Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning 2nd Edition

Terry Anderson's second edition of his book on the Theory and Practice of Online Learning is now out. This is an excellent resource for learning about online learning. And it is available as a free e-book.

If you are teaching a course about online learning, you may want to consider using this as your textbook. Students can buy the hard-copy if they wish or they can save the dollars and download it.

Terry Anderson is a Professor in the Centre of Distance Education at Athabasca University and he holds a Canadian Research Chair in Distance Education. Click here to go to his online portfolio. Terry also posts to a blog or two. Check out his Virtual Canuck Blog at

Saturday, May 24, 2008

10 Trends to Watch

10 Trends in e-Learning that are worth watching.

  1. Cloud Computing

    1. Sub Notebooks based on Linux that are primarily designed for cloud computing.

    2. Cloudo where your desktop is online.

    3. Storage on Websites is cheaper. You can get 125 GB for $10 a month


    4. Google, Yahoo and MSN for online computing

      1. 6.7 GB of email space in

      2. Online Offices


        2. or


      3. Notebook and sharing


      4. Calendars


  2. Communications -

    1. Email effectiveness is decreasing. As a communication channel it is clogging up with volume and spam.

    2. The server load to filter spam is becoming enormous.

    3. RSS Feeds and readers could become a second channel of communicating but it still have low acceptance.

    4. Instant Messaging is not taking over yet.

  3. Social Networking is growing.

    1. Using social networking to enhance learning is emerging with significant potential –

    2. The central principles are very interesting.

      1. The learning is in control of their postings and how has access to them. Personal Learning Networks.

      2. Centralizing on lifelong learning journals

      3. Wiki like technologies are maturing into full power collaboration tools for

        1. Writing

        2. Calendaring

        3. project management and coordination

        4. Content Repositories and Knowledge Management system.

    3. Second Life and simulated learning environments.

        1. Symposium on virtual environments in biology, medicine and history.

  4. FOSS

    1. Technologies that are developed and maintained by large communities of users and not vendors.

      1. Open Office is becoming a real alternative. -

    2. Tools like Drupal and Joomla that allow for very powerful online learning environments to be developed and used. - or

      1. Based on Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP platforms.

    3. First emergence of Linux based commercially availability personal computers with only free software on them.

      1. Expansion of the One Laptop per Child initiatives.

      2. Royal Bank giving them away.

    4. Older and more mature systems are becoming too large and unwieldy and difficult to maintain and keep nimble.

      1. Blackboard is one and Windows is another example.

      2. $500 laptops where Windows license is about half of that. and MS Office is about the same.

      3. Windows is bogging down with Virus, spyware and firewall security

  5. Open Content movements

    1. More and more expertise is being shared for free.

    2. Creative Commons Movement

    3. MIT, OU UK and my other PS institutions are sharing their course content with the public.

    4. Electronic libraries and books being available to public for free.

  6. Portable Apps and PC

    1. USB Memory flash drives now 8 GB and affordable.

    2. USB Hard Drives pocket up to 250 GB – Put your whole life on it and carry it in your pocket.

    3. USB Not pocket size 1 TB and affordable.

    4. Open Office and other apps that can run from a USB drive and

      1. Portable Apps Linux coming soon. or

  7. Smart Phones

    1. Personal Media Players, Cameras, PDA and merging with Cell Phones

      1. Dell stopped making their pocket computers.

      2. Smart phones are emerging as significant players

  8. e-Learning authoring tools are more sophisticated and affordable.

    1. Authorware 12 years about was $3000 now there is eXe for free and Captivate for $500.

    2. eXe request less time in training and free

    3. MS giving one away.

  9. Generation of learners that have grown up with computers, computer games, the Internet.

    1. My 6 year old is already using Webkins.

    2. Other online metaverses like

      1. Second Life

      2. World of War Craft and many more.

      3. The Sims

      4. What are they learning in these environment?

      5. How do they find learning in school?

  10. Time shortage

    1. Everyone is so busy

    2. 5 Minute presentations

    3. Little time for reflections

    4. Greater demands on instructors and learners.

      1. Multitasking

      2. Scope of knowledge required is growing.

    5. Connectivity to knowledge is becoming more important than knowing the knowledge.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Royal Bank Giving Away Free Computers

I have blogged about the new ASUS Eee PC computers before on this blog site and I am still really enjoying the one I purchased. I am watching for the arrival of the new model with the 9 inch screen and 20 GB hard drive, due any month now.

But this week I discovered that the Royal Bank is giving the 2G Surf models away for free is you switch over to one of their accounts. Click here to check it out. So now you can get one for free and try it out.

I recommend that you get one of these low end models and if you do like it, buy the 8G or 900 models as they have the memory you will need. Then give the 2G Surf to a child as they make great computers for children.


Monday, May 05, 2008

26 Learning Games to Change the World

Check this out. 26 learning games that are designed to change the world. And most of them are free to use.