Final Project

Been a part of 685 has broadened my horizon; it is a process that full of diversity, collaboration and creativity. That’s the reason why we choose our final project as a youtube video. But the process is not as easy as I thought.
Our original idea about video is not using blog as main plot for the whole story. At first we plan to use a plot that 2 friends are talking with each other, they shared about their online learning experience. And we have already found our main actors and have shot some scenes, but as think about more carefully, we realize it is much better for us to use blog to tell the story. When thinking about “what is a blog”, we come up with several metaphors, including dairy, newspaper, magazine, journal, etc. Metaphors are interesting and vivid to represent the meaning of a certain term. Then we decided to use 4 scenes to conclude what we have learned in this class.
1. Online course
In recent days, more and more people are choosing online course, among those people, there is great percentage of on-campus students. It is really a new experience to me, but I do enjoy the process. When we are creating our video, we tried our best to reflect what is truly in our heads, so we also contains some obstacles that we meet during this process. One of the articles in week 10 compares the engagement of distance learners in education practices with that of their campus-based counterparts. What is described in this article conforms to our own experiences. Distance learners tend to experience “higher levels of academic challenge and reflective thinking, gain more in terms of practical competence and in personal and social development“, interact more with faculty, and participate more in leaning communities and independent study (Chen, Gonyea, & Kuh, 2008). So sometimes we feel a lack of confidence and thus lack the courage to perform ourselves. Fortunately the situation changes with more communication and participation.
2. We really appreciate all those convenience that high technologies bring us about. With various social networks, we can make friends with our group members; even we never meet with each other. We shared photos and videos in our personal homepage and we even can have a synchronous chatting with them.
3. Except for those social networks, there are other places that we can conduct our group activities. We can edit on the same files even though we are miles apart. We can also create some books despite time difference. What we are trying to say is technology made group work more effective.
4. I remembered Olgun shared his opinion about OER in class with us, which are “if we exchange our ideas, then we will have more ideas”. Shuya and I both have a strong fondness about “gift culture”. Some people will say that culture difference will cause violence or misunderstanding, but if we all be patient, listen to other’s perspective, it is a gift or even bliss from god.

Reference: Chen, P., R. Gonyea, and G. Kuh (2008). Learning at a distance: Engaged or not?.
Innovate 4(3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from

Wiki Week(2)

It was such a great night that Dr Bonk introduce 2 guest speakers to our class to share their research work about Wikibooks in different areas. One is in higher education, one is in K-12, and the last one is from business field!
Actually I never heard about Wikibooks before, and I was so amazed found that we can all be writers for In short, it is the creation of free content textbooks and annotated texts that anyone can edit (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikibooks). Even though it is free content, you cannot simply put whatever you want. Academic research is required when you are contributing to Wikibooks. During the process of researching and writing, learners make meanings of the information and construct their own knowledge, together with group members.
Another aspect is that I remembered an article that I read this week; it shows a data that university students are more likely to use Wikipedia at first to look some resource, but when they tend to get rid of Wikipedia later.

Is google making us Stupid?

Actually I read this article in the beginning of this semester. However that that time I was assigned with another article which wrote by Clay Shirky, in that article, Clay Shirky is so optimistic about internet, he come up with an definition of “cognitive surplus".

And in my first blog, I just wrote “it described a tremendous power which come from the spare time like the time people were couch potatoes, by using the trillion time people spend on tv into the internet field people can build a better and more cooperate world, because we can create more humane internet environment which will help us save time in the long future”.
And at that time, I was really a negative person towards high technologies; I am really a low efficiency person when I have to face computers all day long. But my opinions slightly changed this semester. I tried to adapt myself to reading online. Because I have a lot of group work this semester, and the best way for us communicate is through emails, I have to download their files and read it on my computer, soon I if you get used to work on computer, you can think more criticlally.

Therefore, now I changed my minds, I think google provides us with a really cool resource, and if we use properly, we can be really smart!

