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INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Online and Distance Education at OISE

Jim Hewitt


Dr. James (Jim) Hewitt
Associate Professor, CTL

Focus: Discursive Processes in Collaborative Learning Environments

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE. My research focuses on the educational applications of computer-based technologies, with a particular emphasis on discursive processes in collaborative learning environments.  Some of my publications include studies of thread development in asynchronous distance education courses, sociocultural supports for knowledge building in elementary science classrooms, and uses of multimedia and online technologies for teacher development.  My recent research suggests that traditional threaded computer conferencing software lacks critical supports for knowledge building and promotes diverging, add-on style discourse rather than the more sophisticated operations (such as synthesis and superordination) required for sustained, progressive knowledge work.  I currently offer two graduate courses online. 

Online Courses:

CTL1603: Introduction to Knowledge Building (next offering in 2009/10)
This course examines the concept of knowledge building and the role that it can play in education. During the course, we will look at knowledge building as it is implemented in classrooms, particularly elementary classrooms, and relationship between knowledge building philosophies, scientific processes, and learning. This course takes place online using Web Knowledge Forum as an asynchronous discussion medium.

CTL1018: Introduction to Qualitative Inquiry (next offering in 2009/10)
This course is an introduction to qualitative research methods.  In this course, we examine the theoretical foundations for qualitative inquiry, examine five distinct qualitative research traditions, and develop skills in the areas of interviewing, transcribing, and data analysis.  For a final project, students will prepare a full research proposal.  This course is offered online using Web Knowledge Forum.

Technologies Currently Used in Online Courses:

WebKF2, Wikis, Turnitin for assignments


Recent Publications in the Field of Online or Distance Education:

Hewitt, J., Brett, C., & Peters, V. (2007). Scan rate: A new metric for the analysis of reading behaviors in asynchronous computer conferencing environments. American Journal of Distance Education, 21(4), 1-17.

Hewitt, J., & Brett, C. (2007). The relationship between class size and online activity patterns in asynchronous computer conferencing environments. Computers & Education, 49, 1258-1271.

Hewitt, J. (2005).  Toward an understanding of how threads die in asynchronous computer conferences.  Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(4), 567-589.

Hewitt, J. (2003).  How habitual online practices affect the development of asynchronous discussion threads. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 28(1), 31-45.

Hewitt, J.  (2001). Beyond Threaded Discourse. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 7(3), 207-221.

Contact Information:

Website: http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~jhewitt
Email: jhewitt@oise.utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 978-0123