This case study is based on the process that one team of technical communicators used to create an online science course—for a company that had not previously offered online courses. The team developed, created, and implemented the course, Language and the Brain, in just two and a half months.
The Education and Research Professional Interest Committee is sponsoring this day-long Train-the-Trainers post-conference workshop in response to the increasing emphasis that business and government are placing on lifelong learning and continuing education. The workshop explores the natural affinities that exist between the disciplines of adult education and technical communication, and offers technical communicators a unique professional development opportunity. The workshop demonstrates, through a mix of lecture, questionanswer sessions, and small group activities, that technical communicators can derive specific, tangible benefits from a grounding in the theory and practice of adult education.
Lectures play a vital role in teaching. There will always be a place for lectures in the curriculum -- to give technical material or factual information, to provide structure to material or an argument, to display a method or example of how one thinks in a given field, or even to inspire and motivate students to explore further. At the same time, it often enhances both your presentation of the material and students’ learning when students are able to participate in some way. When students engage actively with material, they generally understand it better and remember it longer.
The usability bootcamp is for developers of information technology products who want to implement low-cost usability assessment and customer-focusing tools to ensure that their product development plans meet unmet business needs and contribute efficiently to an overall enterprise architecture plan.
Although eBooks have not gained the consumer popularity expected by their developers and supporters, they still have a small base. This article explores their use in the education environment.
The term Learning Object, first popularized by Wayne Hodgins in 1994 when he named the CedMA working group 'Learning Architectures, APIs and Learning Objects,' has become the Holy Grail of content creation and aggregation in the computer-mediated learning field. The terms Learning Objects (LOs) and Reusable Learning Objects are frequently employed in uncritical ways, thereby reducing them to mere slogans. The serious lack of conceptual clarity and reflection is evident in the multitude of definitions and uses of LOs. The objectives of this paper are to assess current definitions of the term Learning Object, to articulate the foundational principles for developing a concept of LOs, and to provide a methodology and broad set of guidelines for creating LOs.
Educators have used toys in the classroom for as long as toys have been in existence, especially in the field of elementary education. Toys can provide motivation as well as keep the students focused on a particular area of study for longer periods of time - something students at the elementary level often struggle with. These students need to obtain fundamental skills for creating, disseminating, retrieving, and evaluating information from electronic media. Using robots as toys and teaching tools is a concept that has also been around for quite a while, and a great way to introduce these fundamental skills.
Though not a cure-all for society's ills, the Web is an important medium that is changing the way we work and learn. For graduate education in technical communication, the Web is a new tool that facilitates adult learning through electronic interactive communication. Using the Web as the medium for asynchronous distance learning allows for a high degree of learner exploration and interactivity, without the participants being captive to a particular location and time. In Mercer University's M.S. program in technical communication management, students communicate with each other and with the instructors through a course home page, which provides students with course syllabus, lectures, outlines, assignments, requirements, a listservice, and technical support. All graduate student research assignments are electronic and posted to the course home page on the Net. Additional improvements continue to be made to the electronic learning environment for these graduate courses.
Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan. “PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina.
This paper discusses Industrial and Digital Age educational paradigms, needs, and expectations of adult and traditional learners for Internet-based education; knowledge management and its impact on technical communication; the Universal Campus Network and the nature of Web-based education in the near future; elements for success for Web-based distance education in technical communication; and future directions in electronic communication.
We can borrow teaching techniques from older instructional media. Research on educational television and computer-based training can strengthen web-based technical communication instruction.
One of the ironic things about online help systems is that they are very often not helpful and even increase the user's frustration and stress level. This increased frustration sometimes results in the rejection of the software. One solution is to increase the effectiveness of online help systems by designing them from an instructional design perspective. Some of the things we can provide users include: imperative, task-focused procedures; graphic feedback; access to redundant instructions; links to tutorial practice; philosophical and conceptual explanations for 'why' they are completing specific tasks.
One of the ironic things about online help systems is that they are very often not helpful and even increase the user's frustration and stress level. A consequence of this increased frustration sometimes results in the rejection of the software. One solution is to increase the effectiveness of online help systems by designing them from an instructional design perspective. Some of the things we can provide users include: imperative, task-focused procedures; graphic feedback; access to redundant instructions; links to tutorial practice; philosophical and conceptual explanations for “why” they are completing specific tasks.
Initially, online courses were created by pioneers--self-taught Web site writers comfortable with uncertainty. As Internet-based instruction has become increasingly popular, others are less inclined to struggle with writing their own Web pages but are nonetheless interested in having an instructional Web site. A growing number of course-construction programs are becoming available which could make Internet-based instruction more accessible. Only by addressing both pedagogical and technical issues can evaluation of such course creation products provide information useful for thoughtful and appropriate use of that technology to support and extend traditional pedagogies. This article concludes that creating online instructional sites by hand with the help of an HTML editor is generally preferable to using course-in-a-box software because instructors can select the components needed to support their pedagogy and construct successful learning experiences for their students. On the other hand, the dilemma of faculty intimidated by the technical expertise needed to produce even a basic Web site can be ameliorated by the use of course-in-a-box software. However, that software should be seen only as a stepping stone. Instructional sites created by course-in-a-box software certainly are worthwhile, but the course or site produced by this software remains constrained by its box, even if that box is often commodious.
With books and manuals, users decide what information 1. they want and when they will acquire it. With training materials, however the writer/instructional designer controls the flow of information and the way in which it is presented. To write training materials requires careful consideration of adult learning principles, the possibilities and limitations of presentation media and, for classroom training, the difference between written and spoken language. A training writer also needs to distill from complex concepts the main points that participants will remember after the training.