Jacobson, A,  Militelloc, R. and Baveye, P. (2009) ‘Development of computer-assisted virtual field trips to support multidisciplinary learning’ Computers and Education, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 571-580

From the Abstract

Multidisciplinary courses are being developed at a number of US colleges and universities to highlight the connections between the rise or fall of world civilizations and the sustainable or unsustainable uses of soil and water resources. The content presented in these courses is complex because it includes concepts from disciplines as varied as geology, soil science, politics, economics, history, and anthropology. ….We considered that a series of virtual field trips (VFTs) to sites around the world would allow us to present students with complicated real-world situations, with which to practice critical analysis skills. ….. This article describes the process of assembling a VFT, and analyzes the technological and didactic choices the process requires. …. Preliminary results with the pilot VFT are encouraging.

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  1. One thing I don’t do in my newsletter is to link to articles that require a subscription.

    The reason for this is that such links clutter the search engine results with references to papers that cannot be accessed by the majority of people reading.

    Moreover, such links provide support and marketing for journals that are continuing to charge fees, while authors and editors are not paid, and indeed, are supported by the taxpayers being denied access.

    It’s up to you, of course, but I hope I have made a case here to eschew links to fee-based journals (next step: to get people to eschew submitting to them as well).

  2. Hi, Stephen.

    As you know, I don’t normally post articles from journals that require subscriptions, like you, preferring an open publishing environment.

    However, many readers of this site are students who have free access to such journals through their university or public libraries. Sometimes, the very papers they need for their studies are only available through a subscription journal. For instance, I have been looking for examples of virtual field trips, which in theory is I think a great use of e-learning, and this is the only one I have come across so far.

    The choice then is to stand absolutely on principle, and ignore publications that may be valuable. I prefer a more middle road, of encouraging open access, but recognising occasionally that there is no alternative if a valuable resource is not to be ignored.

    However, I would like to hear from other readers of this site – what do you think about this?


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