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Syracuse iSchool celebrates National Distance Learning Week
More than one million K-12 students and nearly four million college students enroll in online courses each year, and those numbers are expected to rise, according to reports by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Sloan-C.
In celebration of National Distance Learning Week 2009, the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) is unveiling new Web resources for the University community, its peers, and the general public to promote and support online teaching and learning.
The iSchool has created a website, http://ischool.syr.edu/ndl, which features:
- Syracuse Sampler (http://blogs.iis.syr.edu/sampler/),a blog that provides free online access to select multimedia lectures, presentations and technology tutorials from iSchool experts on topics ranging from administration and management, to gaming and innovation;
- OrangeLearner (http://orangelearners.wordpress.com), a blog administered by iSchool online students that discusses distance student life and issues of interest to online students;
- iSchool Online Publications, for quick access to academic and scholarly publications related to online education created by iSchool faculty and staff; and
- online learning tips and online student resources.
“By sharing our resources and experience, and encouraging others to do the same, we hope to promote excellence in online education and to provide a forum where educators can learn from one another,” says Katie Schisa, chair of the iSchool’s Task Force on Online Education and director of the Web-based Information Science Education Consortium.
“Online course resources are becoming part of the 21st-century student’s online universe,” says Peggy Brown, iSchool director of instructional design. “A course website is now often a stop along the path from Facebook to email to Google, all accessed from an iPhone or a laptop for on-the-go learning. Students are entering undergraduate and graduate programs with greater expectations of how technology will be used to enhance their educational experience, and institutions including Syracuse University are striving to meet these expectations.”
The iSchool has been offering exceptional online education since 1993, and today all of the school’s fully accredited graduate programs can be completed online. The iSchool annually offers more than 80 online courses to some 1,250 graduate students from 33 different states and five different countries.
In addition to the benefits for courses offered completely online, educational technology enables instructors to enrich campus-based courses with anytime/anywhere access to multimedia materials and online discussions. A 2009 DOE report notes that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face interactions.” Such studies show why the iSchool, like many others, is supplementing campus-based courses with online resources.
The U.S. Distance Learning Association will be hosting a series of free webinars on various online learning issues. For more information or to access an archive of previous webinars, visit http://www.usdla.org/.