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K-12 online learning and cyber charter schools have grown at a tremendous rate over the past decade. At the same time, these online programs have struggled to provide the social spaces where students can interact that K-12 schools are traditionally able to provide. Social networking presents a unique opportunity to provide these kinds of social interactions in an online environment. In this article, we trace the development and use of social networking at one cyber charter school to extend the space for online instruction and provide opportunities for social interaction that online schools are often unable to provide.
Motivation plays a crucial role in learning. Motivation energizes the behavior of the individual. It also directs the behavior towards specific goals. It helps students acquire knowledge, develop social qualities, increase initiation, persist in activities, improve performance, and develop a sense of discipline. This paper aims to compare the levels of motivation between students in the open education system (OES) and in the traditional education system (TES) in India. The study further investigates the motivation levels of male and female students in the two systems. An Academic Motivation Scale was prepared and administered on the students of TES (n = 200) and OES (n = 151). Results show that there exist significant differences in the level of motivation between the students of TES and OES. The study concludes that it is the presence or absence of extrinsic motivation which is predominantly responsible for this difference.
With the growth of online courses and programs in higher education, considerable concerns emerge about student feelings of isolation and disconnectedness in the online learning environment. A research study was conducted to develop and validate an instrument that can be used to measure perceptions of connectedness of students enrolled in online programs or certification programs in higher education. The instrument consists of 25 items and has four scales: (a) community, (b) comfort, (c) facilitation, and (d) interaction and collaboration. One hundred and forty-six online learners who were enrolled in courses at a Turkish university completed the online questionnaire. Results of a factor and reliability analysis confirmed that the instrument is a valid and reliable measure of students’ perceived connectedness in an online certificate program.
E-learning has become an increasingly important teaching and learning mode in educational institutions and corporate training. The evaluation of e-learning, however, is essential for the quality assurance of e-learning courses. This paper constructs a four-phase evaluation model for e-learning courses, which includes planning, development, process, and product evaluation, called the PDPP evaluation model. Planning evaluation includes market demand, feasibility, target student group, course objectives, and finance. Development evaluation includes instructional design, course material design, course Web site design, flexibility, student-student interaction, teacher/tutor support, technical support, and assessment. Process evaluation includes technical support, Web site utilization, learning interaction, learning evaluation, learning support, and flexibility. Product evaluation includes student satisfaction, teaching effectiveness, learning effectiveness, and sustainability. Using the PDPP model as a research framework, a purely e-learning course on Research Methods in Distance Education, developed by the School of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Hong Kong (HKU SPACE) and jointly offered with the School of Distance Learning for Medical Education of Peking University (SDLME, PKU) was used as a case study. Sixty students from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Malaysia were recruited for this course. According to summative evaluation through a student e-learning experience survey, the majority of students were very satisfied/satisfied on all e-learning dimensions of this course. The majority of students thought that the learning effectiveness of this course was equivalent, even better, than face-to-face learning because of cross-border collaborative learning, student-centred learning, sufficient learning support, and learning flexibility. This study shows that a high quality of teaching and learning might be assured by using the systematic PDPP evaluation procedure. It is hoped that the PDPP evaluation model and its application can provide a benchmark for establishing a wider e-learning quality assurance mechanism in educational institutions.
Quality and accountability mandates require institutions to monitor online instruction in a uniform and complete manner. In many institutions, instructor training is sparse and faculty evaluation occurs only through end-of-course student evaluations that may or may not yield adequate information on how the instructor performs online. Consequently, the online instructor evaluation system (OIES) was developed to ensure the finest quality educational experience for online students via a systematic approach to faculty training, mentoring, and evaluation. Research has shown that combining mentoring and evaluation is not feasible, and therefore another approach is warranted.
Open distance learning is viewed as a system of learning that blends student support, curriculum and instruction design, flexibility of learning provision, removal of barriers to access, credit of prior learning, and other academic activities such as programme delivery and assessment for the purpose of meeting the diverse needs of students. Internationalisation, on the other hand, is viewed as a process that blends intercultural international dimensions into different academic activities, such as teaching, learning, and research, into the purpose and functions of higher education. The common feature in the narratives that define open distance learning and internationalisation is the blending of university services to achieve specific outcomes. This blending feature has instigated an inquiry into identifying the interplay between the two concepts in as far as how the concepts are defined and what their goals and rationale are in the context of higher education institutions. While there are a breadth and variety of interpretations of the two concepts, there are differences and common features. The purpose of such an analysis is to open a new window through which institutions of higher learning can be viewed.
With the rapid development of information technologies, distance education has become “another form of product differentiation in the output mix produced by the multi-product university or college” (Cohn & Cooper, 2004, p. 607). This article aims at analyzing the economies of scope of distance education (as an educational output) in Chinese research universities. The empirical results show that a) product-specific economies of scope do exist in distance education programs offered by Chinese research universities; b) there are economies of scale in distance education; and c) there are weak cost complementarities between distance education and research output, meaning that distance education and academic research can promote each other to reduce the costs in Chinese research universities.
Enrollments in online programs are growing, increasing demand for online courses. The perception that teaching online takes more time than teaching face-to-face creates concerns related to faculty workload. To date, the research on teaching time does not provide a clear answer as to the accuracy of this perception. This study was designed to investigate which aspects, if any, are more time consuming for instructors teaching in the online environment. Time logs were kept by four online instructors (eight classes) and six on-campus instructors (six classes) through six weeks of the 15-week semester. Results indicated that, overall, face-to-face teaching required more time per student, but certain aspects of online teaching take considerably more time per student than in the face-to-face classroom.
