The goal of this research program is to increase the quality, quantity, and dissemination of results of research on the effectiveness of Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALN). It will synthesize existing knowledge and create new knowledge about the methods and findings of research on the determinants of effectiveness of (ALN, and to make the results available worldwide via a project web site. The major activities will be:
1. Create a WebCenter for Learning Networks Research. This will include a series of online knowledge bases that are regularly updated and will be available through the project web site to researchers, faculty, the press, and the public. There is a great need for a high quality website that provides a comprehensive listing of research that is being done in the area of ALN Learning Effectiveness. NJIT has almost two decades of research accomplishments in ALN and is technically qualified to construct and operate a large web site, as the most wired public university in the U.S. for the last several years (according to YAHOO!). Two of the Co-PIs. (Professor Sharon Derry of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin, and Ricki Goldman-Segall, who prior to joining NJIT in the Spring of 2009 was at the School of Education at the University of British Columbia) will help to assure that the research findings, methodologies, and theories of educational researchers studying the effects of technology on teaching and learning are adequately represented in the knowledge bases.
2. Build/strengthen an ALN evaluation research community that will create and share improved research methods, theoretical frameworks, and instrumentation for assessing the outcomes of online learning. Face to face workshops and asynchronous conferences will be used to achieve this. The results of these activities will be used to enhance the materials on the web site.