Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Lotus LearningSpace: New Ground

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Lotus LearningSpace: New Ground

Article excerpt

Not that wonderful instructional environments don't already exist. HyperStudio and similar programs serve well in K-12. And e-mail forms the basis for college-and distance-education interaction. But these are largely individual development efforts. Delivering true, "like being there" online courses has not been ready for the mainstream - until now.

Framework for Class

Lotus debuted and demonstrated LearningSpace in October at EDUCOM. LearningSpace is a series of five, interconnected modules that create an interactive, learner-centered class environment online.

Interaction isn't restricted to communication; collaborative, team-based activities are enabled as well. Testing and tracking are another feature.

LearningSpace is, in essence, an automated model for delivering "the best of being there" instruction - anytime and anywhere.

Based on Lotus Notes R4 technology, each module is a Notes database. Notes provides the shared, virtual space. Students or the instructor access it either directly from an IP or other network or, via Notes' database replication technology, from disconnected sources. This is the technical basis for anytime, anywhere learning.

And in early 1997, hosting LearningSpace directly on the Web, for access by Web browsers, will be enabled via Lotus'Domino server technology.

To Know the Modules...

Elegant is the word for the design of LearningSpace. Each module contains a variety of templates, applets and more. Students receive four modules: Schedule, Profiles, Media Center and Course Room. An additional Assessment Manager is for teachers.

* Schedule comprises a course's syllabus, its learning objectives, assignments and deadlines. Students use it to access assigned activities or track personal progress. Exams and surveys are posted here.

* Profiles enables students to post a "home page" with personal data, even a photo, for sharing. This helps class members visualize and "know" one another better.

* Media Center, a key ingredient, offers a library of subject-specific resources, each launched by a click. Nearly anything is supported: video and audio clips, multimedia CDs, URLs off the Internet, CBT tools, etc. - even other applications, AutoCad or Mathematica or any package.

Students can generate annotated versions of MediaCenter content, which may be tied to new discussions or kept private. …

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