The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
For general enquiries email administrator@ejel.org
Click here to see other Scholarly Electronic Journals published by API
For a range of research text books on this and complimentary topics visit the Academic Bookshop

Information about the current European Conference on e-Learning is available here

For infomation on the International Conference on eLearning, click here

For infomation on the European Conference on Games Based Learning clickhere

 

Journal Article

Encouraging Student Participation in an On‑line Course Using 'Pull' Initiatives Paul  pp68-79

Peachey Paul

© Aug 2010 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

This paper presents an empirical study involving initiatives that encouraged students to log onto online courses in entrepreneurship delivered by the University of Glamorgan. The aim of the research was to explore items of interest to the online students that may increase participation in the forums and hence potentially enhanced engagement with the course module. The online tutor created additional forums within the discussion board of the virtual learning environment (VLE) that included a variety of online games and quizzes that were relative to the module topic. The rationale that underpinned this initiative was to reduce the possible blandness of the VLE as perceived by some students. The games and quizzes were carefully designed to enhance knowledge in the subject and thereby provided additional learning opportunities. The initiative was also thought to assist in the formation of an online learning community. The study involved experimentation by the online tutor with subsequent observation of the behavioural patterns of the students. In one module, the dedicated social and games forums attracted 54% of the total postings for the module. The findings suggest that including online quizzes and games that are relevant to the taught subject can increase the participation levels of the students and possibly enhance the learning process. The findings of this study may inform the design, development and delivery of online learning programmes. The findings also inform strategies of good practice in online moderation and may help to reduce withdrawal rates, which are typically high in the field of e‑ learning (Potashnik and Capper, 1998).

 

Keywords: Virtual learning environment, Fun, Discussion forum, Participation, Games

 

Share |

Journal Article

Students’ use of Asynchronous Voice Discussion in a Blended‑Learning Environment: A study of two undergraduate classes  pp360-367

Khe Foon Hew, Wing Sum Cheung

© Oct 2012 Volume 10 Issue 4, ICEL 2012, Editor: Paul Lam, pp360 - 440

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

Contemporary discussions of education in blended‑learning environments increasingly emphasize the social nature of learning which emphasizes interactions among students, or among students and instructors. These interactions can occur asynchronously using a text based discussion forum. A text‑based discussion forum, however, may not work well for all participants as some find it difficult to explain complex concepts in words, while others complain of being misunderstood due to the absence of verbal cues. In this study, we investigated the use of a Wimba Voice Board to support asynchronous voice discussion. A quasi‑experiment research design involving two classes of undergraduate students was conducted. One of the classes (n = 24 students) used the Wimba Voice Board while the other (n = 18 students) used a text discussion forum in BlackBoard. The results of an independent t‑test analysis suggested that there was no significant difference in the students’ degree of participation in the two classes, asynchronous voice discuss class (M = 2.92, SD = 1.586) and text discussion class (M = 2.78, SD = 1.353), (t = 0.299, df = 40, p = 0.767) at the 0.05 level of significance. However, the online discussion appeared to be more sustained in the asynchronous voice discussion group. Analyses of the students’ reflection data suggested that asynchronous voice discussion have several advantages over text forums. Specifically, an asynchronous voice discussion: enables students to understand one another’s messages better, allows students, who prefer speaking to writing, or students who are not proficient in written English, to participate in the discussion, promotes originality of students’ ideas, and helps to foster a sense of online community.

 

Keywords: blended-learning, asynchronous online discussion, voice board, discussion forum, participation, Wimba Voice Board

 

Share |

Journal Article

The use of templates to manage on‑line discussion forums  pp12-19

Shafqat Ali, Graeme Salter

© Jan 2004 Volume 2 Issue 1, Special Issue for ECEL 2003, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 239

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

 

Keywords: Collaboration, Discussion Forum, CMC, Asynchronous Communication, e-Learning, Higher Education, Templates, Collaborative Learning

 

Share |

Journal Article

Help! Active Student Learning and Error Remediation in an Online Calculus e‑Help Community  pp227-238

Carla van de Sande, Gaea Leinhardt

© Apr 2010 Volume 5 Issue 3, ICEL 2007, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp173 - 250

