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A course about using electronic technologies
to support and enhance teaching. 

Developed by Tony Whittingham
Go to the Cyberteacher web site

Communicating in Cyberspace
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. -John Powell
Introduction | Learning Gateway | Activities  | Assessment | Follow Up

cyberspace: The impression of space and community formed by computers, computer networks, and their users; the virtual "world" that Internet users inhabit when they are online. Like physical space, cyberspace contains objects (files, mail messages, graphics, etc.) and different modes of transportation and delivery. Unlike real space, though, exploring cyberspace does not require any physical movement other than pressing keys on a keyboard or moving a mouse. A cyberteacher is a teacher who uses cyberspace to to support and enhance teaching. 

Cyberspace learning environments optimally incorporate technologies to enhance communication among students and between the students and the instructor. These technologies include email, online discussion forums, electronic groups, text conferencing, and video conferencing

The anywhere-anytime characteristic and its potential to support interactive group learning have convinced many educators to believe Cyberspace technologies to be the next generation of educational tools for distance education. However research is showing the importance of social interaction in Cyberspace learning. According to Kearsley (1995) one of the most important instructional elements of contemporary distance education is interaction due to its positive affects on the effectiveness of distance educational courses. Two asynchronous technologies that can be employed to enable social interaction are electronic groups and discussion forums.

At the completion of this module you will be able to: 
1. Use Internet group software to create and register students in an electronic community.
2. Use web site authoring software to develop an online discussion forum for your students.

Learning Gateway

"Human use of computing is vast and growing. Networked technologies such as the Internet and the World Wide Web have been called ‘transformational’ because of their wide-ranging impact. Electronic networking creates communications across terrestrial boundaries, across cultures and on a global scale. Concepts of space and time are changing, and of how and with whom people can collaborate, discover communities, explore resources and ideas and learn.

Computer Mediated Communication and its collaborative sister, Computer Mediated Conferencing (CMC), actually arrived before the Internet and the World Wide Web became widely available. CMC has encouraged teachers to challenge perceived and received wisdom and practice about learning online and to reflect on their experiences. In this book I call attention to the mediator, or e-moderator, in online learning processes. Successful online learning depends on teachers and trainers acquiring new competencies, on their becoming aware of its potential and on their inspiring the learners, rather than on mastering the technology." (Gilly Salmon, 2002)

'E-Moderating the Key to Teaching and Learning Online'. The support website for Gilly Salmon's book. Refer to the '5 Step Model', the 'Are you ready to work online?' exercise, and 'Resources for Practitioners'.

A summary of communications technologies with excellent links. By Gilly Salmon

How to keep online students motivated

Electronic Learning Communities: Lessons from the ether

An instructor's guide to computer conferencing

ten reasons why online is better

This PowerPoint presentation looks at the steps taken by EdNA's online community to accomplish  "An effective online community will nurture newcomers with patience and tolerance and make it comfortable for all to contribute at their own level. At the same time it is important for participants to realise that learning occurs at the edge of our comfort zone."

Teaching Techniques for Computer-Mediated Communications (CMC)



Refer to this module's handouts to: 

1. Register your electronic group and invite students to join the group for a range of online learning activities.

2.  Create an online discussion forum and publish this forum on the World Wide Web for use by your students to discuss issues and share information.


Self Assessment
You should be able to:

1. Use Yahoo's group software to establish an electronic community for your students and to use this community to enhance learning in your subject areas.
2. Use Microsoft's FrontPage software to establish an online discussion forum for your students.


Follow Up
1. Expand your electronic community to include other student groups and utilise 'Yahoo' group facilities that include polls, file sharing and images of participants.

2. Continue to moderate your forum. Add interest by including controversial topics for discussion



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