Category Archives: Distance Education

Directory of Tools for eLearning

Jane Hart, from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, has compiled a very complete and helpful directory of tools for eLearning.

There are currently 3,141 tools catalogued, and 2,381 of those are FREE!

You won’t be overwhelmed because the site is well-organized. Even if you are not involved in distance education, you will find some helpful tools to make your teaching/life more productive. Check it out!

Jane also has several blogs worth following. For example, Social Media In Learning or Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day.

You can also follow Jane on Twitter: @C4LPT

Tim Bulkeley on “Degrees of Presence” in Distance Education

Tim Bulkeley, Tyndale Carey Graduate School, was one of the presenters in the SBL session on Distance Education. His comments about Degrees of Presence are applicable to anyone teaching a distance course. He’s placed on his blog his notes in a few posts, which I’ve linked to below. I’ve also placed the links on my SBL 2009 Pedagogy page for continued reference.

More links for SBL Distance Learning session

I’ve updated my SBL 2009 Pedagogy page with the following links from Taylor Halverson:

Taylor Halverson, Brigham Young University
Effective Uses of Discussion Forums for Biblical Studies Courses at a Distance (20 min)

Taking the Distance Out of Distance Education

Today I was one of the presenters in the following session:

22-201 Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies
11/22/2009 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM Room: Studio 9 – MR
Theme: Distance Learning: How to teach traditional topics in a non-traditional format

I’ve posted links to some of the resources mentioned in my portion of session below. An updated list (including material from the other presenters) will be kept on the SBL 2009 Pedagogy page of my blog. Check back again to find more material as we (the five presenters) update the links.

Online Tools:

  • Moodle: Open Source community-based tools for learning
  • Elluminate: web, audio, video, and social networking solutions for teaching, learning, and collaborating
  • LearnCentral: social learning network for education, sponsored by Elluminate

A few of the tools mentioned by Brooke Lester:

  • Wetpaint: A site solely for creating wikis
  • Diigo: Social bookmarking, highlighting, and commenting of web pages.
  • Netvibes: Bringing feeds to a central location from blogs, from wikis, from Diigo, from Twitter, from Yahoo Pipes, and so on.
  • Yahoo Pipes: Grouping, filtering, ordering RSS feeds from anywhere.

Check his resource page for more links and tutorials to use these resources.

Notes from the road: Days 3 & 4

It’s been a whirlwind of activity here in Grand Rapids. Our consultation came to an official end this afternoon, and then we had a terrific dinner at the home of one of hosts. We had a Brazilian BBQ (the meat just kept coming) and Brazilian side dishes (that I can’t remember how to pronounce) followed by Dutch dessert (our hosts were Dutch, but had lived in Brazil for 15 years and 4 of the attendees were from São Paulo). Languages at the table: Dutch, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans, and a tiny bit of English.Tomorrow I leave early in the morning to drive back to Chicago and then fly to New Orleans. Then the SBL circus begins!

So, what exactly have I been doing in Grand Rapids? Well, the short description is that I was invited (at the request of my advisor, Christo van der Merwe) to participate in a three-day Consultation on Bible Software in the Classroom and Pastorate. There were approximately 20 attendees. All stakeholders, but from different vantage points. Some were data producers, some software designers, others professors, and still others represented “real world” situations in the pastorate. There were representatives from four continents. No final answers or results came out of this time, rather it was the opening of a discussion and an assessment of the needs, tools, methods, and future of digital biblical tools. In addition, relationships were forged, ideas exchanged, and experiences demonstrated. It was a privilege for me to be able to participate.

I think we are still contemplating the content of our discussions, so it may be a bit before I post any real reflections from these three days. However, I do think that the fruit of the consultation should be shared more broadly, and receive input and contributions from others. Stay tuned!

Kids learning Hebrew

Hebrew quizThis is a quiz from 7-year-old Éva. I dictated the names of Hebrew letters and she wrote them down, except for #3, which asked the question, “What sound does בּ make?” She’s doing a terrific job learning Hebrew this year. She can identify all the Hebrew characters by name, tell you what sound they make, and write them all. She can put a set of letters in alef-bet order. She knows some vocabulary and will soon start sounding out and pronouncing words. I hope she keeps this up for the rest of her life. Just think what an advantage she will have!

Oh, and did I mention that I’m teaching her (and her brother) via the internet? We’re using Google video-chat and an eLearning classroom. Her mom scanned her quiz and emailed it to me. I love technology.


Technology in the Classroom: Not always what you think

A.K.M. Adam (on his blog AKMA) pointed out the article from Inside Higher Education which reported a study about technology in the classroom.

Campus Technology, likewise, has an article discussing the report. Read their summary here.

The surprising (really??) result is that faculty think they do a great job and students don’t think their profs do such a great job. That is not the only disparate pair. IT departments and faculty don’t see eye to eye about how the other handles their role in technology in the classroom.

But as LeVar Burton might say, “you don’t have to take my word for it.” Go read the report yourself.

To download the actual report and draw your own conclusions, go here.

Wanted: YOUR Distance Learning Experiences (Students and Teachers)

I’d like to get some feedback about (Undergrad/Grad level) Distance Learning. I’d like to hear from both those who have taught distance education classes and those who have taken distance education classes.

I hope to get as much information as possible, so please direct folks to this post and ask them to help by leaving their own experiences in the comments.

If for some reason, you have experiences you would prefer to keep private, please email me: and I will keep your comments confidential.

I will make this easy. Just 2 questions.

1. What did you like most about the distance learning course that you took/taught? Please avoid the obvious answers: “I didn’t have to be on campus” or “I could do it at my own pace/time.” Instead, think about how the teacher-student(s) interaction worked, the user interface, or options that worked better online than in a classroom.

2. What did you dislike (i.e. what really drove you crazy?) about the distance education course? You can be specific to a particular class, or to the entire experience (or both).

Please include in your comment if you were a student or a teacher. Feel free to add more comments, suggestions, etc.

Thank you for helping!