Formal, Non-Formal, and Informal E-Learning Experiences With Emerging Technologies: A Case Study of a Graduate Educational Technology Program

Formal, Non-Formal, and Informal E-Learning Experiences With Emerging Technologies: A Case Study of a Graduate Educational Technology Program

Betül Czerkawski (University of Arizona South, USA) and Jessica Nadine Hernández (FDA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch052
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Abstract

In this case study, a group of graduate students in an Educational Technology Program were surveyed in their use of emerging technologies. The purpose of this survey was to examine the extent of emerging technology use and investigate how they aligned with students' formal, non-formal, and informal e-learning experiences. Suggestions for new technologies and tips for implementation are also provided.
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The study described in this chapter surveys graduate students enrolled in an online Educational Technology Masters’ Program in a Southwestern University. Located on the southern border, the University has a high non-traditional student population as well as students from minority groups. The College where the Educational Technology degree is offered is a branch campus of a large land-grant research University that was founded for outreach border communities in various locations and campuses. Most students in this College have access to Internet and computer technologies. However, taking online courses and pursuing an online graduate degree is a new experience to most of the students. The majority of the students are first-generation college graduates in their families. Since the College is serving students in multiple locations on the Southern border, online formats and Interactive TV (ITV) systems are regularly used by most faculty members and programs. Emerging technologies are not commonly utilized throughout the college programs, with the exception of a few faculty members and the aforementioned Educational Technology program.

The Educational Technology Program is offered fully online using an open source course management system, Moodle. In addition to Moodle, all instructors in the Program regularly use various technologies to deliver their synchronous and asynchronous meetings. Some of these technologies are Skype, Elluminate, Wordpress, Drupal, and Second Life.

For the purpose of this study, the Educational Technology Program students represent a good example of students using emerging technologies on a regular basis. The students are asked about their use of emerging technologies and how this usage aligns with their formal, informal, and non-formal e-learning experiences.

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