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Global Communications in a Graduate Course on Online Education at the University of Tsukuba - page 23 / 30





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Copying Web pages into Word documents will prove to be extremely useful even after this course. 10:30 Activities From Prof. McCarty’s home page <www.waoe.org/steve> we logged into [the Portland] WebCT, and from its home page accessed the syllabus, calendar, etc., to grasp a summary of the course. We were guided to the main Web pages to be used [including setting a browser bookmark or favorite] and how to operate the basic functions of the programs used. After that we heard an introduction of the mentors while viewing their home pages. At that point, with the mentors’ home pages as a reference, we made our own home pages. Impressions Rather than being suddenly hit with high-level content, we were guided step-by-step through basic Internet functions and can recall almost no difficulties in learning. It was the first time for almost all of us to make a home page, so a bit of confusion was observed at first, but by the second half of the session everyone was used to the functions, including some useful tips, and had arrived at their own home pages with unique characteristics. [The Student Home Pages function of WebCT lets them design a page of the site with a simple HTML editor. To include photos of them, the instructor had them take photos of each other with their Internet-enabled mobile phones with a camera function, then attach the photos to an e-mail message sent to the instructor’s Web mail based in the U.S., which the instructor accessed from a computer in the classroom. The digital photo GIF graphic files were then passed to students on a disk, and the students uploaded them to the WebCT site in the U.S. The instructor then asked them to think of exactly where the data had travelled throughout that process, in which wireless and trans-oceanic electronic transmissions had been nearly instantaneous]. 11:30 Lunch Prof. McCarty had lunch with us and was joking about noodles here vs. where he lives. Although it was the first day there was an extremely frank atmosphere. [Only this day’s lunch is reported. While the instructor alternated English and Japanese with them socially, students complained that their professors taught about English all in Japanese and were remote. Whereas online education aims to bridge physical separation psychologically, an unapproachable professor at the podium in the f2f classroom may constitute a more unbridgeable form of distance education]. 12:30 We experienced the Wimba Voice Board. It is a kind of BBS with sound, but written messages can be included. Prof. McCarty recommended that a written summary of our message could help before recording our voices. We all did that in answering questions on 1) our previous knowledge of online education in Japan or elsewhere before we found out about this class, 2) why we were interested in taking this subject, and 3) after starting this course, what ideas we had about how online education could be applied to TEFL in Japan or to our future studies and work. [This data is available to be transcribed, but because of space limitations, only some statements by students later in the course can be cited]. 15:00 From Prof. McCarty’s home page we followed links to Websites according to our interests. We found out about sites for machine translation between English and Japanese, for checking our English grammar, and students continually expressed amazement, particularly that the sites were free. [During and after class the instructor could advise students on Websites for their individual needs as well].

2/17, Day 2. 9:00-10:00 [There was a different writer for each day.] Activities Eight students were present to log in. We were introduced to the upcoming chat [with mentors abroad]. Impressions For most students it was the first time to chat, and we looked forward to the start of it with anticipation. 10:00-11:30 The chat theme was “What is Online Education?” There were eight of us students, Prof. McCarty and three mentors. Besides defining online education, its problems (compared to f2f classes) and issues when introducing it into Japan were actively discussed in writing. Impressions We could not keep up with all the messages. Sometimes a response was separated from the original message. But participants mentioned people’s login names at the beginning of a response to make it easy to follow, so we could find the responses

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