"Use of Community in Education?"
2) Your Community Answer: Can online courses be as effective in providing instruction as offline courses?
3) Community Wire: Surf's Up for Parents.
Issue's Quote: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." - Mel Brooks
Featured Question and Answer:
"Use of Community in Education?"
More and more industries and institutions are benefitting from the use of online communities, including educational institutions. This issue's question and answer addresses how community can play a role in education, as we were asked the following question;
"My school district has a web site, but how could an online community be of benefit to educational institutions like them?"
To read our response, please visit "Use of Community in Education?".
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Can online courses be as effective in providing instruction as offline courses?
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Surf's Up for Parents
The latest Pew Internet and American Life survey of 1600 people found that adults with children are more likely to use the internet than non-parents. The research found that found 70% of US parents use the internet, compared with 53% of non-parents (see http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_711687.html)
The survey also showed that most parents now believe their children need to master computers and the web to get ahead in life. We wonder if this perception on the part of parents means this: rather than appear to be less able than their children expect they should be, parents are making more concerted attempts to become more computer literate and online savvy? Certainly, we hope so.
In a recent research paper by the ITC in the UK it was demonstrably shown that parents' own limitations of knowledge and experience of the internet was a significant factor in defining and delimiting what they deemed acceptable use of the internet by their children. Gaps or vagaries in that knowledge or experience tended to coincide with the parents' negative connotations (their own fear or sense of lack of control) with their children's online participation.
It is important as community builders, to try to take into consideration such factors when thinking of communities which may have a younger audience.
What's nice to see are efforts such as the following:
1. easily found instructions and guidance for parents.
2. highly visible information about the structure and activities of site and its owners.
3. clear details about policies such as staffing levels, moderation guidelines, staff vetting, recourse for problems and sanctions against partipants.
4. "do"s and "don't"s or guidelines written specifically for the younger audience.
5. COPPA regulations adherence and ease of registration under COPPA terms.
We hope that continued parental interest will assist in making the internet and the communities which children become involved in as safe and as enjoyable as possible. We believe that parents need to be aware, have experience, and have sufficient knowledge themselves to ensure that their children get the maximum enjoyment and wealth from the internet and have minimum unsafe encounters.
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