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ideal - interactive distance education for all learners
ISSUE 5 - Nov/Dec 2005
BGSU Distance Learning News and Updates
Click here for print view of newsletter

"BGSU is accredited from the North Central Association for its distance learning programs at BGSU and has also been granted the "Best Practices in Student Services" designation by the Ohio Learning Network."

  • It's not too late to submit your online summer courses for the summer catalog!

  • Distance Learning Blog launch. IDEAL will soon be launching “BG Blocks” a “blog” for faculty who are teaching online or who have an interest in teaching online. What is a blog? The term “blog” comes from the words “web” and “log”: (web + log) – we = BLOG. A common definition of a blog is a frequently updated website with multiple contributors, consisting of dated entries arranged in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first. IDEAL’s blog is being created as an online community for faculty to exchange experiences, provide tips and support, and share ideas with other faculty. “BG Blocks” will be launched later this month. Watch the IDEAL web site ( for information.

  • BGSU to Participate in the OLN Open Source Project
    As open source technologies begin to blaze the trail of innovation, BGSU, along with 38 Ohio two and four year institutions have formed a partnership with the Ohio Learning Network (OLN) to pilot several open-source technologies. For one year, the technologies will be made available within a shared environment to test and examine. If you are interested in obtaining access contact

  • Click here to view IDEAL's face to face teacher training seminars

  • Do you want to teach online but don't know how to get started? Contact Connie Molnar, IDEAL Director at or 419.372.7900 for assistance.

IDEAL's 3 week Online Teacher Training Program
ONLINE Faculty Training Program - January 9th - 27th

NOTE: This course is most beneficial for instructors new to teaching in the online environment.

An online course is much more than a repository of information. It is an interactive, collaborative, and informative method of instruction. What better way to learn how to teach effectively online than to experience it from the student's point of view. Join your colleagues for 3 weeks in learning how to harness the power of online instruction by participating in a completely online workshop via Blackboard and facilitated by a distance learning specialist. Just like most distance courses, this course works around your schedule rather than vice versa. After completing this workshop, you will receive an IDEAL Certificate of Training and you will join the ranks of other leaders in e-Learning at BGSU as a member of the BGSU e-Learning Colloquium.

Click here to learn more and enroll in the online training program or for more information call 419-372-6843, or e-mail

BGSU to pilot Open Source Technology

When most people hear the words “open-source” they immediately envision computer programmers sharing useless applications that they developed in their basements to each other. Thankfully this could not be further from the truth. In this day and age, open-source technologies are being developed by world renowned engineers and programmers at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Open-source is licensed software which permits the free distribution of source code to individuals interested in using or modifying the software. BGSU, along with 38 Ohio two and four year institutions, has formed a partnership with the Ohio Learning Network (OLN) to pilot several open-source technologies. For one year, the technologies will be made available within a shared environment to test and examine. Of the four open-source technologies that will be tested, the course management systems Moodle and Sakai have segregated themselves as the technologies most Ohio universities are interested in examining. To paint a clearer picture of the impact open-source has had in education it should be stated that Moodle has been adopted by over 6000 institutions and the numbers progressively increase everyday. The distance education division of BGSU, IDEAL, has been placed in charge of this momentous task and would like to extend an invitation to any and all faculty interested in examining for themselves the potential of open-source technologies. If you are a part-time or full-time faculty member who defines yourself as an innovator and understands the potential of open source technologies in academia, please contact IDEAL at 372-6792 to discuss how you can become involved in this very exciting project.

To read more about the impact Moodle, Sakai, and open source are having in the world, check out these links:
Moodle Buzz
Sakai participants
Wake Up Call: Open Source LMS

By the way, open source software is free to download and use but according to this moodle user, that is not the best part. Click here to read his blog article

Firefox + RSS = Information Revolution
Whether it's news from CNN and BBC or posts on your colleagues professional blog, the Web is updated continually. Firefox's Live Bookmarks feature automatically keeps track of these updates for you, so you always know when new content has been added to your favorite sites. This is a powerful tool on the internet and especially in academia because researchers and educators can stay connected to the latest innovations in their field using the built in RSS reader in firefox. With Live Bookmarks, the content comes to you.
Instead of constantly checking Web pages for changes and additions, a Live Bookmark delivers updates to you as soon as they are available.
Click here or the picture below to view the animated tutorial with voice over on how to get Firefox and use the Live Bookmark function.


A few years ago, blogging gave the world the power to publish anything. Now, podcasting is giving the world a voice. For the most part, a podcast is a combination of blogging and radio talk shows. Podcasts are audio files linked through a file format called RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS pages are used to link and describe clusters of media. Then programs like iTunes or news aggregators such as the one in Firefox as described above, can be used to monitor and subscribe to different podcasts. So how is podcasting being used in education?

So how is podcasting being used in online education?

Simple, faculty members are publishing their lectures in the form of podcasts. Students can then download the podcast and listen to them on the way to work or in their spare time. Recently, Purdue University created Boilercast, a site which stores podcasts of university lectures. Stanford University has also announced that faculty can post information on Stanford on iTunes. With so much information on podcasting, it is kind of difficult to get a grasp on the subject. Fortunately, there are many podcast directories online that can be used to help you find information that you want.
Stanford on Itunes - See how Stanford is using podcasts

If you would like to learn more information about podcasting, contact IDEAL at

Common podcast question:
Do I need an ipod or ITUNES to listen to a podcast?

Not at all. Podcasts are simply MP3's embedded in special code that enables you to use podcatching software such as the Itunes player, Yahoo! Music Engine, JUICE, and others to download the most updated podcasts that you subcribe to right to your computer. That way you don't have to go to their website looking for updated episodes. The podcatcher automatically downloads the latest feeds. Just like the Firefox Live Book mark feature, Podcasting uses RSS technology with MP3's instead of text. If you want to take your podcast with you, any MP3 player or iPod will work.

The Distance Learning newsletter is published bi-monthly by IDEAL (Interactive Distance Education for All Learners) to provide faculty with current news and initiatives in online learning at BGSU. Each newsletter will contain online pedagogy articles, training and workshop dates, online teaching tips, online teaching resources, and interviews with BGSU faculty or staff who teach online.

Issue 15