VOL. 06, NO. 2; MARCH


Current Online Challenges in Education

Roberto Evans


My discussion will note some of the educational concerns about the quality of today’s online degree programs. Relevant instructional advice will be given on how to enhance the teaching and learning process.

Participation forum evaluation: Quality search

Mitchell Powell


The flexibility that e-learning offers and the growing maturity of e-learning management systems has led to a rapid growth in the acceptance of e-learning as a method of delivering educational and vocational training. The use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools, and in particular asynchronous discussion forums, as a means of promoting communication and a collaboration between e-learning participants has led to a growing interest by the academic and training community in the pedagogical value of such tools.

This paper looks at the role of asynchronous discussion forums in e-learning and attempts to address the issue of the quality of interaction of discussion forum participants. A number of measurement models are investigated and two of them are used to assess the quality of forum contribution for students participating in a first year undergraduate degree course. The paper concludes by attempting to identify areas where the models could be improved and discusses areas for future study.

The paper will be of interest to those who are involved in delivering e-learning courses and who would like to use discussion forums as a possible assessment tool. It would also be of value to learners who choose to enroll in distance learning courses and who are asked to participate in assessed discussion forum debate.

Key words: e-learning, collaboration, discussion forums, content analysis, cognitive communication.

Open Public Commonwealth Support System (PCSSODE)

Christian Graham


With the rapid grows of online education in China, the student support and education management of distance learning center have faced big challenges. OPEN Public Commonwealth Support System of Distance Learning (PCSSODE) aims at supplying distance education provider and student professional services as a way to supplement the quality assurance system by setting up a franchise system based on CRTVU system employing satellite transmission and web technology. The ongoing pilot project reached milestone of service 15000 students and 13 Universities by now. The idea of OPEN PCSSODE has potential educational benefits but will need time to verify.

Developing websites for courses in higher education – some pedagogical aspects

Kent Swanson


This paper discusses the benefits that may be derived from a course web site that accompanies a lecture-based course given in higher education institutions. The organizational and operational issues are presented first, following by a discussion of pedagogical aspects. Three pedagogical issues related to course web sites are discussed in detail – active learning, computerized feedback, and the effects on learning of using multimedia. Some findings, based on collected data and the authors’ experiences, are also presented and discussed. The conclusions are that the advanced technology exists but it seems that instructors in higher education still tend to build course web sites that underutilize the technology’s potential. On the other hand, using technology simply because it is there does not assure effective learning. Technology must be a means – not the aim. The pedagogical considerations and the ways of using the technology to achieve the pedagogical benefits are what is important.