This study investigated communication patterns and behavior in problem-solving groups in a graduate online course. An inductive qualitative analysis method was employed to analyze 732 messages that were retrieved from small group forums. The current study identified a temporal pattern of group development was in comparison with existing theoretical models: the traditional group development model (Tuckman, 1965; Tuckman & Jensen, 1977) and the punctuated equilibrium model (Gersick, 1988; 1991). All the groups had two working phases and three decision-making points. The temporal pattern of group behavior was close to the phase transition concept of Gersick’s model. Some groups tended to undergo Tuckman’s stages, but their development stages were not necessarily sequential or hierarchical. Thus, it is concluded that Gersick’s model could be more useful for researchers and instructors to better understand and assist online students in problem solving collaborative activities.
The free and open publication of course materials (OpenCourseWare or OCW) was initially undertaken by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other universities primarily to share educational resources among educators (Abelson, 2007). OCW, however, and more in general open educational resources (OER), have also provided well-documented opportunities for all learners, including the so-called “informal learners” and “independent learners” (Carson, 2005; Mulder, 2006, p. 35). Universities have also increasingly documented clear benefits for specific target groups such as secondary education students and lifelong learners seeking to enter formal postsecondary education programs. In addition to benefitting learners, OCW publication has benefitted the publishing institutions themselves by providing recruiting advantages. Finally enrollment figures from some institutions indicate that even in the case of the free and open publication of materials from online programs, OCW does not negatively affect enrollment. This paper reviews evaluation conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), and Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNL) concerning OCW effects on higher education participation and student recruitment.
This paper describes a pilot study in using Facebook as an alternative to a learning management system (LMS). The paper reviews the current research on the use of Facebook in academia and analyzes the differences between a Facebook group and a regular LMS. The paper reports on a precedent–setting attempt to use a Facebook group as a course website, serving as a platform for delivering content and maintaining interactions among the students and between the students and the lecturer. The paper presents findings from the students’ self-assessments and reflections on their experience. The students expressed satisfaction with learning in Facebook and willingness to continue using these groups in future courses.
It is ironic that the management of education has become more closed while learning has become more open, particularly over the past 10-20 years. The curriculum has become more instrumental, predictive, standardized, and micro-managed in the belief that this supports employability as well as the management of educational processes, resources, and value. Meanwhile, people have embraced interactive, participatory, collaborative, and innovative networks for living and learning. To respond to these challenges, we need to develop practical tools to help us describe these new forms of learning which are multivariate, self-organised, complex, adaptive, and unpredictable. We draw on complexity theory and our experience as researchers, designers, and participants in open and interactive learning to go beyond conventional approaches. We develop a 3D model of landscapes of learning for exploring the relationship between prescribed and emergent learning in any given curriculum. We do this by repeatedly testing our descriptive landscapes (or footprints) against theory, research, and practice across a range of case studies. By doing this, we have not only come up with a practical tool which can be used by curriculum designers, but also realised that the curriculum itself can usefully be treated as emergent, depending on the dynamicsbetween prescribed and emergent learning and how the learning landscape is curated.
The objective of this study is to examine factors influencing e-learning adoption and the moderating role of gender. This study extends the technology acceptance model (TAM) by adding attitude and social interaction. The new construct of social interaction is applied to the South American context. Gender effects on e-learning adoption from educators’ perspectives have seldom been explored. The data collection takes place in three major Brazilian universities. In total, 446 faculty members responded to the questionnaire. Our structural equation modeling reveals that ease of use and perceived usefulness are significant antecedents of attitude, which in turn affects intention. However, unlike the original TAM, perceived usefulness is not a direct driver of intention. In terms of moderation, gender affects three relationships: (1) ease of use –› perceived usefulness; (2) perceived usefulness –› attitude, and (3) intention –› actual behavior. The analysis is carried out in a single country; thus, caution should be taken in generalization of the results. The findings will help academics, educators, and policy makers to better understand the mechanism of e-learning adoption in Brazil.
