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8. Issue
Eighth Issue - June 2012
Articles / Beiträge
  1. Learning Analytics

    This paper provides a brief introduction to the domain of ‘learning analytics’. We first explain the background and idea behind the concept. Then we give a brief overview of current research issues. We briefly list some more controversial issues before concluding.

  2. The use of learning management systems: A Longitudinal Case Study

    In this article the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) at the School of Engineering, University of Borås, in the year 2004 and the academic year 2009-2010 is investigated. The tools in the LMS were classified into four groups (tools for distribution, tools for communication, tools for interaction and tools for course administration) and the pattern of use was analyzed. The preliminary interpretation of the results was discussed with a group of teachers from the School of Engineering with long experience of using LMS. High expectations about LMS as a tool to facilitate flexible education, student centered methods and the creation of an effective learning environment is abundant in the literature. This study, however, shows that in most of the surveyed courses the available LMS is predominantly used to distribute documents to students. The authors argue that a more elaborate use of LMS and a transformation of pedagogical practices towards social constructivist, learner centered procedures should be treated as an integrated process of professional development.

  3. Matching form with content

    Successful computer-supported distance education requires that its enabling technologies are accessible and usable anywhere. They should work seamlessly inside and outside the information superhighway, wherever the target learners are located, without obtruding on the learning activity. It has long been recognised that the usability of interactive computer systems is inversely related to the visibility of the implementing technologies. Reducing the visibility of technology is especially challenging in the area of online language learning systems, which require high levels of interactivity and communication along multiple dimensions such as speaking, listening, reading and writing. In this article, the authors review the concept of invisibility as it applies to the design of interactive technologies and appliances. They describe a specialised appliance matched to the requirements for distance second language learning, and report on a successful multi-phase evaluation process, including initial field testing at a Thai open university.

  4. Language Learning in 3D Virtual World

    Second Life (SL) is an ideal platform for language learning. It is called a Multi-User Virtual Environment, where users can have varieties of learning experiences in life-like environments. Numerous attempts have been made to use SL as a platform for language teaching and the possibility of SL as a means to promote conversational interactions has been reported. However, the research so far has largely focused on simply using SL without further augmentations for communication between learners or between teachers and learners in a school-like environment. Conversely, not enough attention has been paid to its controllability which builds on the embedded functions in SL. This study, based on the latest theories of second language acquisition, especially on the Task Based Language Teaching and the Interaction Hypothesis, proposes to design and implement an automatized interactive task space (AITS) where robotic agents work as interlocutors of learners. This paper presents a design that incorporates the SLA theories into SL and the implementation method of the design to construct AITS, fulfilling the controllability of SL. It also presents the result of the evaluation experiment conducted on the constructed AITS.

  5. How Web 2.0 is Changing the Way Students Learn: The Darwikinism and Folksonomy Revolution

    In the 21st century, some argue that we have a new breed of students (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Prensky, 2001). Technologies such as Web 2.0 have been held responsible for these changes as students are now becoming active, critical consumers of information (Klamma, Cao, & Spaniol, 2007). Two components of this Web 2.0 revolution are the ideas behind Darwikinism and folksonomy. Darwikinism is a portmanteau of Darwinism and Wikis, which describes how a system similar to Darwin’s theory of evolution is ordering and processing wiki information. Folksonomy, again a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy, refers to the way in which Web 2.0 users (folk) are creating a classification system of information on the web. This article looks at the way in which student learning is changing and evolving, driven by the users of Web 2.0.

Project reports / Projektberichte
  1. Using Moodle as a support tool for teaching in Higher Education in Portugal: an exploratory study

    The use of virtual learning environments in Higher Education (HE) has been growing in Portugal, driven by the Bologna Process. An example is the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) that translates an opportunity to leverage the use of technological advances in the educational process. The progress of information and communication technologies (ICT) coupled with the great development of Internet has brought significant challenges to educators that require a thorough knowledge of their implementation process. These field notes present the results of a survey among teachers of a private HE institution in its use of Moodle as a tool to support face-to-face teaching. A research methodology essentially of exploratory nature based on a questionnaire survey, supported by statistical treatment allowed to detect motivations, type of use and perceptions of teachers in relation to this kind of tool. The results showed that most teachers, by a narrow margin (58%), had not changed their pedagogical practice as a consequence of using Moodle. Among those that did 67% attended institutional internal training. Some of the results obtained suggest further investigation and provide guidelines to plan future internal training.

