Educators have a ‘galaxy’ of e-learning tools to explore on the Internet to enhance connectivity with their students.
E-learning manager Zaid Ali Alsagoff from the International Centre for Education in Islam Finance spoke about online teaching and learning tools during a presentation at WOU titled ’69 Learning Adventures in 6 Galaxies’. The number ‘69’ denotes the topics and ‘6’ the sections in his 268-page e-book published last year.
He encouraged academics to start their own blog after having started his in July 2007; it has been accessed by people from 5, 786 cities and 185 countries.
In a 5-minute silent video, ‘A Vision of Students Today’, Zaid demonstrated how students now use more tools like emails, facebook, handphones and surf the net rather than read printed books.
He said people like to create blogs, use the YouTube to broadcast, adopt social networking and bookmarking tools, add in information (e.g. Wikipedia), share photos through Flickr, create flash games, create own cartoons, share slides, view lectures, and use Twitter to provide brief updates on themselves.
He also mentioned websites like FreeRice which helps you learn English; academic earth where thousands of video lectures from world’s top scholars can be viewed; visiblebody for a three-dimensional look of the human anatomy, and YouTubeEdu for educational lectures.
“It’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what’s available to educators to share with students,” he said, concluding with a humourous YouTube clip on “The Five-Minute University” on what a college graduate remembers after five years of graduation.
On the educational tools suitable for lecturers, Zaid said the RSS reader gives fast access to syndicated text as you subscribe for free to certain websites and when there are updates, they email you. Other tools are blogging to teach students and for the lecturer to reflect on his own teaching, and the online forum to develop communication skills as it allows students to express their ideas in writing.
Some 30 WOU staff, mostly academics from the Schools and from the Educational Technology and Publishing Unit (ETP) Unit, attended the seminar.