Student retention and progression has exercised the HE sector for some time now, and there has been much research into the reasons why students drop out of Higher Education courses. (Allen, 2006; Buglear, 2009;). More recently the Higher Education Academy Grants Programme Briefing (HEFCE, 2010) , outlined a number of areas that emergent project data revealed as being important to both the retention and progression of students, including areas outlined by a number of researchers as being essential to student success: expectations, support, feedback and involvement. But there has been less research, particularly within the distance learning sector, into factors that encourage students to stay (O'Brien, 2002). This small scale qualitative project using qualitative research methods and based in the Open University UK, builds upon an intensive institutional research project analyzing what type of interventions make a positive difference to student progression and success. The research revealed insights into factors linked to the expectations, identities and support of students which proved influential in terms of their resilience and motivation to remain on course.
E-learning development for enterprises is still in its infancy in that scholars are still working on identifying the critical success factors for e-learning in organizational contexts. This study presents a framework considering how organizational factors affect the quality and service of e-learning systems and how these factors influence organizational benefits in the view of IS success model and resource-based theory. A questionnaire survey of 120 Taiwanese companies was performed to validate the framework. The results show that top management support, information security policy, and institutional policy are positively related to system quality, while top management support, organizational learning culture, and institutional policy are positively related to system service. Additionally, system service is significantly related to organizational benefits. Our model provides two novel aspects of e-learning study. Firstly, we extend IS success model by incorporating four organizational factors as antecedences influencing system quality and system service. Secondly, the model is framed and examined on an organizational level, which provides a top-down view for managers when designing and implementing e-learning systems in the organizational context.
Interaction plays a critical role in the learning process. For online course participants, interaction with the course content (learner-content interaction) is especially important because it can contribute to successful learning outcomes and course completion. This study aims to examine the relationship between learner-content interaction and course grade to determine if this interaction type is a contributing success factor. Data related to student interaction with course content, including time spent reviewing online course materials, such as module PowerPoint presentations and course videos and time spent completing weekly quizzes, were collected for students in three sections of an online course (N = 139). The data were then correlated against grades achieved in the course to determine if there was any relationship. Findings indicate statistically significant relationships between the amount of time the learner spent with the content and weekly quiz grades (r = .-72). The study concludes that learners who spent more time interacting with course content achieve higher grades than those who spent less time with the content.
Researchers, educators, policymakers, and other education stakeholders hope and anticipate that openness and open scholarship will generate positive outcomes for education and scholarship. Given the emerging nature of open practices, educators and scholars are finding themselves in a position in which they can shape and/or be shaped by openness. The intention of this paper is (a) to identify the assumptions of the open scholarship movement and (b) to highlight challenges associated with the movement’s aspirations of broadening access to education and knowledge. Through a critique of technology use in education, an understanding of educational technology narratives and their unfulfilled potential, and an appreciation of the negotiated implementation of technology use, we hope that this paper helps spark a conversation for a more critical, equitable, and effective future for education and open scholarship.
In the last decade, an important debate about the characteristics of today’s students has arisen due to their intensive experience as users of ICT. The main belief is that frequent use of technologies in everyday life implies competent users able to transfer their digital skills to learning activities. However, empirical studies developed in different countries reveal similar results suggesting that the ‘digital native’ label does not provide evidence of a better use of technology to support learning. The debate has to beyond and focus on the implications of being a learner in a digitalised world. This research is based on the hypothesis that the use of technology to support learning is not related to the fact of belonging or not to the net generation, is mainly influenced by the teaching model. The study compares the behaviour and preferences towards ICT use in two groups of university students: face-to-face students and online students. A questionnaire was applied to a sample of university students from five universities with different characteristics (one of them offers online education and four offer face-to-face with LMS teaching-support). Findings suggest although access to and use of ICT is widespread, the influence of teaching methodology is very decisive. For academic purposes, students seem to respond to the requirements of their courses, programmes and universities. There is a clear relationship between the students’ perception of usefulness regarding certain ICT resources and the teachers’ suggested uses of technologies. The most highly rated technologies correspond with those proposed by teachers. The study shows how the educational model (face-to-face or online) has a stronger influence on the students’ perception of usefulness regarding ICT support for learning than the fact of being a digital native.