  2. Workshop: Centers of Excellence for Research Information – Digital Text and Data Centers for Science and Open Research

  3. PROBADO – A Digital Library System for Heterogeneous Non-textual Documents

  4. CampusContent and the Repository Network edu-sharing

  5. Open European Nephrology Science Center

    The Open European Nephrology Science Center is the single center for scientific data in a medical domain supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Althrough the medical domain of nephrology is very small compared to others e.g. carcinoma the diseases of this domain have a high impact for the patients and for society. The diagnosis and treatment of these relative rare diseases are a challenge for clinicians, pathologists and other experts. There is a need to improve the data management to enhance the scientific work by support of study recruitment and explorative data analysis. The Open European Nephrology Science Center represents an organisational structure as a model for scientific collaboration and data collection as well as a web based plattform for cientific data management. It covers all aspects of data integration, retrieval and presentation and includes clinical data and Virtual Slides (such called Whole Slide Images (WSI)). Especially two aspects are different to comparable systems: Besides an user management a specialized ticket system covers the resource rights of the data owner. A very flexible database structure based on RDF model (Resource Description Framework) allows an integration of any kind of resource from any medical domain.

  6. DMG-Lib - The Digital Mechanism and Gear Library

    Motion systems are important parts of technical products. Those are mostly composed of mechanisms and gears. Today mechanism and gear technology is essential for the whole industry and it will become even more important due to the introduction of new technologies and respective new fields of applications.

Book descriptions / Buchbeschreibungen
  1. Taxonomie von Unterrichtsmethoden

    Nach wie vor gibt es für die didaktische Gestaltung von Unterrichtssituationen wenig zufrieden stellende Hilfsmittel, die sowohl unerfahrene Pädagoginnen und Pädagogen unterstützen, gleichzeitig aber auch Kreativität und didaktische Vielfalt von Expertinnen und Experten fördern. Dieses Buch präsentiert für dieses Dilemma einen neuen Lösungsansatz.

  2. eLearning - Konzept und Drehbuch

    - Die Entstehung eines Drehbuchs für eLearning Schritt für Schritt erläutert - Vermittelt Kernkompetenzen für Drehbuchautoren, Arbeitsorganisation und -abläufe - Durchgehend überarbeitet und aktualisiert

  3. Bildungsdienstleistung eLearning

    Die Möglichkeit, Lernen mit Hilfe digitaler Medien zu unterstützen, wird von der einschlägigen Forschungsliteratur mehrheitlich propagiert. Doch die Technik allein bringt nicht automatisch einen pädagogischen Mehrwert mit sich. Um Handlungsempfehlungen zum technologiebasierten Lehren und Lernen zu erstellen, fehlten bislang empirische Untersuchungen und Darstellungen der vielfältiger werdenden Praxis des didaktischen Handelns mit elektronischen Medien. Horst Rippien rekonstruiert mit leitfadengestützten Interviews sechs Fälle von Weiterbildungs-Organisationen und deren unterschiedliche Leistungen zur Anregung und Unterstützung des Lernens Erwachsener in technologisch gestützten Lehr-Lern-Settings. Der Ansatz der „Dienstleistung Weiterbildung“ betont die Rolle der Kooperation mit Auftraggebern und Lernenden, vergleicht die empirisch vorfindlichen flexiblen Organisationsprofile miteinander und führt sie zu einem wirkungsvollen eLearning zusammen.

Dissertations / Dissertationen
  1. Fortbildung online: Entwicklung, Erprobung und Evaluation eines tutoriell betreuten Online-Selbstlernangebots für Lehrkräfte

    The quality of schools mainly depends on the competence of teachers. Further professional development courses as third and longest period of teacher training play an essential role in maintaining professional skills. In almost every federal state teaching personnel are required to take part in further training courses. A range of courses offered by the State, the churches, and by independent institutions are available.


