted by other distance learning departments at the university. It is also available as a fully repurposable open educational resource as an output of the OTTER project.

The Dissertation Module is the result of successful collaboration between departments, services and individuals, and illustrative of what can be achieved by drawing upon skills and experience contained within the University as a whole.

Please visit the distance learning pages of the Department of Politics and International Relations for further details on this and other modules on offer. 

Simon Kear
Keeper of the Media Zoo

Visiting language teaching classes in Second Life – an e-tivity for MA TESOL students

An e-tivity designed for DUCKLING MA TESOL students was officially launched on Monday 12 October 2009 on Blackboard.

The e-tivity was designed by my colleague Gabi based on Salmon’s 5-stage model. Although the e-tivity is designed for students to participate in and contribute to mainly on the Blackboard discussion board, activities in SL including in-world training, visiting language teaching classes, reporting, discussing and sharing SL experiences are key elements of this e-tivity. An outline of this e-tivity was reported in Gabi’s blog.

There are four phases in this e-tivity, and each phase contains one or two mini-e-tivities.

Phase 1: Preparation

  • Mini-e-tivity 1: Introduce yourself on the Blackboard discussion board (Where are you located? What do you do? Why are you interested in Second Life?)
  • Mini-e-tivity 2: Sharing links and useful resources on Second Life on the Blackboard discussion board.
  • Mini-e-tivity 3: Getting started in Second Life (learning how to use SL individually, using a SL training guide).

Phase 2: Training in Second Life

  • Mini-e-tivity 4: In-world training for groups of participants, led by a BDRA learning technologist.

Phase 3: Visiting and observing language teaching classes in Second Life

  • Mini-e-tivity 5: Participants visit language teaching classes in Second Life and each reports back on the Blackboard discussion board to the group what class he/she visited and what he/she observed.

Phase 4: Discussion/reflection

  • Mini-e-tivity 6: Participants share thoughts and feelings on the use of Second Life for EFL teaching, reflecting on the implications for their own teaching contexts, and discussing what’s next.

The TESOL students responded enthusiastically to this e-tivity. So far, 13 participants including one tutor on the distance learning programme have registered their interest. The participants have already started sharing comments and useful resources on the Blackboard discussion board.

The evidence will be collected in several ways including a personal interview with each participant at the end of this e-tivity, students’ comments and feedback on the Blackboard discussion board, transcripts of student discussion in Second Life, and observations in Second Life. I will update my research findings in my later blogs.


Ming Nie

14 October 2009

%d bloggers like this: