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> e > review > AL [VER: 20.JAN.05]

Af Jesper Hundebøl — In a 5-page paper submitted for publishing on linqx|dk, professor James Paradiso (JP) of College of Lake County, US, deconstructs asynchronous learning (AL).

In a case study based on deep mining of data from actual online courses held in the 2004, he asks whether or not online students actually "exercise their option, actualize their potential, and capitalize on their opportunity to learni asynchronously: metaphorically 'call(ing) out ...winter, spring, summer, or fall'? Or, in fact, do they learn more synchronously, favoring exclusive times (days, weeks) during the semester?"

The short answer is no. Online students act like cows and follow quite similar patterns: they do like most regular on-site students - they hand in reports just before closing time. However, when they do so online, they apparently do it quite late in the evening, around 22H00. At that time, normally, tutors and the like, have left building.

Case study

In the case of JP's (relatively limited, n=43) pool of students evidence points to the fact that students follow quite similar routines, which gives reason to question, i.a., whether or not technical and academic staff should be available e.g. during ackward peak submission times...

In short, they should, but with only some 40 students there can be no human interaction 24/7. In cyberspace, students immediate concerns can only be met by FAQ's and perhaps, by calling on co-students. They apparently are up and awake - all together now...

Deconstruct AL

Indeed, according to JP, is it time to "deconstruct AL's other reputed pillars: e.g. learning effectiveness, access [some students, like I myself once did, get caught behind fire-walls], affordability for learners and providers and students and faculty satisfaction".

The paper asks more questions than it answers, however, based on empirical data it points to some important issues in AL, in particular whether or not educational staff should be available when students use the online system most?

Time & Space, again

Furthermore, the paper also points another interesting debate about time and space, virtuality and e.g. the issue of ba... Danish speaking readers may find out more about these issues by browsing the theoretical foundations for my paper on "cooperation in virtual networks".

DOC: Deconstruction AL: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? (.doc format)

JP's paper, "Deconstructing AL...", will be presented at a professional conference next month (February 2005) in Chicago; it is likely to be published in the conference Proceedings.

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