M-learning is the style of learning for the new millennium. Decreases in cost and increases in capabilities of mobile devices have made this medium attractive for the dissemination of knowledge. Mobile engineers, software developers, and educationists represent the supply side of this technology, whereas students represent the demand side. In order to further develop and improve this medium of learning it is imperative to find out students’ perceptions about m-learning adoption. To achieve this objective a survey was conducted among the students of 10 chartered universities operating in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan. The results indicate that perceived usefulness, ease of use, and facilitating conditions significantly affect the students’ intention to adopt m-learning, whereas perceived playfulness is found to have less influence. Social influence is found to have a negative impact on adoption of m-learning. The findings of this study are useful in providing guidance to developers and educators for designing m-learning courses specifically in the context of developing countries.
Distance education in the present Russian Federation and former Soviet Union has a long tradition that prevails to this day. The majority of students in Russia are enrolled in distance learning programs. The numbers indicate the existence of a well-established system for distance education, of which little is known in Western literature. A review of distance education research in the Anglo-American sphere showed that within the past 10 years not a single article dealing with the Russian system was published. Consequently, within international DE research Russia remains uncharted territory. The following explorative study introduces the educational and tertiary educational system and presents current statistical data while emphasizing the historical perspective to further describe how the distance education system is embedded therein. In order to discuss current practice in this field, one of the biggest higher distance education institutions in Moscow with approximately 110,000 students is used as an example.
The increased demand and need for continuous learning have led to the introduction of open, distance, and e-learning (ODeL) in Kenya. Provision of this mode of education has, however, been faced with various challenges, among them infrastructural ones. This study was a survey conducted in two public universities offering major components of ODeL, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University. These universities were purposely selected for the study, whose respondents included the students registered in ODeL and the lecturers and senior administrators involved. Analysis of the relevant documents was also undertaken, while library literature was reviewed on the integration of ODeL into the provision of education in Kenya. The study established that efficient and optimal delivery of ODeL in Kenya faces both economic and infrastructural challenges. However, strengthening the existing relevant structures would address some of the challenges.
Embedding support devices in educational computer games has been asserted to positively affect learning outcomes. However, there is only limited direct empirical evidence on which design variations of support provision influence learning. In order to better understand the impact of support design on novices’ learning, the current study investigates how support devices and their type of provision (intrinsic vs. extrinsic) determine games’ effectiveness on learning outcomes. This effectiveness is also related to how the design-type of provision influences learners’ virtual presence and cognitive load. Compared to an educational adventure game without additional support, the results indicate that the game equipped with support devices enhances learning outcomes, although no differences in cognitive load were found. A variation in the design of provision shows no effect. In order to gain a more thorough understanding of support devices and their design for games, additional learner characteristics (e.g., interest) should be considered in future research.
Interaction is crucial to student satisfaction in online courses. Adding synchronous components (virtual classroom technologies) to online courses can facilitate interaction. In this study, interaction within a synchronous virtual classroom was investigated by surveying 21 graduate students in an instructional technology program in the southeastern United States. The students were asked about learner-learner, learner-instructor, learner-content, and learner-interface interactions. During an interview, the instructor was asked about strategies to promote these different forms of interaction. In addition, the academic, social, and technical aspects of interactions were examined in three course archives using Schullo’s (2005) schema. Participants reported that the Wimba interface was easy to use and that various features, such as text chat and the webcam, facilitated interaction among the students and with the instructor in the virtual classroom. The importance of students’ ability to receive immediate feedback and their experience as presenters was highlighted across the various kinds of interaction. The instructor’s teaching style and visual presence were instrumental in engaging students with the content. The results suggest that student interaction, and hence learning, was aided by the live communication that occurred through the virtual classroom. This study has implications for those who are considering adopting virtual classroom technologies for their online or blended teaching.
Proponents of open educational resources claim that significant cost savings are possible when open textbooks displace traditional textbooks in the classroom. Over a period of two years, we worked with 20 middle and high school science teachers (collectively teaching approximately 3,900 students) who adopted open textbooks to understand the process and determine the overall cost of such an adoption. The teachers deployed open textbooks in multiple ways. Some of these methods cost more than traditional textbooks; however, we did identify and implement a successful model of open textbook adoption that reduces costs by over 50% compared to the cost of adopting traditional textbooks. In addition, we examined the standardized test scores of students using the open textbooks and found no apparent differences in the results of students who used open textbooks compared with previous years when the same teachers’ students used traditional textbooks. However, given the limited sample of participating teachers, further investigation is needed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the self-efficacy of nursing faculty and students related to their potential use of mobile technology and to ask what implications this technology has for their teaching and learning in practice education contexts. We used a cross-sectional survey design involving students and faculty in two nursing education programs in a western Canadian college. In January, 2011, 121 faculty members and students completed the survey. Results showed a high level of ownership and use of mobile devices among our respondents. The median mobile self-efficacy score was 75 on a scale of 100, indicating that both faculty and students were highly confident in their use of mobile technologies and prepared to engage in mobile learning.
Student testing and knowledge assessment is a significant aspect of the learning process. In a number of cases, it is expedient not to present the exact same test to all learners all the time (Pritchett, 1999). This may be desired so that cheating in the exam is made harder to carry out or so that the learners can take several practice tests on the same subject as part of the course. This study presents an e-testing platform, namely PARES, which aims to provide assessment services to academic staff by facilitating the creation and management of question banks and powering the delivery of nondeterministically generated test suites. PARES uses a conflict detection algorithm based on the vector space model to compute the similarity between questions and exclude questions which are deemed to have an unacceptably large similarity from appearing in the same test suite. The conflict detection algorithm and a statistical evaluation of its accuracy are presented. Evaluation results show that PARES succeeds in detecting question types at about 90% and its efficiency can be further increased through continuing education and enrichment of the system’s correlation vocabulary.