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The primary questions addressed in this paper are the following: what are the factors that affect students’ adoption of an e-learning system and what are the relationships among these factors? This paper investigates and identifies some of the major factors affecting students’ adoption of an e-learning system in a university in Jordan. E-learning adoption is approached from the information systems acceptance point of view. This suggests that a prior condition for learning effectively using e-learning systems is that students must actually use them. Thus, a greater knowledge of the factors that affect IT adoption and their interrelationships is a pre-cursor to a better understanding of student acceptance of e-learning systems. In turn, this will help and guide those who develop, implement, and deliver e-learning systems. In this study, an extended version of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was developed to investigate the underlying factors that influence students’ decisions to use an e-learning system. The TAM was populated using data gathered from a survey of 486 undergraduate students using the Moodle based e-learning system at the Arab Open University. The model was estimated using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). A path model was developed to analyze the relationships between the factors to explain students’ adoption of the e-learning system. Whilst findings support existing literature about prior experience affecting perceptions, they also point to surprising group effects, which may merit future exploration.
This case study explores an open distance learning program offered by the Information Technology and Computing (ITC) department at AOUJ, a major university in Jordan. It provides an overview of e-learning in the Arab region and explores factors that affect ODL quality in the Arab Open University in Jordan (AOUJ). The research utilized a qualitative approach, which included five lengthy semi-structured interviews with the program director, two instructors, and three students. Three important conclusions can be drawn from the study about e-learning in the Arab region: (1) the existence of adverse conditions, (2) the presence of strong instructional practices, and (3) the need to improve administrative support.
Distance education is used for teacher training at different levels and fields in Turkey. Launched in the 2000-2001 academic year and still applied by Anadolu University, the Pre-School Teacher Training Program is one of those programs offered by distance education. This study aims to evaluate Anadolu University’s Preschool Teacher Training Program in Turkey by obtaining student opinions. A total of 1,026 senior students enrolled in the Preschool Education major at the Open Education Faculty of Anadolu University participated in the survey. A questionnaire to determine the opinions of students on the program was used as a means of data collection. Means (X) and standard deviations (SD) were employed to analyze the survey data. The results showed that although the teacher candidates study at a good level, they do not have a good record of watching the television programs. The results also revealed that the opinions of teacher candidates about the textbooks, television programs, teaching practices, and academic assistance services are positive.
This paper describes the scope and outcomes of Virtual TAU, a campus-wide project that aims to integrate information and communication technologies into the academic instruction at Tel Aviv University (TAU). It provides data, insights, and conclusions drawn from various research and evaluation studies that were conducted at the university during the last decade. The paper presents its material on three main levels: (a) the institutional level, in which we describe the scope and pace of the process of diffusing the Web as an innovation into the university’s instruction, and how this diffusion compares to classical diffusion models; (b) the pedagogical level, in which we present some of the innovative pedagogical practices developed and implemented as well as the current state of Web usage among both the university’s teachers and students; and (c) the costs and benefits of the integration of Web-supported academic instruction, where we apply a newly-developed cost-effectiveness model to Virtual TAU courses.
This study aims to describe the similarities and differences in the science interests of males and females from Israeli and Arab Middle Eastern countries, as derived from over 1,000 science questions sent to an international ask-a-scientist site. Our findings indicate that while the stereotypical gender gap in interest persists, and significant differences were found between the age groups, no significant differences were found between science questions that were sent by Israelis and Arabs. Furthermore, no correlation was found between female participation and the state of gender equity in the country, and only 1% of the questions made any reference to country-specific, local, or religious aspects. One may conclude that science interests are gender- and age-dependent but culturally-independent in this asynchronous, open and distant science learning environment. Further research is needed in order to determine if this is a genuine attribute of science interest in ODL environments or an outcome of the digital divide in the region.
This article reports on a study conducted in Israel at an academic institution. The study investigates the correlation between students’ attitudes toward open and distance learning (ODL) and their perceived self-esteem and loneliness at the last stage of their online learning experience. For this study, 120 students were asked to complete a questionnaire. The students were enrolled in three fully online academic courses, which were similar in their instructional design approach although different in content. Findings reveal that there is a positive correlation between self-esteem and attitudes toward e-learning in general and toward online interaction with the instructor in particular. The findings further suggest that there is no correlation between loneliness and student attitudes toward e-learning. Some explanations for these results are raised as are recommendations for further research.
The main purpose of the study is to investigate Turkish undergraduate students’ perceptions of the Web as a learning tool and to analyze whether their perceptions differ significantly based on gender, socio-economic background, and Web experience. Data obtained from 722 undergraduate students (331 males and 391 females) were used in the analyses. The findings indicated significant differences based on gender, socio-economic background, and Web experience. The students from higher socio-economic backgrounds indicated significantly higher attitude scores on the self-efficacy subscale of the Web attitude scale. Similarly, the male students indicated significantly higher scores on the self-efficacy subscale than the females. Also, the students with higher Web experience in terms of usage frequency indicated higher scores on all subscales (i.e., self-efficacy, affective, usefulness, Web-based learning). Moreover, the two-way ANOVA results indicated that the student’s PC ownership has significant main effects on their Web attitudes and on the usefulness, self-efficacy, and affective subscales.
This paper presents an online inter-group contact hypothesis (OICH) model, developed within the Israel education system, whereby online and distance learning (ODL) is used in the service of multiculturalism. The goal is to build bridges among secular and religious Arabs and Jews in Israel based on small multicultural groups and collaborative learning through effective use of the Internet and other cutting-edge information technologies. The model expands the contact hypothesis (which holds that under the right conditions contact could reduce bias between groups) to a model for online collaboration. It adds the gradual development of contact between the groups by progressing from individual asynchronous textual communication to individual synchronous audio communication combined with collaborative asynchronous communication to collaborative synchronous communication and finally to face-to-face communication.
Based on recent research reports, the blended learning model, which combines face-to-face and online learning, is now the preferred model for online course design. Its superiority over online learning, which lacks face-to-face interaction, is evident from studies that examined both student achievement and satisfaction. Nevertheless, there is ambiguity in the literature and in the field regarding the proper implementation of blended learning and the optimal proportions between online and F2F components in various learning scenarios. The range of contradictory reports in recent literature on the potential of different blended learning models shows the need for more research on specific blended learning courses in order to establish proper standards for effective course design and implementation. The present evaluation study focuses on students’ perceptions of pedagogical and design issues related to a new model for blended learning that was used in a graduate-level course at the Open University of Israel. Fifty-eight of the course’s 91 students participated in the study and completed a questionnaire regarding three major aspects of the course design: (1) pedagogy, (2) textbook format (print vs. digital), and (3) learning environment usability. The results illustrate the importance of completing the pedagogical and visual design of online learning in advance. Also, the course model suggests ways to bridge the gaps between students and instructors and students and their peers, which are typical of online learning in general and open universities in particular.
The international literature provides little in-depth analysis of distance education and e-learning activities, achievements, and challenges in Turkish higher education other than the country’s mega-university, Anadolu. This paper examines the development of, and lessons to be learned from, such undertakings by three pioneers, two regular state universities, Ankara University and Sakarya University, and the private, non-profit Turkish-Kazakhstan Ahmet Yesevi University. Drawing on the collective experience of the authors, the paper reaches some overall conclusions about embarking on distance education and e-learning, which may apply in other Turkish universities and similar economies.