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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Using Educator Portals and Vignettes with Adult Online Learners

Using Educator Portals and Vignettes with Adult Online Learners
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Author(s): Maria H. Z. Kish (Consultant, USA) and Josephine Cocian Crame (Consultant, USA)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 4
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch151
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361


Opportunities for success for adult educators in the online learning and teaching environment may be achieved through two different strategies: by the introduction of an educator’s portal via a hybrid online institute and through vignettes in asynchronous discussions. Both strategies take into consideration techniques or methods used effectively approaching the adult learner, acknowledgment of the learner’s prior knowledge and experiences, meeting the participants’ needs, and what is important to facilitate a productive online experience. The concept of a portal, as an educational tool, is in its evolutionary stages and, therefore, many adults require an introduction of this tool and its use. Portals facilitate the discovery of people, organizations, and content in a meaningful context (Ethridge, Hadden, & Smith, 2000); are secure offering user authentication, credential mapping, sensitive encryption and personalization as well as providing tracking of activity for the user (Morrison, Buckley, Coppo, 1999; Ethridge, Hadden, & Smith, 2000). To introduce this educational tool a hybrid distance education program, an institute, was used combining face-to-face presentations with online instruction and project-based learning. Qualitative data, obtained through surveys and interviews conducted by Crame (2003), as well as information from case studies were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and to analyze both the theory and practice of using an educator’s portal as a communication tool to engage educators in their establishment of school improvement goals and in the effectiveness of an institute to present this information. The educators in three Western Pennsylvania school districts (systems) demonstrated in the study that the concept of an educator’s portal could be an effective tool in working on project-based initiatives toward the improvement of teaching and learning. The term “vignettes” is interchangeable with a number of terms describing case studies (Freiberg & Driscoll, 2000, p.311), and scenarios (Dede, 1998; Fogarty, 1997, pp. 28-29). For the purpose of this article, vignettes are defined as “incomplete short stories that are written to reflect, in a less complex way, real-life situations in order to encourage discussions and potential solutions to problems where multiple solutions are possible” (Jeffries & Maeder, 2004, p. 8). Vignettes have been used as a teaching strategy (Campbell, 1996; Brown, 2000; Maeder, 2002; Kish, 2004; Jeffries & Maeder, 2005a), and as an assessment method (Maeder, 2002; Kish, 2004; Jeffries & Maeder, 2004; 2005a; 2005b). Vignettes are short narratives, which have been shown to benefit adult learners (Wiles, 1989; Maslin-Ostrowski & Ackerman, 1998; Marsick, 1998; Galbraith, 1998; Dottin & Weiner, 2001). Kish (2004) showed that vignettes could be used to benefit adult learners, especially for academic achievement and higher order thinking in an online environment.

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