1.1. A synthesis of all (English language) published research that evaluates ALN courses, in refereed journals, refereed conference proceedings, or book chapters.
A data base will be created which codes for each study the theoretical framework used (if any), research methods, results, and important conclusions. Though the ALN Research Studies Knowledge Base will not include non-English sources, contributions of abstracts in other languages will be accepted for a more complete bibliography of publications, and partners will be sought to translate the data base into other widely used languages. As part of this work, a list of online and printed journals that frequently publish articles in this area will be created, and subscriptions obtained to these sources, so that new studies can be added on a timely basis. This compilation of peer reviewed, published ALN effectiveness research, available online, will give ALN evaluators an efficient way to be able to build on past research. It will also make up to date and complete information on ALN effectiveness available to the press, faculty considering teaching online, and the public.
A start has been made on this knowledge base, as part of the dissertation work for a student, with some initial output attached as Appendix 1. Since the data are in a data base, they can be statistically analyzed, similar to the analyses of all experiments and field studies of Group Support Systems by Fjermestad and Hiltz (1999, 2009). In addition to availability online, the results of the analyses will also be presented at ALN meetings or research workshops, and submitted for publication.