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

Free, open, online homework help sites appear to be extremely popular and exist for many school subjects. Students can anonymously post problems at their convenience and receive responses from forum members. This mode of tutoring may be especially critical for school subjects such as calculus that are intrinsically challenging and have high attrition rates. However, educational research has focused on tutoring sessions that instruct students on a pre‑determined set of material or topics, and there has been no systematic research on these dynamic, free, open, online tutoring communities. In order to distinguish the student‑initiated e‑help episodes from traditional tutoring sessions, we refer to them as "tutorettes." Each tutorette was assigned a participation code that contained information on the number of contributions by each participant, the sequence of contributions, and the number of different participants. Student problem solving activity, defined by mathematical contributions and efforts, was measured for initial postings and for subsequent contributions. Finally, each tutorette was examined for evidence of mathematical errors and these were classified according to type: pre‑calculus, operational, and conceptual. A tutorette on the limit concept is provided to demonstrate how mathematical queries are resolved in an SOH e‑help community. Participation and problem solving attempts provided evidence of active student learning. Instead of simply using the tutors to do their homework, many students made initial attempts at solutions, queried tutor responses, and applied the help they received to make progress on solving problems. This behaviour appeared to be influenced by the actions of the tutor: Providing solution sketches accompanied by asking direct questions encouraged dialogue, whereas providing quasi‑complete worked solutions seemed to have the opposite effect. In contrast to classroom instruction, students in this e‑help community appeared comfortable in presenting incorrect work and tutors were open and forthright in their commentaries, evaluations, and explanations. In addition, tutors modulated their responses according to the type of error. Pre‑calculus errors and operational (calculus) errors were not accorded the same depth of explanation as conceptual misunderstandings.

 

Keywords: tutoring, e-help communities, discussion forums, calculus tutoring

 

Share |

Journal Article

Teaching Scientific/Academic Writing in the Digital Age  pp43-54

Arna Peretz

© Jan 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 81

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

This paper describes a graduate‑level scientific/academic writing course for non‑native speakers (NNS) of English at Ben‑Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, which is taught in a technology‑enhanced or blended learning environment. The use and integration of electronic discourses, such as email and Powerpoint, on‑screen marking techniques, and submission of written assignments and writing consultancies by email, and asynchronous online discussion forums are described. Features of the HighLearn course‑supporting WEB site, which enable the integration of discussion forums into the writing course, are explained. Results of teacher‑initiated student evaluations and advantages and dilemmas of teaching scientific/academic writing in the digital age are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research and suggestions for the further integration of ICT in the scientific/academic writing course.

 

Keywords: scientificacademic writing, technology-enhanced learning, CMC/ICT, e-learning, asynchronous discussion forums, EFL

 

Share |

Journal Issue

Volume 6 Issue 3 / Oct 2008  pp161‑254

Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Editorial

The International e‑Learning Conference was held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, hosted in the beautiful city of sea and mountain, at the University of Cape Town. Several pre‑conference workshops were held, on such topics as mobile learning and open education resources, which meant that by the time the Conference began, discussions were already in full swing. The 68 papers presented were well attended and debates were lively. A Special Issue such as this one cannot capture the tenor of those debates, but it can offer a taste of the conference. We have thus selected excellent articles, which give a flavour of the conference, and of the issues raised.

One might have asked, with delegates from 20 very different countries, all operating in divergent contexts, was there enough commonality of interest and context for a shared conversation to be possible? The answer was clear. Despite widely different technological circumstances, delegates were united by a passion for learning, and the possibilities of technology to enable learning to take place more effectively. The focus was therefore not on hardware nor on infrastructural issues, but on leveraging the affordances of a very wide range of technologies to address the challenges of education, the challenges faced by educators everywhere, and the challenges of helping students learn. These challenges were recognisable across the board. Can technology help students be more engaged with learning? Can technology address the impersonal and alienating environments of large classes in universities? Can technology help students be more reflective and receive more feedback? Can the most basic problems of education, such as primary school literacy be helped by current technologies?

Participants at the conference commented in the final session on how delighted they were by the innovations shared, and by the standard of the discussions in all the sessions. The papers selected for this Special Issue is a selection of such innovations, rigorously accounted and carefully researched.

