The relationship between pricing and learning behavior is an important topic in research on massive open online courses (MOOCs). We report on two case studies where cohorts of learners were offered coupons for free certificates to explore how price reductions might influence behavior in MOOC-based online learning settings. In Case Study 1, we compare participation and certification rates between courses with and without free-certificate coupons. In the courses with a free-certificate track, participants signed up for the verified-certificate track at higher rates, and completion rates among verified students were higher than in the paid-certificate track courses. In Case Study 2, we compare learner behavior within the same courses by whether they received access to a free-certificate track. Access to free certificates was associated with lower certification rates, but overall, certification rates remained high, particularly among those who viewed the courses. These findings suggest that some incentives, other than simply the cost of paying for a verified-certificate track, may motivate learners to complete MOOCs.
This study examines the relationships between self-efficacy, task value, and the use of self-regulated learning strategies by massive open online course (MOOC) learners from a social cognitive perspective. A total of 184 participants who enrolled in two MOOCs completed surveys. The results of Pearson’s correlation analysis show a positive correlation between self-efficacy and the use of self-regulated learning strategies, as well as a positive correlation between task value and the use of self-regulated learning strategies. The results of hierarchical multiple regression analysis show that self-efficacy and task value are significant predictors of the use of self-regulated learning strategies. There was a statistically significant difference in the use of self-regulated learning strategies between learners who possessed high self-efficacy and those who possessed low self-efficacy. In addition, learners who had high task value showed statistically significant higher average self-regulated learning scores than those who had low task value. Implications and future research directions are discussed based on the findings.
As open textbook initiatives are on the rise, a burgeoning literature has begun exploring student perceptions of openly licensed textbooks used in higher education. Most of this research has lacked consideration of potential differences in the perceptions of online and on-campus students and has failed to include a control group of students using traditional textbooks. Therefore, the authors employed a 2 x 2 design to directly compare perceptions of online students with on-campus students assigned either open or traditional textbooks. Students (N = 925) enrolled in multiple sections of psychology courses at a midsized R1 institution completed a survey on their perceptions of their particular book’s format and features, as well as strategies they typically employ to offset the cost of expensive course materials. The results revealed that online and on-campus students report disparate strategies for offsetting the high costs of textbooks, different preferences in textbook formats (print versus digital versus both) when cost is not a factor, and differences in their ratings of the importance of various textbook features. Moreover, the results indicate that the use of open textbooks may increase preference for free digital textbooks over paid printed textbooks. Based on these results, the authors suggest that campuses might consider providing customized support to different student populations as open textbook initiatives gain in popularity on university campuses. Additionally, they suggest that prior exposure to open textbooks may increase students’ willingness to use openly licensed materials in future courses. They recommend future research on this question, using a longitudinal within-subjects designs.
This study examines how technological and relational factors independently and interactively predict the perceived learning success of doctoral students enrolled in online-based leadership programs offered in the United States. The 73-item Online Learning Success Scale (OLSS) was constructed, based on existing instruments, and administered online to collect self-reported data on three primary variables: student learning success (SLS), relational factors (RF), and technological factors (TF). The SLS variable focuses on the gain of knowledge and skills, persistence, and self-efficacy; the RF on the student-student relationship, the student-faculty relationship, and the student-non-teaching staff relationship; and the TF on the ease of use, flexibility, and usefulness. In total, 210 student responses from 26 online-based leadership doctoral programs in the United States were used in the final analysis. The results demonstrate that RF and TF separately and together predict SLS. A multiple regression analysis indicates that, while all dimensions of TF and RF are significant predictors of SLS, the strongest predictor of SLS is the student-faculty relationship. This study suggests that building relationships with faculty and peers is critical to leadership doctoral students’ learning success, even in online-based programs that offer effective technological support.
