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Global Communications in a Graduate Course on Online Education at the University of Tsukuba - page 20 / 30





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Wimba audioconference function including written chat. The Wimba audioconferencing function is not as impressive as that of HorizonLive, but after this course the two companies merged, combining their strengths in synchronous (HorizonLive) and asynchronous (Wimba) Internet voice technologies. For EFL, video is not so necessary; voice is most important. So integrating voice technologies into WebCT is especially useful for language teaching.

Course feedback and concluding remarks

This article has focused on reporting certain technical and practical aspects of conducting a course on online education in Japan utilizing global communications. The concepts brainstormed in class, charted in Appendix 1, along with intercultural, pedagogical, and disciplinary issues are treated in other articles published since 2004 that can be accessed at the author’s online library: http://www.waoe.org/steve/epublist.html

Since Japanese self-expression tends to be understated, avoiding extremes, their glowing reports in Appendix 2 (translated version) or Appendix 3 (original Japanese) bode well for the future of online education in Japan. To paraphrase the saying attributed to Confucius, they did not just receive a loaf of bread (informational course content) but learned how to fish (online learning technologies, skills and strategies to use from then on), so they expressly looked forward to further empowering themselves as learners and teachers with online education.

Besides the reports included hereinafter, there was all the preserved class work such as individual student reports and their messages posted in the online media. Here is an example transcribing exactly what a graduate student said by means of the Wimba Voice Board. A specific goal of the course was for students to construct knowledge of how online education could be applied to TEFL in Japan.

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