Nicholas Carr (2008, July/August). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

Open Source education

Now free education resources are available for anyone with an Internet connection, we can download any kinds of information that we are interested. Teacher is not the only source that we can obtain knowledge; everyone can be your teacher. As Issac Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Open Source Education (OER) offers us a great opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. In our understanding, the giants are not only defined as experts who are famous to the whole world, but also some ordinary people who might live in your neighborhood (Shuya&Yue’s summary reflection paper of Video Design.

We are no long constrained with time and space any more, even most of us don’t have the chance to go the MIT or Yale, and we are provided an opportunity to listen to the lecture which taught by MIT’s teacher. And with the internet connection, we may also enjoy studying while we are sailing in the sea. Therefore, Open Education Resources "can be an efficient way of promoting lifelong learning, both for individuals and for government, and can bridge the gap between non-formal, informal and formal learning." But here also come with the copyright issue, and sometimes government has to use their power to solve such problems.
I remembered some old news I read about 1 ago. There are a lot of Chinese students who learn English by watching American TV series and movies. Informal group has been devoted to translates all the English subtitles into Chinese and all the sources are free online, but in this situation, copyright of those films and TV series has been violated, so Chinese government forced to close several website to stop people downloading films.
So regarding Chinese government’s action, how do you feel about that?

Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources. OECD
Publishing: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. (2007). (153 pages).
http://www.oecdbookshop.org/oecd/display.asp?SF1=DI&CID=&LANG=EN&ST1=5L4S6TNG3F9X and
Geser, Guntram (ed.). (2007, January). Open Educational Practices and Resources:
OLCOS Roadmap 2012 (149 pages). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from

Podcast: Speak to the world

(week 14)
I hate to admit that, but it is true that before this class I have never heard about podcast. Or at least not in English.
So here is what I learned from this week
- There are three general categories of activities and equipment involved in podcasting: file production, podcast publication, and delivery and playback.
- RSS feed: A feed is a simple XML file that lists the location of podcast episodes.

Now more and more students tended to listen to podcasts on computers rather than MP3 players. However, the majority of instructors reported little or no prior exposure to podcasting (Lane, 2006).Is it important to use podcast into teaching? According to dual coding theory, cognition involves the activity of two distinct subsystems, verbal system and non-verbal system. Podcast extends learning beyond text to visual or aural memory, thereby fostering students dual coding of information (From Shuya’s blog).

Teachers can use podcast as a facilitator to help students better their study, because some students might have problems when teachers express too fast. And according to Lane, Cara (2006), both students and instructors indicated that podcasting should be incorporated in courses with 100 more students, but what I concerns most is the copyright of those podcasts, it should be downloaded freely to this class, but can it be downloaded freely to the entire world? If it can, does the teacher has the copyright? There are other concerns about podcast, which is the adoption of this technology could lead to higher rates of absenteeism.
Except for the educational use, I am also curious by the number of podcasters, according to Mocigemba, 86.2% of the podcasters are males, I just wondered why men are always be the contributor of Internet?

1. Deal, Ashley (2007, June). Podcasting. A Teaching With Technology White Paper. Educause. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://connect.educause.edu/files/CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf
2. Lane, Cara (2006). UW podcasting: Evaluation of Year One. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://catalyst.washington.edu/research_development/papers/2006/podcasting_year1.pdf
3. Mocigemba, Dennis, & Riechmann, Gerald (2007, July). International Podcastersurvey: Podcasters - who they are. How and why they do it. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://cms.screamingbob.com/PWDA/files/150/ipcs07.pdf


Wiki Week (1) From Cultural aspect

Wikipedia may be the biggest group wirting project ever. As non-linear, evolving, complex and networked texts with multiple authors, Wikipedia provides a great opportunity for student collaboration, co-production of texts, argument, and interaction ((Drs. Axal Bruns & Sal Humphreys, 2005, Queensland University of Technology).

