A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge  
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future
© SCUP 2003
   
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Tales from the Not-So-Distant Future (continued)

   

Chapter 2

Vignettes from the e-Knowledge Future

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As a case study, the USQ experience exemplifies the institution-wide corporate approach necessary for an organization to become ‘fast, flexible and fluid’ as it strives to develop the capacity to implement fifth generation distance education.

Professor James C. Taylor, 2001

The intelligence and flexibility come from a combination of several factors:

  • using the campus portal to access and personalize institutional processes and resources for learners, faculty, and staff;
  • technology-mediated communication, including automated response systems;
  • knowledge and content management systems that facilitate competency development and tracking; and
  • Internet-based access to Web resources and interactive multimedia (online).

In registering for learning experiences and sequences, learners can select a variety of options, ranging from traditional lecture and seminar formats to online cohorts of 35 learners. This semester, Professor Jackson is moderating two learner cohorts in advanced statistical methods and leading a team of ten tutors who are facilitat ing 20 learner cohorts in introductory statistics. He is also supervising five graduate students — three in China, one in Singapore, and one in Melbourne.

Learning Cohorts and Computer Mediated Communication. All of these cohorts are guided through their studies by interactive navigational tools, setting broad parameters of subject content, and accessing hot-linked Web resources or elements drawn from USQ’s content repository and/or other marketplace options. Interactivity is key to USQ’s pedagogical model. Interactivity among learners and between learners, faculty, and other experts/tutors who serve as mentors is facilitated through USQ’s Computer Mediated Communication (CMC).

 

The CMC enables asynchronous discussion groups formed around learner cohorts and specific content areas, as well as informal social interaction. The CMC is much more than a threaded discussion on steroids. It deploys advanced knowledge management and learner relationship management system tools. The CMC is an essential ingredient in USQs academic enterprise system (AES). The most thoughtful interactions from the AES are structured, synthesized, tagged, and stored in searchable databases. Eventually, the insights in these databases, including differences in the responses from students in different settings, form a rich pedagogical resource.

Content and Knowledge Management Are Central. In 2002, USQ selected WebCT as a strategic partner for several reasons, including WebCT’s strategic commitment to progressively introducing content and knowledge management tools and competencies into learning management systems solutions. Content/knowledge management capabilities have been used at USQ at several critical junctures in developing, experiencing, and supporting learning to:

  • enable faculty to develop new learning objects, klogs of what works in particular learning settings and other learning-related knowledge bits;
  • enable the interjection of just-in-time knowledge, reflecting new development, into existing learning objects;
  • support learners during their learning experiences with AES-facilitated access to explicit and tacit knowledge resources; and
  • keep track of knowledge that learners have experienced, competencies demonstrated, and patterns of interactivity with faculty, mentors, and other sources of expertise.

The following descriptions and supporting schematic illustrate how content/knowledge tools are used in developing learning objects and course materials.

 
  1. USQ faculty, mentors, and other experts create:
    a) learning objects that are contained in learning object repositories and whose metatags are managed through associated content management systems; and
    b) knowledge bits containing insights on context and application, and on the skills and interests of individuals, which are available through knowledge management systems (KMS).

    The KMS also contains syntheses from dialogues from past courses.

  2. Knowledge editors organize this knowledge.

  3. Instructional designers structure learning experiences embedded in courses.

  4. Learners access all of these resources through the AES, learning explicit knowledge directly and using guides to tacit knowledge to contact faculty and other experts.

Focused Interactions with Learners. Professor Jackson has few conversations with his students that are trivial, fundamental, or out-of-context. Student “reflections” are posted on the AES and result in discussions that are typically complex and energetic. Selectively using AES tools, Professor Jackson jumps into the flow of ongoing conversations, guiding the discussion through a AES-provided synthesis of past insights and his own insights. He also uses AES tools to prod and encourage individual learners and to intervene when automated records show learners have not been engaging in the interactivity.

Communities of Reflective Practice on e-Pedagogy. USQ uses communities of reflective practice on e-pedagogy to link its faculty, tutors, mentors, and related experts in advancing their knowledge and the application of effective learning.

         

 

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