Recently I stumbled upon Dörte Giebel's review of e-learning trend predictions that are yearly published in a new Horizon report. She notes that game-based learning and augmented reality, although predicated to spread in 2010 and 2013, did not really lift off and the hype about open content and open educational resources did also not mature to a daily practice as assumed two or there years ago. I share Dörte's preference of mobile apps, tablet computing and learning analytics to be the most interesting trends among those forecast in the report, while it is difficult to judge possible impacts of gesture-based computing and the Internet of Things, which are sketched at the horizon of 4 or five years.

Apple seems to claim leadership in educational apps for mobile gadgets but most of these are aiming at kindergarten, k12, and general education but not much exists in higher education. Another approach pushed by this company is iBooks, which primarily target the open courseware community and exploit tablet-computing features of the iPad.

The constantly growing field of research and applications in learning analytics follows the example of (web) business analytics and uses a range of methods, including log file analysis, data and text mining, learner tracking and monitoring, process mining, and behavior analysis or social network analysis to obtain feedback on technical, pedagogical and social aspects of learning. Aspects of interest include: the learning effectiveness of certain e-learning tools or integrated tool environments, weaknesses and improvement potential in educational methods and content, learning styles, or group effects. A necessary prerequisite for learning analytics are mass data that can now be accumulated in virtual learning environments, learning management systems, and other learning tools.

A recent EDUCAUSE report entitled Analytics in Higher Education: Establishing a Common Language develops a unifying conceptual framework of the various types of analytics found in literature. A tech report of the British Knowledge Media Institute presents a review of the state of learning analytics in 2012. We strongly encourage readers who are or have been involved in leaning analytics projects to communicate their findings in the form of a project report or a scientific paper.

We are grateful to Erik Duval and Katrien Verbert for their survey article on Learning Analytics, which provides a good start into this topic. Further this issue of eleed presents the usual mix of scientific articles, project reports, book reviews, and other community-related information. Ramón Garrote's paper about the use of learning management systems combines learning analytics and interview techniques. In the context of WebCT, the author compares usage data of communication and collaboration tools collected in 2004 and again 5 years later to understand possible changes in tool usage over the years.

The articles Matching form with content and Language Learning in a 3D Virtual World present two different environments for language learning. While the former aims at reducing the visibility of the underlying technology of the authors' computer-assisted environment, the latter employs Second Life (SL) - an online virtual world - for interactive language learning. In this new approach students do not attend a class in SL; instead, the learning experience is based on solving tasks by interacting with robotic agents.

Helen Crompton's paper about How Web 2.0 is Changing the Way Students Learn is more a feature than a research article. It puts the learning paradigm in the context of Web 2.0 and discusses two specific aspects of this perspective: Darwikinism and Folksonomy. Darwinkinism related Darwin's theory of evolution with processes typically observed in Wikis, while folksonomy adapts the idea of creating taxonomies on the fly as users collect and tag sources found in the Web. Helen picks on Prensky's construction of digital natives that is discussed controversially in Schulmeister's article about the net generation published earlier in this journal.

The project report about the use of Moodle presents the results of a survey among teachers on the use of this tool for face-to-face teaching in a Portuguese private higher education institution. Furthermore, we have four project reports on Probado, edu-sharing, DMG-Lib and OpenSC that grew out of a concluding workshop held earlier this year at the FernUniversität. All projects were funded for about 5 years by the German Science Foundation (DFG) under the umbrella theme "Centers of Excellence for Research Information - Digital Text and Data Centers for Science and Open Research" and are more or less related to e-learning.

Let me conclude this editorial with a personal matter: Having been in the editorial board since the very beginning, I am stepping back from the role of an editor-in-chief with this issue as my time with FernUniversität will come to an end soon. The editorial board is overly happy that Jörg Haake, an outstanding colleague at FernUniversität, agreed to take over. Jörg has been an active researcher in e-learning for 12 years. This year he is chairing DeLFi 2012, the annual e-learning conference of the German Computer Society. Jörg's original field of interest is computer-supported collaborative work and learning, with a focus on context-based adaptive collaborative learning environments and learning support for communities of practice. From the next issue on, you will hear more from him as the new editor-in-chief.

Bernd Krämer
Editor-in-Chief, eleed