Although learner silence in face-to-face classrooms has been the topic of considerable research interest, relatively little investigation has been done into learners’ experience of silence in distance education. Guided by a phenomenology of practice approach, this study explores the lived experiences of online silence, using interview data gathered from 12 graduate students who were engaged in cohort-based distance learning. Iterative rounds of a whole-part-whole interpretive process were used to identify key themes that emerged regarding the participants’ lived experiences. The findings highlight that silence is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that was both enacted and received by the participants. Speaking out online was done carefully, sometimes with partial voice and sometimes in fuller voice, sometimes as an obligation and other times with a sense of spontaneity and connection. The six themes that emerged were as follows: (a) learners enact purposeful silence; (b) learners absorb silence from others; (c) learners perceive, and use, silence as demarcation; (d) learners experience silence within voice; (e) learners use deliberate, complex strategies while engaging in online discourse; and (f) learners hear each other in a trusted community. These six themes give new understandings to the experience of online silence. They reflect the multifaceted and nuanced aspects of the phenomenon and have implications for distance education instructors, learners, and curriculum developers.
This paper reports on the research findings from a national project examining the issues in creating, sharing, using, and reusing open educational resources (OER) in the context of the development of open education in Ireland. One important aspect of the research was to investigate the potential for using existing institutional research repository infrastructure for the purpose of ingesting, managing, and discovering OER produced by academics. This approach would imply a move from previous strategy around a centralised repository at the national level to a devolved model that relies on institutional research repositories. The opportunities and potential barriers to the adoption of this approach were explored through an online survey and focus groups with academics from a range of higher education institutions (HEIs). Also, a focus group of institutional repository managers was convened to discuss the potential of the institutional repositories with those leading their development. Analysis of the data indicates that the devolved approach to institutions would be possible if the right supports and protocols were put in place. It was acknowledged that research repositories could potentially also serve as repositories of teaching materials, fostering parity of esteem between teaching and research. However, a range of important challenges were present, and alternative solutions emerged, which are discussed in the context of the present and future of online OER repositories.
Little is known about open access publishing in educational technology journals that employ a hybrid model which charges authors only if they wish to publish via gold open access. In this study we sought to address this gap in the scholarly understanding of open access publishing in hybrid journals that publish research into the intersection of education and technology. We analysed three categories of article access types: gold, green, and limited access, and collected data on their prevalence in the seven-year period from 2010-2017 across 29 journals. Data was gathered from Scopus, Unpaywall, Sherpa RoMEO, and via manual searches of the journal websites, resulting in a dataset comprising the metadata of 8,479 articles. Our findings highlight that most research remains locked behind paywalls, that open access publishing through legal means is a minority activity for the scholars involved, and that the complexity and costs of legal open access publishing in these journals may be inhibiting the accessibility of research to readers.
This article describes a practical approach for implementing instructional strategies in order to build a Community of Inquiry (CoI) into an online course. Online community building has positive effects on the quality of student learning, increases student engagement, and encourages motivation of students in online courses. The CoI is a theoretical framework focusing on facilitating meaningful learning experiences through three presences: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence. This article will introduce the CoI framework by way of literature review focusing on CoI instructional strategies. Using Sorensen and Baylen’s (2009) seven principles of good practice, the author will structure CoI instructional activities into presence categories for practitioner use.
This article is intended as a practical resource to help interested organizations design and implement an open badging system. Open badges are a type of open credential designed to recognize a variety of skills, knowledge, and experiences, both inside and outside of traditional educational settings. While growing in popularity, common questions asked by those interested in using open badges include: How do I get started? What technologies exist to produce open badges? And what do I need to know? This article seeks to address questions such as these. First, we introduce the reader to key terms in the badging world and explore open badge design precedents, responding to who, what, how, where, and why open badges have been used in the past. Drawing on this research as well as our own personal experience, we then present a possible framework for getting started with open badges and a step-by-step guide for implementing that framework within your organization.
While adaptive learning is emerging as a promising technology to promote access and quality at a large scale in higher education (Becker et al., 2018), the implementation of adaptive learning in teaching and learning is still sporadic, and it is unclear how to best design and teach an adaptive learning course in a higher education context. As early adopters, a team of instructors, instructional designers, and administrators at the University of Central Florida (UCF) identified five key design features as an adaptive learning design framework to guide the unique course design process. These five features involve deliberate design and development efforts that could bring significant benefits to student learning. The purpose of this field note is to present a design framework and best practices for teaching from both a systems and a pedagogical approach in the context of implementation at UCF. We also share the rationale and classification framework UCF has adopted to ensure the term “adaptive learning” is universally understood across campus. This paper offers insights into the design, delivery, and implications of utilizing adaptive learning systems in higher education courses at a public research university and attempts to capture the intimacy of lessons learned and best practices gathered since the project’s inception in 2014.