Although the Internet is a global medium, Wikipedia’s users and creators have different backgrounds. They live in different countries, and belong to different cultures. So it usually leads to misunderstandings and problems in communication. And in week 10 I read an article just describing such cultural difference in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia.

According to Hofstede’s research, (he collected date from 116,000 IBM employees who are working in over 70 countries Cultural Dimensions), there are 4 cultural dimensions:

1. Power Distance. It describes the relationship between the higher-ups and lower-downs of a society and how human disparity and differences in power and wealth are dealt with (Hofstede, 1991).
2. Collectivism versus Individualism.
3. Femininity versus Masculinity.
4. Uncertainty Avoidance , it describes the extent to which people feel anxious or uneasy in unfamiliar or unpredictable situations.

After that, the authors give several hypotheses based on these cultural dimensions, and use data to support his assumptions.
Here are the assumptions that can be verified by his data:
1. The higher the PDI (Power Distance Index) of a country, the fewer deletions are made in that particular Wikipedia page.
2. The higher the IDV (Individualism Index) of a country, the less likely its people are to add or clarify information, and the lower the IDV of a country, the more contributions can be found in the categories Add Information and Clarify Information.
3. The higher the MAS (Masculinity Index) of a country, the more contributions in the categories Add Information and Clarify Information are found.
4. The higher the UAI (Avoidance Index) of a country, the larger the number of contributions is in the category Add Information.

Actually, all the counties listed are not including Mainland China, so I made several guesses of whether all the assumptions will also be applied for the users from Mainland China. I looked up the scores of China ranked in all dimensions (http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/map/hofstede-uncertainty-avoidance.html), and here is the results:.
1. Compared with USA who scored 40 in PDI, Mainland China scored 80, so according to the assumption; users from mainland China should have fewer deletions.
2. China belongs to the category of collectivism, so there should be more contributions of adding Information and clarifying Information.
3. China scored 66 in the dement ion of “Masculinity”, it belongs to the high level, so it indicates that there should be more contributions of adding Information and clarifying Information. It is in accordance with number 2.
4. China got 30 in UAI, it is pretty a lower score, so it means that there will be a lower number of contributions of adding information.

Then No. 4 and No 2&3 are contradictory with each other. I hope if I got time, I can gather some data from Mainland China to see which one should be right! Should there be more contributions of adding Information or less contributions of adding Information in Mainland China?

Pfeil, U., Zaphiris, P., & Ang, C. S. (2006). Cultural differences in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), article 5. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/pfeil.html

Collaborative Learning Part 2 (Online Learning)

There is a research expressed a belief that distance learning is inferior to face to face learning (Allen and Seaman, 2006).However, we cannot denying the fact that now more and more students are taking online learning. Actually, one in four American students is now at least having one course online. On the other side, there is a great number of online learners are not belonging to the “traditional age”. They are over the age of 25, which means they have abundant work experience, more motivated and have the self-discipline to manage effectively the unstructured nature of the distance learning environment (Didiase, 2000)

According to a survey conducted by Chen, Gonyea, and Kuh (2008),

"Distance learners participate at least as often, and at times more often, than campus-based students in three activities: (a) asking questions in class and contributing to class discussion, (b) participating in community-based projects as part of a regular course, and (c) discussing ideas from readings or classes with others outside of class. However, distance learners are less engaged, on average, in two areas: (a) working with other students on projects during class, and (b) working with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments.”
Thinking about my online experience, distance learners do perform more active than campus based students, they talked a lot on our weekly chatting section, usually it is connected to their work experience, and they always come up with unique idea.

However, in group work, I find different results. My online group work is a little bit different from other groups, the majority of our group members are all campus-based learners, and there is really a problem when we communicate with our off-campus member. We-campus based students always prefer to have a synchronous chatting. We all expect to get a prompt answer from others. However, according other group’s experience, distant learners perform actively during their group work. Because the majority of their group members are all distant learners, they are get used to use email to contact with each other, their group work is asynchronous.

