There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the role Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can play in improving access to education globally, and particularly to thousands of people in developing and developed countries. There is increasing concern, however, that the millions of displaced refugee learners throughout Europe, the Middle East, and other regions are still disadvantaged when it comes to engaging in learning through MOOCs. The reasons for this disadvantage range from a lack of appropriate infrastructure or other supporting structures, to a lack of contextualized content. So far, little attention has been paid to contextualized MOOC models, which may both impact policies and be adapted to the specific needs of these learners who often do not have the means to access many education opportunities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to propose a frugally-engineered MOOC model that addresses the barriers of access and participation for refugees. This paper engages in an exploratory research methodology, using findings from the literature and expert opinions gathered through interviews. These findings lead to the development of what the authors call a Frugal MOOC Model which can be contextualized to meet the needs of refugee learners. The paper goes on to highlight the development of the Frugal MOOC Model as the first phase of an ongoing study. It concludes with recommendations for the next phase of the study: how to implement the newly developed model.
This study investigated online faculty familiarity, course design use, and professional development interest regarding universal design for learning (UDL) guidelines. The researchers surveyed all 2017 to 2018 online faculty at a large university in the southeastern United States. Findings included 71.6% of faculty reporting familiarity with at least one UDL guideline, with most respondents indicating familiarity with guidelines relating to perception, expression, and communication. Faculty reported the highest implementation of UDL guidelines was for those suggesting options for comprehension as well as expression and communication; the lowest implementation was for those suggesting options for physical action as well as language and support. Survey results also indicated high to moderate interest in learning more about all UDL guidelines, with emphasis on comprehension, persistence, and expression. This study suggests that faculty members desire UDL training and offers possibilities for planning and implementing such professional development in areas targeted to best meet the needs of online faculty.
University ranking systems are being implemented with the aim of assessing and comparing higher education institutions at a global level. Despite their being increasingly used, rankings are often strongly criticized for their social and economic implications, as well as for limitations in their technical implementation. One of these limitations is that they do not consider the specific characteristics of online education. This study used a participatory approach to define a set of criteria and indicators suitable to reflect the specific nature of distance education. This endeavour will help evaluate and rank online higher education institutions more appropriately than in current practice, where indicators are devised for traditional universities. To this end, several stakeholders and informants were involved in a Delphi study in an attempt to reach the broader higher education institutions (HEI) community. According to the study participants, apart from students’ achievements and general quantitative measures of HEI performance, which are quite common in traditional ranking systems, teaching and student learning experience turned out to be the most important criteria. Student support, teacher support, technological infrastructure, research and organization were deemed middle ground criteria, while sustainability and reputation were regarded as the least important criteria.
One advantage of online learning settings relative to conventional classrooms is their anytime, anywhere accessibility. While online education programs provide students with flexible learning opportunities free from the restrictions of geographic location, a consistently growing number of students who prefer to learn exclusively online still choose nearby colleges. The choice to attend a local college by exclusively online learners is an interesting phenomenon, because most of these students rarely visit campus at any point in the process of obtaining their degrees. This study aims to explain this localized distance student enrollment pattern using Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data and Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data from the fall of 2016. This research uses a multiple regression technique to explain the relationship between institutional factors and localized distance student enrollment patterns in the US. This study utilizes the C2Q (cost, convenience, and quality) model to explain the local orientation of e-learners. The findings show that convenience and quality of education are significantly associated with each local institution’s share of exclusively online learners in the same state.
The purpose of the study is to investigate the concern developments of first-time distance education instructors using the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM). This study used stages of concern (SoC), a component of CBAM, as its theoretical framework. A descriptive case study was implemented, which focused on the adaptation processes of nine instructors lecturing for the first time via distance education. The instructors attended a two-day training, which was designed based on their initial concerns. Then instructors implemented their courses for four weeks via distance education. While the informational and personal stages (self-concerns) decreased compared to the initial findings, the consequence stage increased in intensity. However, self-concerns remained predominant in the process despite the reduction in self-concerns and increase in the consequence stage. Based on the findings, the implications for distance education and recommendations for addressing the instructors’ concerns are discussed. Recommendations for alleviating the concerns of first-time distance education instructors include: the provision of ongoing concern-based interventions that incorporate technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge; providing working examples related to distance education from which instructors can learn vicariously; and encouraging collaboration among instructors.
