113-5 EcoLearnIT: A Platform to Deliver Soil, Water and Environmental Education in the 21st Century.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: On-Line Education in Soil Science: I
Monday, November 1, 2010: 2:00 PM
Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Seaview Ballroom C, First Floor
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Sabine Grunwald1, B. Hoover1 and K. Ramesh Reddy2, (1)University of Florida, Soil and Water Science Department, Gainesville, FL
(2)106 Newell Hall; PO Box 110510, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Traditional classroom and online education has been constraint by experts/specialist to produce and reproduce learning material and closed (password protected) learning spaces that are focused on courses or larger learning modules. Recent shifts towards user-generated online learning content and open learning environments that are focused on smaller learning chunks have received attention. The Web 2.0 movement has facilitated to build online user communities in which people are empowered to actively participate in creation of learning material.

 We will present the EcoLearnIT (http://EcoLearnIT.ifas.ufl.edu) system which is rooted in Web 2.0 technology empowering students, faculty members, researchers, scientists, and extension specialists to co-create and share learning material in open-access mode. EcoLearnIT facilitates authoring of Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) which are small learning units focused on various topics including natural resources, environmental sciences, and agricultural management. The learning material is peer-reviewed (published) and shared among EcoLearnIT users. Users can participate as: (i) authors or author-teams to create RLOs, (ii) instructors to include RLOs in courses, or (iii) learner to search for content, browse, rate RLOs, and learn. Currently, EcoLearnIT has 350+ users in the U.S. and from abroad.

 Content to build RLOs can be implemented (uploaded) in various digital formats including text, artwork (various graphics formats and Power Point), video and audio files, and Flash animations to add interactive features. To mix different digital media provides an opportunity to create stimulating learning material that engages learners.

 In a survey of on-campus and distance education students they were asked about the difficulties to develop RLOs and assess their usefulness for GIScience education. The majority of students (> 80%) indicated that RLOs enhanced their learning experience because they felt empowered to engage actively in the development of learning material.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: On-Line Education in Soil Science: I