Most of the papers selected for this journal address specific micro level aspects of learning. Two, for example, confront the basics of reading and writing at the primary level. South Africans Freda van Wyk and Arno Louw report on the use of electronic reading programmes in a context where primary learners perform worse than their peers internationally. They report that while all learners were below expectations for their grades at the outset, after the programme, all had improved. At the other end of the spectrum is a Danish example where researcher Karin Levinsen reports on a primary school context where ICTs have become ubiquitous. Her paper explains how technology which was developed to assist pupils with learning problems proved so successful that they were found valuable for all learners, including those without writing and speaking problems.

Still in the primary school, Philip Balcaen describes a robust process of conceptualising and developing media rich science resources in a Canadian project. The principles and framework he reports on which enable the development of thinking skills in young learners are transferable beyond that specific context and prove useful to educators across the sector.

While the specific teaching strategies change higher up the system, learning challenges do not and students need to be helped to engage with complex learning resources in potentially impersonal environments.

Stefanie Hain and Andrea Back from Switzerland report on the use of blogs to support learning, describing a robust method to design environments which integrate blogs to enforce learning. Fran Greyling from South Africa reports on the potential of technology to assist with the well known difficulties of large impersonal undergraduate classes. This paper shows how assessment and community building can be amplified in quite specific ways.

The blurring of formal and informal learning spaces was also acknowledged in the Conference. Sylvia Jones and Mary Lea use an ethnographic‑style approach to show how amongst students in higher education there is an inter‑mingling of institutional and academic requirements with issues of student identity and personal affiliations, shaping students’ digital literacy practices.

It is not however, only the students whose identities are being reshaped and who need collaborative spaces and supportive communities. Educators and learning designers do too, and indeed supporting a community of learning designers itself is a matter of concern as the field grows. Jill Jameson from the UK shows through empirical case studies how to intentionally grow a community of practice, and she highlights in particular the value of the role of a ""critical friend"". Also bearing in mind the complexity of the terrain to be navigated by learning designers, Mandia Mentis offers a valuable navigational tool, e‑Learning alignment guide which offers a way of aligning the three key zones of pedagogy, technology and context.

At a macro level, the proliferation of recorded data made possible by the online learning environment itself is an opportunity for data mining in the service of macro level decision making in higher education. South African Liezl van Dyk shows how indicators can be generated from such data and correlated with student performance and learning style, offering many insights into students’ learning behaviour.

And finally a bird’s eye view is provided by Laura Czerniewicz who uses researcher and professional views to distinguish the field itself, and who suggests ways in which the field may be developing an identity distinct in its own right. The Conference, and these selected papers provide a taste of that rich and zesty field.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

Share |

Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1 / May 2009  pp1‑85

Editor: Shirley Williams

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

Share |

Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 2 / Jun 2009  pp85‑190

Editor: Shirley Williams

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Editorial

The 7th European Conference on e‑Learning (ECEL) took place in Cyprus in November 2008. ECEL always attracts a range of exciting and topical papers in the field of e‑Learning. From a wide field the conference committee selected over 150 papers for presentation. This edition of the EJEL was planned to take the best of the papers and invite the authors to update their work with a wider audience, and to a large extent that is what we have achieved. However with such a large conference it is not possible for a selection panel to listen to all papers, so we have taken a pragmatic approach of asking Session Chairs to recommend papers from their own sessions, and from these recommendations the papers here were selected. Inevitably there is some very high quality work that we are not able to include, however the reader will find a good representation of current work from around Europe and beyond, reflecting developments from lone researchers to multi‑national teams.

 

Keywords: Academic participation, Automatic pre-correction, Blended learning, Classroom and teachers’ characteristics, Collaborative on-line learning, Communities of practice, Computer aided assessmentCourseware, Critical thinking, Cross-cultural education, Discussion forum, e-Learning portal, Emerging practice, Extreme programming, Formative mcqs, Internationalisation, Knowledge construction, Learner-enfranchisement, Learning content, Learning objects, Malaysian grid for learning, Media use, Mediated communication, Multiple choice questions, MyGFL, Omnigator, On-line collaboration, Ontology engineering, Personalisation, Predicting factors, Proaction, Programming exercises, Summative mcqs, Sustainability, Topic maps, Vicarious learning, Virtual learning environment, VLE

 

Share |