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I hope that all of my students and fellow teachers have a safe and happy Chinese New Year! Enjoy your time off to spend some good quality time with your families and friends.

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Try and stay warm, I know that I’ll be hiding from the cold as much as possible!

16. September 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: America · Tags:

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Some of you have been wondering, “Where is Stephen?” Well, to answer that question, I’ve been in America since the end of December. I had to leave unexpectantly because of some health issues with my wife related to pregnancy. Therefor, I did not get to finish the semester nor did I get to say goodbye to most of my students!

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To update you on our situation, my wife is fine now, and my son was born healthy! Because of the surgery my wife needed, she is still recovering, but we expect for her to have a full recovery quickly! We are hoping to be back in Yueyang by December at the latest!

In the past, the suggestion of getting a college degree without ever cracking a book meant paying a degree mill. It meant the degree was in name only, reflecting neither learning nor effort.

Until recently, ‘distance learning’ meant correspondence courses, perhaps combined with some coordinated telecasts. Technology has already changed all that, and the future will change it even further.

Now, the foundations of traditional education are being shifted as technology that was Star Trek style science fiction just a couple of decades ago, is becoming mainstream, even ubiquitous in our modern society. The following list is just a few of the core technologies that are making this new educational paradigm shift possible.

eTexts
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Now online college students can obtain legitimate college degrees without cracking a book– but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to read. Even with hard copy texts available, most students download their textbooks in password protected Portable Document Format (PDF). Not only is this a “green” alternative, but you avoid the weight of having to carry around textbooks.

Students can copy the PDF to mobile devices, and carry all of their texts on one iPad or Galaxy Tab. They choose to print whole books, only parts, or just use the digital document. A drawback to depending on protected PDFs is that they only open with active internet connections — but once opened students can use them until closed.

Virtual Libraries
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Most online school programs — even those which still use correspondence course designs have robust virtual libraries – something that never existed 15 years ago. Many colleges and universities contract with EBSCO Publishing to maximize available peer reviewed journals. Even traditional students use EBSCO Host in college libraries.

Distance learners access the same journals as campus students — from anywhere in the world. Students quickly build up their own virtual libraries of thousands of journal articles, just as mobile as any e-text. Renaming these files as closely as possible to the required bibliographic format, and cataloguing them, keeps them organized, accessible, and easy to cite in papers.

Online School Portals
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Until recently, resources for modern distance learning seem only different in form from correspondence courses. That changes with online school portals. These virtual campuses come complete with individual rooms for each class. They are so significant an innovation that they could change the future of on campus studies.

Anticipating how ubiquitous technology should become, some schools already require even on campus students to take at least one class online. This innovation means students need not all be present at once. More, many schools are now integrating social media into their portals – so students can correspond about classes and socially connect for pleasure.

Each school has minimum requirements for quality, quantity, and timeliness of posts and responses. The most successful online college students check-in early and often.

Webcams & Teleconferencing
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With the advance of higher bandwidth, real time webcasts have become a reality for online courses. Some schools still set most of their distance learning around attending formal classes, and allow this method as a supplement. Other colleges choose to use up such heavy bandwidth only for specific lessons, allowing students and teachers to get to know each other better.

Lectures that do not change need not have all the students watch at once, so schools now make them available to download as needed. Downloading is quickly replacing mailed audio and video recordings as a preferred media delivery method. Webcams and teleconferencing have added a new element of interactivity to the virtual classroom that cannot be matched.

Mobile Apps & Augmented Reality
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Mobile apps may present the biggest challenges for colleges with growing online programs. Augmented Reality (AR) apps interest schools. This cutting-edge technology is so young that its full potential still requires exploration. AR allows students to point mobile device cams at objects around them.

The screen image offers information about what they see. Schools might use them for mobile testing, for example asking questions about objects on museum visits or historic tours.

They could allow astronomy students to point a device at the night sky for the screen to identify stars, or outline constellations. Common availability of such apps may still be out of reach. Their promise shows that with technology in distance learning, the sky really is the limit.

About the Author: This article was written by Allie Gray Freeland, Editor in Chief of CollegeOnline.org, a guide to online schools and online degrees.

I’ve been out of Hunan for a little while, but I’m back!

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Except for one class, that I’m teaching today, I’ll see you after the October 1st holiday! Have fun, stay safe, see you soon!

Stephen 王忠信

For my students at the Hunan Institute of Science & Technology ( 湖南理工学院 ) who are taking the course: “The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries ( 英语国家社会与文化入门 ) : An Introduction (Book Two / Second Edition)

This week’s lesson covered unit 16  from the textbook which is about Canada’s Government and Politics.

If you would like to have the Presentation Notes from this week’s class, click on the link to view or download them.

For my students at the Hunan Institute of Science & Technology ( 湖南理工学院 ) who are taking the course: “The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries ( 英语国家社会与文化入门 ) : An Introduction (Book Two / Second Edition)

This week’s lesson covered unit 15  from the textbook which is an Introduction to Canada, the country and its people.

If you would like to have the Presentation Notes from this week’s class, click on the link to view or download them.

For my students at the Hunan Institute of Science & Technology ( 湖南理工学院 ) who are taking the course: “The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries ( 英语国家社会与文化入门 ) : An Introduction (Book Two / Second Edition)

This week’s lesson covered unit 13  from the textbook which is about Sports and Scenic Spots in America.

If you would like to have the Presentation Notes from this week’s class, click on the link to view or download them.

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Today we had group presentations and I really enjoyed all the creativity displayed!

For my students at the Hunan Institute of Science & Technology ( 湖南理工学院 ) who are taking the course: “The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries ( 英语国家社会与文化入门 ) : An Introduction (Book Two / Second Edition)

This week’s lesson covered unit 12  from the textbook which is about US Foreign Policy.

If you would like to have the Presentation Notes from this week’s class, click on the link to view or download them.

For my students at the Hunan Institute of Science & Technology ( 湖南理工学院 ) who are taking the course: “The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries ( 英语国家社会与文化入门 ) : An Introduction (Book Two / Second Edition)

This week’s lesson covered unit 11  from the textbook which is about Technology in America.  We attempted to define “technology” and then we discussed briefly the history of technology in America  from the 19th century until today.


If you would like to have the Presentation Notes from this week’s class, click on the link to view or download them.

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