The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
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Journal Article

Delivering What Students say They Want On‑Line: Towards Academic Participation in the Enfranchisement of e‑Learners?  pp27-34

Richard Hall

© Feb 2006 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 111

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Abstract

Sustainable e‑Learning holds the promise of enabling higher education to meet the needs of a large and diverse market. Central to this is the response of academic staff teams in meeting the needs of individual learners, in order to enfranchise them within an evolving, enabling learning context. Enfranchisement is underpinned by the management of learner‑expectations in the value‑added nature of the on‑line learning experience. However, learner‑ enfranchisement demands that on‑line interaction is both accepted by academic teams and educationally liberating. Liberation requires meaningful existence, and hence active participation, within a 'supercomplex' world, in which both individual identities and the ability to manage information are tested. This paper assesses ways in which learner‑enfranchisement can be encouraged by academic teams. It pivots around the outcomes from student evaluations of a strategic e‑Learning implementation in one UK higher education institution. The conclusions that it draws focus upon strategies for adding pedagogic value, increasing academic participation and developing e‑Learning sustainability in order to enfranchise e‑learners. The argument highlights ways in which academic teams can move from a battery‑intensive approach to e‑Learning towards one that is more free‑ranging. It highlights how academic staff can increase the sustainable, inclusive value of the learning experience at a minimised cost. From this basis, it is argued that any extant disenfranchisement in the delivery of e‑Learning can begin to be addressed by increased team‑work. A by‑product for those teams is that in the very process of engaging their students, there is more hope that they will in‑turn become empowered within their own use of e‑Learning.

 

Keywords: Academic participation Learner-enfranchisement Teamwork Sustainability

 

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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

Evaluating Online Dialogue on "Security" Using a Novel Instructional Design  pp1-10

Payal Arora

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 75

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Abstract

This paper explores evaluation strategies to gauge the impact of a novel instructional design on international community participation online. This is done by conceptualizing and devising indicators for measuring "engagement" online amongst marginalized adult communities worldwide. In doing so, a review of online evaluation literature is conducted. In comparing dialogue sessions based on an ongoing traditional model to the new instructional approach, various challenges are faced in "measuring" asynchronous discussion. While the initial findings of marginal increase in engagement with the adapted instructional approach is not sufficient to prove that the new model works, this paper demonstrates various strategies challenges in evaluating dialectic engagement.

 

Keywords: online evaluation, instructional design, community participation, international, marginalized, engagement

 

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Journal Article

Impact of Communication Patterns, Network Positions and Social Dynamics Factors on Learning among Students in a CSCL Environment  pp72-85

Binod Sundararajan

© May 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 85

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Abstract

At present, it is difficult to assess the quality of learning in Computer‑Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) environments, because standard pretest and posttest measures do not capture the differences in the learner's ability to engage in the material, pose interesting new questions, engage others in learning and work collaboratively. This research investigates the impact of communication patterns, network positions and social dynamics factors on students' self‑perception of learning in a CSCL environment. The study involved a combination of methodologies combining questionnaires, and archiving of communication logs for data collection. Social network analysis tools were used to analyze relational data, map emergent student communication patterns and calculate centrality scores based on the electronic and face‑to‑face communication patterns among class members in the CSCL environment. Structural equation modeling was then performed on the hypotheses model to determine the impact of these centrality measures and the social factors on students' perceptions of knowledge gained and their satisfaction with their performance in the course.

 

Keywords: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL, distance learning, social network analysis, social dynamics, respect, influence, structural equation modelling, path analysis, interaction, participation, motivation to participate and learn, satisfaction with performance, gaining new and conceptual knowledge

 

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Journal Article

Exploring a ‘middle ground’: engagement with students in a social learning environment.  pp342-350

Anne MJ Smith, Sonya Campbell

© Aug 2012 Volume 10 Issue 3, Special ECEL issue, Editor: Sue Greener and Asher Rospigliosi, pp257 - 379

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Abstract

Abstract: The twenty first century student demands more from universities in terms of engagement that is flexible, accessible and immediate. This means universities revisiting their engagement agenda at a time when financial constraints can least afford expensive technologies and resource dependent engagement solutions. Solutions are likely to be varied however they must fundamentally deliver what students expect in terms of engagement. Engagement requires a partnership between academe and student body, but often this relationship is a tension between what universities want to deliver, and what students expect to receive. This complex environment of constraint, tension and expectation means that solutions will be tested by both parties on those variables. In pursuit of solutions it is presumed that there could be a ‘middle ground’ that would be acceptable to both parties. The aim of this paper is to present the concept of ‘middle ground’ engagement, where parties engage in learning using a simple, cost effective and easily accessible communication tool. ‘Middle ground’ is an emerging concept informed by results from a study of student communication, interaction and social learning. It enables freedom of movement for the user to communicate, engage and participate with others. The tool tested in the study is not a formal learning space such as a VLE, or a branded social space such as facebook, but rather a flexible, social learning environment allowing simultaneous access to social networking sites and formal academic space. The subsequent challenge is to shape and roll out a communication tool that is ‘middle ground’.

 

Keywords: engagement, participation, formal/informal learning, social learning, collaborative learning, social interaction

 

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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

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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

 

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Journal Article

Online Students: Relationships between Participation, Demographics and Academic Performance  pp19-28

J. Coldwell, A. Craig, T. Paterson, J. Mustard

© Mar 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 75

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Abstract

Using information technology to support teaching and learning is becoming ubiquitous in tertiary education. However, how students participate and perform when a major component of the learning experience is conducted via an online learning environment is still an open question. The objective of this study was to investigate any relationships between the participation, demographics and academic performance of students in an information technology course that was taught wholly online. Through a detailed analysis of tracking data of student participation, which was automatically collected by the online learning environment, it was found that a relationship existed between students' participation in the online learning environment and their performance, as measured by final results in the course. Relationships also existed between gender, nationality, participation and performance. However, there was no relationship between age and performance and participation. These findings suggest that when designing online learning for a diverse population, student demographics should be taken into account to maximise the benefits of the learning experience.

 

Keywords: culture, diversity, online learning, participation

 

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Journal Article

A Sociological Inquiry into Time Management in Postgraduate Studies by e‑Learning in Greece  pp66-75

Marios Vryonides

© Mar 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 75

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Abstract

This paper presents the findings from a small scale sociological investigation which studied the way mature students manage their time while attending to postgraduate studies by e‑learning. Thirty postgraduate students from the University of the Aegean, Greece, were asked to record their daily activities using a semi‑structured time‑use diary over a period when the demands of the course were at their peak. Follow up interviews with the students were conducted once they handed in their diaries whereby they were asked to reflect on their recorded activities. Two groups of students have emerged from analysing the diaries as having distinctive patterns of time usage; namely, married women with children and married men and single individuals. Policy implications are discussed, as the disparities in the experience of attending to e‑learning programmes while at home constitute a severe source of resistance to the stated aim of e‑ learning programmes, which is to overcome social and geographical marginalisation.

 

Keywords: e-learning Greece postgraduate studies time-management widening participation

 

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