Introduction

Literacy with ICT has at least two components. The ability to use web based tools to find resources and information is one set of skills. The other component is basic literacy: putting ideas together and expressing them effectively. Participants in this course will learn to use various web based tools and will use them to develop content. No matter what format is used, clay tablets, double-spaced, bonded paper, or electronic media, the quality of the arguments and ideas is the main interest. As this is a graduate level academic course, there is the expectation that academic standards and protocols be followed. All contributions should show evidence of higher order academic skills, particularly critical thinking, analysis and synthesis of ideas, effectively expressed in written format. Once the argument has been effectively presented and supported, the author must logically extend the argument by analyzing and synthesizing ideas and forming conclusions.

Sources

Evidence based writing is a very specific form of academic writing that involves establishing an argument and then systematically supporting that argument with references to the work of others who have been established as knowledgeable in the field. ‘Established’ usually means that referenced work has been subjected to peer review, published in a peer-reviewed medium and has been deemed worthy and true. References should be from primary sources, as much as possible. Wikipedia is a fabulous resource but it is an encyclopedia and, as such, would not be generally accepted as a primary source. Sources like Wikipedia can certainly be used for preliminary fact gathering, but references should indicate that you have read the primary source. For any circumstances where citing Wikipedia, or any encyclopedia is appropriate, read the recommendations and follow the format found at this link.

Using resources from the Internet


With respect to web based tools for teaching and learning, the field is developing so rapidly that the traditional peer-review process may not provide the most current information. A peer reviewed journal article can take a year or more to be written, submitted, reviewed and distributed. Information is often dated and irrelevant by the time it appears for general consumption. Electronic journals are increasingly becoming the standard for distribution of academic work in this field, greatly improving production time and accessibility. There are many electronic journals dedicated to research into blended and online teaching and learning. Another collection of Journals about eLearning here and here.

Much of the information about new trends and issues in ICT is located on the Internet in various formats but scholars need to have a systematic way to evaluate the quality of online information.
There are many sites and meta-sites dedicated to this topic. Scholars have been developing systems whereby they can affirm the currency, quality and reliability of web-based resources. Literacy with ICT implies the consistent application of a process for evaluating these dimensions for any referenced material. Papers will be examined for evidence of the system that has been applied to evaluate the quality of resources.

Plagiarism

Is a form of academic dishonesty that can have severe consequences. Essentially, it amounts to taking an idea from someone and representing it as your own. The best way to avoid problems with plagiarism is to use an accepted format to cite your sources. Most academic libraries have resources and seminars on appropriate citation practices. Here is an excellent presentation that discusses the topic. A useful rule of thumb is to remember that if you cut and paste you need to cite your source. If you are cutting and pasting from student work you have done for other classes, you still need to acknowledge this and include your previous work in your references as an unpublished document.

Action Research

Even if you do not intend to have your paper published it is useful to be able to frame a research project in a systematic way.
One of the strategies that is often used in Education is Action Research, a simple but very powerful process for guiding systematic inquiry. It is a cyclical process characterized by the processes; plan, act, observe, reflect. Most teachers do this naturally but it is good to be able to articulate and document your activity when considering the implementation of something new in the way of an ICT application or practice. Otherwise, it can be a case of "ready, fire, aim."

A site that I have found to be very good for information about action research is the University of Colorado, College of Education, Action Research Page.
Check out the link to Bob Dick's page on Action Research Resources. Another resource is the Ontario Action Researcher article Action Research:Collecting and analyzing data. (Ryan, 2007)
[1]


Format

The paper for this course should reflect an effort to put ideas together and express them effectively using a web based tool to present the material. The web based tool we will use is the Google Document. Open a Google document and share it with the instructor BEFORE you begin writing. Do all your work for this paper in the shared Google document. I will be able to follow your progress and provide feedback along the way. A rubric for the grading of your paper has been provided and you will be able to self-evaluate as you work. The length of this paper should be 2000-2500 words (roughly equivalent to 8-10
double-spaced pages with 12 point font).
We will attempt to stay true to the APA format as far as possible, with the difference being that all references will be in the form of links embedded in your document at the point where the reference occurs.You will also provide a References/Cited Works section with references in the APA format.
A great resource for writing in APA format is found at the OWL at Perdue site. They have sections on the various ways to cite electronic resources and links to systems for evaluating online resources.

The APA has published an Style Guide to Electronic References.


Topics

A number of suitable topics for the paper have been proposed in the blog entries of participants. There a preference for topics that address the issue of research into the use of web based tools for teaching and learning. While primary research is not expected, the paper could outline the process whereby a research project could be designed and carried out. Discuss your topic choice in a blog entry on your blog.

Some topics that have been suggested include:

  • Inclusion of technologies already in use by students (cell phones, Facebook, etc.) into the classroom.
  • Creating and supporting a web based community of learners
  • computer supported collaborative learning
  • working around unsupportive IT departments
  • Evaluating the impact of ICT in the classroom.
  • Addressing concerns for privacy and security using web based tools
  • The effect of web logs on student learning
  • The impact of the use of ICT on current and future curriculum
  • Assessment and reward systems for online learning.
  • Building and sustaining momentum in online learning.
  • Voice communication software - VOIP – Evaluating the effect on online learning
  • Evaluating the use of Wikipedia for student research
  • Designing research projects to study the introduction to ICT in K-12. The research questions, data collection, research ethics and analysis.
  • Protocols for balancing technology and face-to-face activities, getting the blend right for blended learning.
  • Return on investment for schools using ICT
  • Bridging the Digital divide and issues of access.
  • Digital citizenship
  • Blocking sites and banning technology or teaching the skills for proper usage.
  • Application of web based multimedia tools for video and audio content.

There are many excellent opportunities to have your papers published in various journals. Let me know if I can point you to a few places.

Option 2: Create a Wikipedia Entry


  1. ^ Ryan, T. G. Action research: Collecting and analyzing data. The Ontario Action Researcher. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www.nipissingu.ca/oar/reports_and_documents-Thomas_G_Ryan%20.htm.