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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

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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

 

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Journal Article

JiFUNzeni: A Blended Learning Approach for Sustainable Teachers Professional Development  pp77-88

Brown Bully Onguko

© Feb 2014 Volume 12 Issue 1, ICEL2013, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 125

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Abstract

Abstract: JiFUNzeni blended learning approach is a sustainable approach to provision of professional development (PD) for those in challenging educational contexts. JiFUNzeni approach emphasizes training regional experts to create blended learning conte nt, working with appropriate technology while building content repositories. JiFUNzeni approach was field‑tested though a design‑based research intervention conducted in rural western Kenya. The field test included design, development and implementation o f a blended learning course for teachers professional development utilizing appropriate technologies including tablets powered by solar energy, open educational resources and open source software. One year after the intervention, follow‑up interviews wer e conducted with eight of the ten teachers and two professional development tutors (PDTs) who participated in the research. The findings from the follow‑up interviews shared in this paper revealed that: teachers still used cooperative learning and activ ity‑based learning strategies in their teaching. The PDTs on the other hand designed, developed and implemented one other jiFUNzeni blended learning course for twelve teachers in one school in Korogocho slum in Nairobi city. Implementation by PDTs of jiFU Nzeni approach confirmed that they had learned through a sustainable way of delivering professional development in challenging educational contexts. The PDTs utilized the instructional design approaches learned through their participation in the research in designing blended learning content, while they also innovated new ways of developing self‑study content as an important creative addition to what they had previously learned. Two teenage children participated in digital content development by advising the PDTs on some appropriate ways of applying technology thus, attesting to the fact that digital natives are important reciprocal supporters to digital immigrants and vice versa.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Appropriate technology, blended learning, challenging educational context, jiFUNzeni approach, offline web content, open educational resources

 

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