While microcredentials and open digital badges have become increasingly popular in education, more research is needed to better understand their implementation and benefits to both issuers and users. In this paper, we use a case study approach to report and discuss the outcomes from the implementation of an open badges program at National Instruments, highlighting the effects this program has had on both National Instruments and its users. As the program evolves to better meet the needs of its stakeholders, we find that both participants (badge earners) and the issuer (National Instruments) see potential value in the National Instruments Badging Program. The value for both seems to stem from the way in which the program enables the sharing of badges, which helps the earner establish their skills/reputation while also increasing awareness of the program for National Instruments. This study adds to our understanding of why an organization may find value in offering open microcredentials as an alternative to traditional professional development and certificates for their customers and employees.
The concept of open educational resources (OER) is becoming increasingly prominent in education. However, research circles around defining OER, content and forms of OER, technological features of OER, and the importance of the issue or lack thereof. Vital aspects such as the notion of the adoption of OER by educational practitioners remain underdeveloped. In order to shed light on the question of how to adopt OER in education, the article presents findings of a meta-study which critically reviewed 25 state-funded OER projects located in Germany. All projects aimed to anchor OER across educational areas, such as school, higher, continuing, and vocational education. The meta-analysis disclosed a mixed bag of results. Although interest and willingness to deal with OER can be confirmed, reservation is rooted in the complexity of the topic and especially the legal concerns. However, the findings demonstrate that OER can by no means be ignored in the context of teaching and learning in a digital world. Integrating OER as an aspect of existing educational training should, therefore, be encouraged. Concerning future design recommendations, to conflate OER with other pressing issues and to simultaneously emphasise its added value explicitly is a promising approach. Moreover, establishing central contact points in educational institutions to accompany and monitor actors on their path to OER appears to be necessary. Notwithstanding the concrete measures, any strategy must operate persistently at both levels, institutional and practical, embracing all relevant stakeholders.
This article covers a topic related to increases in the existing heterogeneity of the university student population, specifically in virtual learning environments. There is a growing concern for offering training alternatives that include all students. As the first step in a line of research related to quality, equity, and inclusion in e-learning, we aim to identify emerging trends in research on inclusive virtual education (IVE) at the higher education level and how inclusion is conceptualized. Our goal is to provide ideas on future research topics and raise issues for further exploration. This research was conducted through a systematic review of articles published in the last decade in the WOS and Scopus databases. Upon reflection, we suggest the need for inclusive e-learning educational designs with greater emphasis on human diversity in all of its complexity. By doing so, we may be able to contribute to increasing the equality of educational opportunities and overcoming the barriers that restrict the access, continuity, and successful exit of the entire student population, regardless of their individual learning needs.
With the advancement of information and communication technologies, technology-supported peer assessment has been increasingly adopted in education recently. This study systematically reviewed 134 technology-supported peer assessment studies published between 2006 and 2017 using a developed analysis framework based on activity theory. The results found that most peer assessment activities were implemented in social science and higher education in the past 12 years. Acting assignments such as performance, oral presentations, or speaking were the least common type of assignments assessed across the studies reviewed. In addition, most studies conducted peer assessment anonymously and assessors and assessees were randomly assigned. However, most studies implemented only one round of peer assessment and did not provide rewards for assessors. Across studies, it was more often the case that students received unstructured feedback from their peers than structured feedback. Noticeably, collaborative peer assessment did not receive enough attention in the past 12 years. Regarding the peer assessment tools, there were more studies that adopted general learning management systems for peer assessment than studies that used dedicated peer assessment tools. However, most tools used within these studies only provide basic functionalities without scaffolding. Furthermore, the results of cross analysis reveal that there are significant relationships between learning domains and anonymity as well as learning domains and assessment durations. Significant relationships also exist between assignment types and learning domains as well as assignment types and assessment durations.
Completing doctoral dissertations is difficult work and may be harder for distance students physically separated from institutional and collegial supports. Inability to complete independent research contributes to doctoral student attrition. Factors impacting completion include institutional factors, student characteristics, and supervisory arrangements (Manathunga, 2005). This paper shares proactive strategies used by a Midwestern university in the United States to support distance doctoral students. Strategies and technology tools are described that (a) cultivate a shared culture of responsibility and commitment, (b) increase effective communication between researchers, and (c) grow departmental and institutional services and technologies for faculty and students. This paper suggests the use of a specific framework to help students develop a shared culture of responsibility. This framework encourages students to discuss their social network, as well as teaches students how to manage their split life by using a tool which evaluates a student’s readiness for the dissertation process and maps out where dissertation skills and knowledge are developed throughout the program. Strategies for effective communication include availability, effective feedback, trust, and humor. Services and technologies provided to build capacity include the use of online and library resources, campus-wide use of research software, writing and research services, and department supports and processes to promote student research. These mechanisms for accountability, mentoring, training, and trust increase the likelihood of success.
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