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Using Course Maps To Enhance Navigation Of E Learning Environments

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Projects & Partnerships Result in Student Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1333.1 - 13.1333.16



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Paper Authors

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Susan Miertschin University of Houston

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Cheryl Willis University of Houston

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Course Maps to Enhance Navigation of E-Learning Environments


A concept map is a graphical representation of relationships among concepts. Willis and Miertschin suggested the use of technology-based concept mapping as an active learning strategy that can enhance learning and thinking skills, particularly among students native to a digital environment [16]. In addition, modern concept mapping software tools enable instructors and students to create visual navigation structures through complex knowledge domains. The authors find value in visual navigation structures for their relevance to organizing and simplifying learning environments and for their appeal to visual learners. This paper investigates different ways to develop digital interactive concept maps (CMaps) to help students navigate complex knowledge domains, such as the content of a course or a curriculum. CMaps can be used to present information in a nonsequential way or in several different ways, depending on the need. Interactivity enables students to easily locate digital information artifacts pertinent to a concept (media files, slide presentations, web pages, etc.) by clicking on links associated with a CMap node representing the course concept or category. A review of recent literature is provided, different software tools are compared, and the authors document their personal experience. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0511672.

Complex Learning Environments

Information and communications technologies (ICT) have advanced together so that anyone with a computer connected to the Internet is able to create and/or consume varied format information stored in digital files. As a result, resource-based learning, which is not new but is enabled by ICT, has come of age. A resource-based learning environment (RBLE) is described as “an integrated set of strategies to promote student-centered learning in a mass education context, through a combination of specially designed learning resources and interactive media and technologies” [5]. What is described here is an environment that increasing numbers of higher education faculty find they are challenged to create and manage. Typically, a faculty member is armed with their personal content knowledge and personal experiences with education and learning; traditional learning material such as a textbook; a learning management system; access to computer technologies for content creation together with, sometimes, support staff; and the wealth of information and tools that are freely and readily available via the Internet. With these, the faculty member is expected to create course structures that incorporate these elements, enabling students to enthusiastically consume as needed from the plethora of available information and make sense of it in a way that demonstrates they have met the course learning goals. This task is sometimes arduous for faculty members whose own educational experiences, especially at the undergraduate level, were primarily interactions with faculty in a teacher- centered learning environment where the instructor’s job was to dispense content and evaluate the student’s mastery of the content. Once a faculty member has course material in place in the learning management system, her expectations are high with regard to the level at which the student will be involved with the course and the materials offered.

Miertschin, S., & Willis, C. (2008, June), Using Course Maps To Enhance Navigation Of E Learning Environments Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4293

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