Other finding in Chen, Gonyea, and Kuh (2008) includes:
“Older distance learners differ from younger online students in noteworthy ways. Older students report greater gains and are more likely to engage in higher order mental activities such as analysis and synthesis as part of their studies. However, they are less involved in activities that depend on interacting with others, such as working with other students on problems or assignments.”

In my opinion, if there are clearly group guidelines, situation might be different. Anyway, I still have big confidence about online collaborative Learning.

Chen, P., R. Gonyea, and G. Kuh (2008). Learning at a distance: Engaged or not?. Innovate 4 (3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.innovateonline.info/pdf/vol4_issue3/Learning_at_a_Distance-__Engaged_or_Not_.pdf

Collaborative Learning Part 1 (Face to face)

Cooperative learning is being increasingly used in colleges and universities. I remembered in my undergraduate studies, I had so many group works especially in the third year, actually in 2009, I only have one final exam, other courses are all group project. So what is group work, or in other term, collaborative learning?

Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (1994), define collaborative learning as, "The instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning"

And what is the effect of collaborative learning?

Felder and Brent (1996) state that when using cooperative (team-based) learning properly with college students, "This approach enhances motivation to learn, retention of knowledge, depth of understanding, and appreciation of the subject being taught" (p. 43).

It is true for me, take one of my group work in college as an example. The course is Consumer Psychology, and we are required to work as a team to create a program for a company (this company can be existed or not) to reflect what we have learned. Usually our group only has 4-5 people, but that class was a huge class, almost have 150 people in total. So my group ended with 8 people and I was the group leader. At first I am so worried how we can work and what project should we work on. But later when we had our first meeting, I am not that worried. One of our group member is an “idea machine”, she would have an idea every 10 minutes, and at last we have to stop her to be so active! She motivated us a lot! After we decided what project we need to work on, then I assigned each person with the article she(BTW, no boys in our group) has to read come up with a better idea next time! Finally we finished our work only within a week! So our group work is really efficient and effective.

That group work I mentioned above happened when I was a junior, back at I was a freshman, group work is really killing me! Why? There is a essay really speaks of my voice from my heart!
Felder and Brent (1996), commenting on the issue of students disliking group work, state, "It is much harder work, trying to figure out answers in a collective context. Students need to understand that solid research evidence supports the efficacy of this approach to learning. Moreover, good group skills are a requirement for success in more and more professional contexts" (p. 45). These group skills have to be learned, however, and the classroom is a good place to begin this type of training.

So I did learn all the collaborative skill in classroom!

But when I came to USA, I found that another journey began, without the same learning experience and with different cultural background, collaborative learning is not what I experienced before, I still got a long way to go!

1.Felder, M., & Brent, R. (1996). Navigating the bumpy road to student-centered instruction. College Teaching 44(2), 43-47.
2.Johnson, W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. H. (1994). The nuts and bolts of cooperative learning. Edina, MN: Interaction Book.


