2011, Volume 2

2011, Volume 2

The 2nd edition of the eJournal contains articles from the major higher education institutes in the UAE. Included were project based articles that reflect various experiences of teachers and their valuable research. As always, the eJournal continued to try and be a platform for UAE educators and the training community to share experiences, strategies and research findings in the areas of Educational Technology and eLearning.


Table of Contents

Virtual International Experiences

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In an attempt to increase our students’ global awareness, Dubai Women’s College has implemented a program of Virtual International Experiences in a variety of forms. Since our first year students are not eligible for participation in real travel to another country, four models of Virtual International Experiences were developed, implemented and evaluated using: Second Life; Elluminate; e-classroom; and JAM’s and video conferences. These offered opportunities for the Arab women students to converse with, share ideas and critical reflections with students from other countries. Students discussed a range of global issues, in particular the Global Financial Crisis and its impact on Dubai. This study gives an overview, rationale for the models, and a review of evaluations from a student and teacher perspective.

Evolving Portfolios

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Electronic portfolios can be an effective tool in a learning environment, but are still not established practice in many contexts. The authors investigate barriers to adoption and describe their own experience to illustrate how portfolios can evolve. Recommendations are provided for effective implementation of a new portfolio process.

Education in the 21st Century

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Europe cannot face the global ICT challenge in isolation. Knowledge has evolved at a speed that academic centers have not been prepared for it, university diplomas no longer give a guarantee for the future, communications media are taking the role of knowledge sharing, production of knowledge is global, although globalization also separates the world. Universities are key actors in the transition to the knowledge society. It is crucial that we consider how best we can adapt and strengthen educational polices to help us in this transition.

A Digital Dinosaur who Dares

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Many colleges have plenty of hardware and software, yet lack two vital resources – teacher confidence and relevant e-workshops. Teachers are afraid to introduce new technology as they do not want to feel incompetent or stressed or waste valuable time when they are not confident and unable to troubleshoot. The majority of teachers at HCT are over fifty years of age: Prensky (2009) would classify us as digital immigrants as opposed to our students who are supposedly digital natives.

Educational Technology at the United Arab Emirates University

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Educational Technology embodies the application of scientific knowledge and skills for practical, educational purposes and creatively combines elements from a broad spectrum of disciplines including psychology, sociology, learning theory and information technology. In everyday practice, educational technology involves the identification, mastery and application of strategically selected tools and techniques to promote effective teaching and enhance learning.

Using Rapid Prototyping for Online Learning Materials Design

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With technology playing an increasingly important role in the learning environment, educators are under pressure to provide, in a timely fashion, their students with more interactive, online learning materials. Fortunately, there is a range of easy-to-use authoring packages that allow educators to do this. However, the downside to this ability to author materials quickly is that it may result in learning activities being produced that have glossed over or even skipped some key stages in the design process. This need not be the case as using frameworks such as Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and rapid prototyping can ensure that pedagogicallysound online materials can be produced quickly. This article aims at showing how this can be done. First, the ISD model, rapid-prototyping and Gagne’s (1985) theory of instruction are outlined. Then, there is a detailed discussion on how the above three concepts have been applied to a set of online learning materials designed and developed for my students.

Beyond the Virtual Seminar

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There is a need for all types of professional development (PD) but the opportunities for teachers to take advantage of face-to-face meetings, workshops etc. is fast diminishing.

Increasing Effectiveness in Online Interactive Teaching and Learning Materials

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The creation of non-linear online interactive teaching and learning materials is problematical for a variety of reasons, particularly in a second-language context. It is essential that such materials address learner needs and concerns, particularly in terms of a sense of cultural appropriateness, a reduced lexical set, content complexity, opportunities for revision, and resources and controls that enable learners to have the autonomy to structure and pace their learning. This paper documents an approach that includes video demonstration, interactive scenario and simulation-based learning customized for a particular audience: Emirati women pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Applied Media Studies who are studying aspects of web development. While the teaching and learning materials developed in this project are particularly appropriate for delivery of technical aspects of software training to students of an ethnically homogenous oral culture, the model and techniques developed can be extrapolated to a wide variety of audiences to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning materials for a broad range of topics.

Institutional Readiness and Adoption of Instructional Technologies

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The increasing presence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in educational environments has accelerated changes in the teaching and learning methodologies, academic processes and evaluation, invoking the need for apt adoption and adaptation approaches. In terms of institutional management this also implies building faculty and staff readiness in addition to possible alterations in educational systems. This paper aims to provide an understanding of the cause and consequences of changes related to the inculcation of instructional technologies as ICT enabled education and provide a review of existing research in the relevant area.