This research applied a mixed-method design to explore how best to promote learning in authentic contexts in an online graduate course in instructional message design. The students used Twitter apps on their mobile devices to collect, share, and comment on authentic design examples found in their daily lives. The data sources included tweets (i.e., postings on Twitter), students’ perceptions about mobile microblogging activities, and self-reported Twitter usage. Based on the tweet analysis, we found that the students appropriately applied the design principles and design terms in their critique of design examples. While the students were mainly engaged in assignment-relevant activities, they spontaneously generated social tweets as they related peers’ authentic design examples to their own life experiences. Overall, they had positive perceptions toward the mobile microblogging activities. The students also indicated that the design examples shared by peers through mobile microblogging inspired their own message design work. We synthesized instructional design suggestions and challenges for educators interested in incorporating mobile microblogging in their instructional settings.
Distance learning technologies offer a multitude of ways to build interaction into online courses to support learning. Based on social constructivism theory, this study explored which types of interaction are most predictive of students’ sense of community in online graduate courses at a regional comprehensive university. Surveys were used to measure sense of community and the frequency and importance of nine learner–learner interactions. Interactions that were most predictive of sense of community were introductions, collaborative group projects, sharing personal experiences, entire class discussions, and exchanging resources. The interaction that offered the highest payoff to instructors was exchanging resources. The article discusses implications for online course design.
Amidst the different challenges facing higher education, and particularly distance education (DE) and open distance learning (ODL), access to information and communication technology (ICT) and students’ abilities to use ICTs are highly contested issues in the South African higher education landscape. While there are various opinions about the scope and definition of the digital divide, increasing empirical evidence questions the uncritical use of the notion of the digital divide in South African and international higher education discourses. In the context of the University of South Africa (Unisa) as a mega ODL institution, students’ access to technology and their functional competence are some of the critical issues to consider as Unisa prepares our graduates for an increasingly digital and networked world. This paper discusses a descriptive study that investigated students’ access to technology and their capabilities in using technology, within the broader discourse of the “digital divide.” Results support literature that challenges a simplistic understanding of the notion of the “digital divide” and reveal that the nature of access is varied.
In spite of evidence that more and more students are engaging in online learning experiences, details about the transition for teachers and students to a new learning environment are still unconfirmed. While new technologies are often expected to make work easier, they also involve the development of new competencies. This change may, in itself, elicit an emotional response, and, more importantly, emotion may impact the experience of online learning. Knowledge about the impact of emotion on learning broadly is available, but not about emotion and online learning. This study presents evidence of emotions present in online environments, and empirical data which suggests emotional presence may exist as a fundamental element in an online community of inquiry.
Nigeria has joined the global race of teaching and learning in a changing educational environment by adopting open and distance learning (ODL). Although it is a global trend, ODL poses some challenges at local levels, one of which is the untimely production of teaching materials currently affecting instructional delivery in Nigeria. The modern approach to ameliorating this challenge is the deployment of open educational resources (OER), and this practice is enabled by information and communication technology (ICT). Hence, today’s educators need OER tools and ICT skills to address the changing nature of education. This paper assessed the needs, readiness, and willingness of ODL professionals from two dual-mode universities in Nigeria to deploy OER in teaching and learning. Data were collected using structured questionnaire items. The major findings of the study’s survey indicated that educators have not really embedded OER in teaching and learning, but they are very eager to be trained in the rudiments of OER and wish to employ them thereafter. The results indicate there is an urgent need for professional development to include training in the rudiments of OER for educators.
Notes From Leadership in Open and Distance Learning