Mobile Learning

That was such a memorable night for us to have a video conference with Dr. Paul Kim. Of course, thanks to Olgun timely finding the voice button, I could hear Dr. Paul Kim so clearly, and grasped the nuggets of his wisdom; at least, I hope so.
Here is the 5 points I think I really
1. How should we teach students? We should remember telling is not teaching, students should be the center of learning.
Then it reminds me of 2 teachers of mine.
In my high school, I had an English teacher who is really hard working teacher. She picked up every important phrases for us when she reading newspaper or watching TV. She always read it for us and we need to take notes. She also chose a lot of examination papers for us to finish, after that we would go through the paper carefully to learn from our mistakes. Honestly, I did learn a lot during this process. But the important thing is I am not happy during this process, I always feel exhausted and I need to spend a lot of time to memorize all the English words.
The second teacher is from my junior middle school, she is a math teacher. She always held some “contests” during our class. How did she do that? Every time when she finished teaching us new knowledge, she would put some questions on the blackboard, we voluntary choose the question we feel most comfortable to answer. Most of the questions were answered by the students who sit in the back of our class(They performed inactively in other classes) To be honest, I did perform inactively in that class, because I really felt shy to do the math puzzle in front of the whole class. However, I was really enjoying the class. I learned so much from my peers, both for their unique way to solve some problems and their mistakes when they perform in front of the whole class. In that class, I also leaned so much.
Here I am not criticizing the approach my high school English adopted; it is also an effective way for students to learn. However, like Dr. Kim told us “Giving everything in a confined time is no good students”; why not let students try hands on the new knowledge.
2. By using some different approaches, students might be more interested in learning. Like when we are afraid of children might get bored about those mobile devices for them, Dr. Kim told us they seems enjoy it so much.
3. The reality is always not we would ever imagine. Sometimes we worried about whether this approach can motivate students. But in the real world, the students even won’t have a chance to go to school. Like Dr. Kim shared with us, the vagrants don’t want their children to have some advanced education. So after that, Dr. Kim and his teach came with an idea, pay for the family $1 a day if they send their children to school.
4. We should always think about the culture difference. Some common things may cause troubles to students. I remembered once we had class the teacher use a scenario about 800 phone services, but it is so hard for me to catch it. When I got the meaning, we already moved on. So Dr. Kim their team noticed it and put a lot of local common things in their mobile device.
5. They also pay attention to the blind children, they developed several audio mobile device.
In the ending of this blog, I think I will quote what Dr. Paul Kim shared with us:
“The future is here; it’s just not widely distributed, yet
- William Gibson
The future is not widely distributed. Therefore, it is not here, yet
- Paul Kim”
I think since we all have some picture about our learning future, it will be here soon.

More than games

I like games, but I am not a gamer. When I wrote these words down, it seemed a little bit controversy to me, then I googled it. In Wikipedia, the term "gamer" usually referred to someone who played role-playing games and wargames. More recently, the term has grown to include players of video games. Meanwhile, the term “game” is a structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. To me, the definition for game is broader than gamer. Then I guess the reason why I feel that I am not a gamer lies about here. Like that night, Dr. Bonk asked us to work in team to write down our 5-10 points, posted on the wall, then explained to your audience who might be interested in your findings. Of course, when it is your turn to be the audience, you can choose to hear anyone’s findings that might interest you. All the process is an educational game, but were we “gamers”? Well, it is hard to say; probably I will use learners instead of gamers.
Speak of educational game, I knew there are some educational games before this class,, but I never had a chance to see how it works. And in week 11, Dr. Toh gave an excellent speech about her team designing a game for students in Thailand to study English. All I experienced from my life was that parents were extremely terrified of games, even when their children entered college. There are reasons why they feel worried; I’ve seen a lot bad consequences when some of my friends addicted to online games. They had trouble to pass their CETs (College English Test) in China, they even couldn’t successful graduate from university because they cannot earn enough credits.

However, as I reading “why virtual world can matter”, I realized games provide us with another aspect to think about our tradition learning.
But first, we should be clear about the definition of virtual worlds.
In this article, virtual worlds are defined as “present, avatar-based social spaces that provide players or participates with the ability to engage in long-term, joint coordinated action”
So what principle can we learn from games?
1. Instead of knowing knowledge, we should apply what we have learned.
As Cook and Brown said, “Knowledge in action”, players are not simply require knowing, but also applying their knowledge into action, games involved players work together to tackle problems, practice their skills. I think it conform to Bloom’s taxonomy, first knowing knowledge, and then apply your knowledge.
2. “Learning about” to “learning to be”
“Learners, it is assumed, first learn about something and then evolve into learning to be. But in game, gamers are engaged in an initial process of learning to be (learning to be their character in this case) and have been shown mechanism from getting assistance should they need help in learning about a particular task or ability.”
It sound irrational to use this method into teaching, but in my opinion, teacher can sometimes use this method. For example, when teaching pre-service teacher technology integration, we may show what technology can help them in the future teaching. So instead of teaching knowledge first, we are showing them future first!