4. TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE AND TOOLS

Rob Darrow

Abstract

This chapter addresses technology infrastructure, tools, and costs for online, blended, and distance learning programs. It explores issues such as connectivity and hardware, learning management systems, and mobile learning devices, and describes tools for communication, social media, and gaming, as well as online content, open education resources, and learning objects. It advocates the use of planning cycles with cost projections, and identifies cost components of online programs that must be considered.

Discussion Questions

1. Following the author's advice to Google "School district RFP LMS", do so and select three district RFPs for review that mention online and/or blended learning. What LMS/CMS critical features do they all require? Why would these features be considered essential?

2. Based on the chapter and the article by Wright (2014), what are some advantages and disadvantages of adopting an open-source LMS for an online and blended learning program?

3. Based on pages 36-40 in Bakia et al's 2013 study , what are some ways that online teachers can use features of courseware technology to provide feedback about learner progress?

4. In implementing a mobile or 1-1 learning initiative, should a specific mobile device be promoted for learning, or is this decision best left in the hand of the learners? Justify your views.

5. The author cites Douglemas (n. d.). who describes five elements of Social Constructivism incorporated into open education resources. Can a teacher use technology to incorporate these elements into a semester-based asynchronous online course where each learner is on an individualized learning path? If so, how?

Additional Resources

Bakia, M., Mislevy, J., Heying, E., Patton, C., Singleton, C., Krumm, A. (2013). Supporting K–12 Students in Online Learning: A Review of Online Algebra I Courses. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Retrieved from
http://www.mivu.org/Portals/0/supporting-k-12-students-online-learning-2.pdf

Wright, C. R. (2014, April 21). Selecting a learning management system: advice from an academic perspective. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/selecting-learning-management-system-advice-academic-perspective.

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