Volume 11, Issue 4     Editorial (2)
Online Learning An online teacher mentioned “Web 2.0” to me two years ago. I had not heard the expression but soon found it that it means a second generation of web applications allowing interactivity from participants rather than read-only websites. The phrase was first used by Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media, at a web conference in 2004. This concept is certainly apt. Much of online learning takes place by interactive applications such as blogs, wikis, and course management systems (Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, or eCollege, to mention a few). This issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly contains a number of articles focusing on ways to use Web 2.0 applications in online instruction. Ekaterina Nemtchnova, an associate professor at Seattle Pacific University, has written an excellent article titled “Increasing Collaboration with Blog and Wiki.” Blogs (a shortened version of “web logs”) and wikis (a noun referring to collaborative websites) are useful tools for engaging students collaboratively. With imagination and creativity, an instructor may use these tools to build a community among his or her students. The students share their ideas as the instructor observes and occasionally provides feedback. Laura Talabere, a nursing professor at Capital University, discusses the helpful uses of Blackboard in her article “Using Blackboard to Augment Classroom Teaching.” Attaching course management systems to face-to-face classroom instruction is an aid to traditional delivery. Blackboard supplementation encourages students to share their ideas and to grow as a community both online and on campus. Gokhan Gercek and Naveed Saleem, professors at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, have written in their article titled “Environmental Factors in Small Business Computing” that the computing infrastructure of businesses, especially that of small businesses, is crucial to the success of information systems within organizations. Business majors taking courses in computer literacy must be made aware of the importance of community-building applications within their companies. Jowati Juhary, a lecturer in communications technology at the National Defence University of Malaysia, follows this concept of enhancing organizational skills by discussing in his article “Online Strategies for Military Cadets” the significance of online instructional techniques for military cadets. Few organizations require more community building than the military, and certain online strategies explained in Juhary’s article help the cadets achieve this goal. The above are just a few of the excellent articles on Multimedia, E-Learning, or Online Learning in this Winter 2007 issue. The contributors have offered their readers a varied range of digital literacy methods which can enhance teaching. They are practitioners of the Web 2.0 revolution defined by O’Reilly and are using their knowledge to help not only their students but also their colleagues. Enjoy this issue and implement the new ideas recommended by the authors.Dr. Ben Varner
Professor of English at University of Northern Colorado
CFP for the next ONLINE issue Online Learning Winter 2008.