E-‐Learning Applications: Enhancing education and interaction for online communities of practice
Cheryl D. Seals, Auburn University
E-learning is becoming an increasingly important teaching and learning method in educational institutions to provide broader access to quality of courses in many disciplines. In this poster, I will describe a few computing applications that have been created improve the work practice of different populations (4-H, K-12 Teacher Education, introductory computer programming and mathematics). We design, develop and test applications to determine instructional potential and improve the design and interaction style, which improves the usability for a population with the goal of universal usability. We create educational applications that are used by communities of practice to support e-Learning and online education.
One of the projects, I will discuss in this poster is the Digital Badges project is to promote learning across many content areas in 4-H and across other communities and institutions. In order to accomplish the above said goal a means of supporting a badge system is needed. 4-H Digital Badges is a website which allows learners to earn badges through a cloud based content management system. In addition, there will be different levels of permissions for adult facilitators with different privileges to supervise the learning/earning process. Adult badges are under development and all users are provided a secure account, to access their badges and to earn new badges. The process of earning badges in the 4-H system will vary from automatic issuance upon completion of requirements specified for the badge to review and approval of work submitted as per the requirements of a badge. A Digital badge is an online record of achievements, such as completion of an exam based on a particular skill. An existing problem with e-learning is that inability to share resources directly on the Internet based on content being created in many different mediums. We are aiming to utilize Cloud Computing as potential solution to this problem by providing a sharable e-learning cloud platform. This helps people to personalize their online environments, which help customization based on their interest.
Project two is related to delivering foundational computer science courses, especially in K-12 education. While enrollment in high school STEM courses have increased substantially, the percentage of high school students who take Computer Science is lower now than it was decades ago. Outreach efforts have begun to overcome this gap. We are supporting The Beauty and Joy of Computing Project (funded by NSF CS10-K program) that aims to train 10000 computing teachers in computing across the United States. We are collaborating to build an educational platform with effective and engaging new high school curricula in computing and getting that curriculum into high school classrooms through digital simulations, video tutorials, and educational gaming application. This project hopes to encourage larger numbers of students to pursue careers.
Project three is Spectrum Educational Consulting and with this application we have build online educational simulations to support pre-‐service teacher trainers. This application is used in the classroom to reinforce classroom management practices for undergraduate teacher education students.
Background Review Article:
Brad A. Myers. "A Brief History of Human Computer Interaction Technology." ACM interactions. Vol. 5, no. 2, March, 1998. pp. 44-54.