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

Interactive Nonlinear Learning Environments  pp59-68

Ronald Robberecht

© Aug 2010 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECEL 2006, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 86

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Abstract

E‑learning materials often have a linear design where all learners are forced into a single‑mode pedagogy, which is contrary to the interaction that occurs in face‑to‑face learning. Ideally, e‑learning materials should be nonlinear, interactive, contain context‑sensitive and active learning elements, and accommodate various learning levels and styles. This paper presents an educator's perspective on approaches to designing such e‑learning materials, which are essential to enhancing the education of future generations of students.

 

Keywords: Interactive, nonlinear, e-learning environments, active learning

 

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Journal Article

Semi‑Automatic Grading of Students’ Answers Written in Free Text  pp15-22

Nuno Escudeiro, Paula Escudeiro, Augusto Cruz

© Apr 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECEL 2010 special issue, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho, pp1 - 114

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Abstract

The correct grading of free text answers to exam questions during an assessment process is time consuming and subject to fluctuations in the application of evaluation criteria, particularly when the number of answers is high (in the hundreds). In consequence of these fluctuations, inherent to human nature, and largely determined by emotional factors difficult to mitigate, it is natural that small discrepancies arise in the ratings assigned to similar responses. This means that two answers with similar quality may get a different grade which may generate inequities in the assessment process. Reducing the time required by the assessment process on one hand, and grouping the answers in homogenous groups, on the other hand, are the main motivations for developing the work presented here. We believe that it is possible to reduce unintentional inequities during an assessment process of free text answers by applying text mining techniques, in particular, automatic text classification, enabling to group answers in homogeneous sets comprising answers with uniform quality. Thus, instead of grading answers in random order, the teacher may assess similar answers in sequence, one after the other. The teacher may also choose, for example, to grade free text answers in decreasing order of quality, the best first, or in ascending order of quality, starting to grade the group of the worst answers. The active learning techniques we are applying throughout the grading process generate intermediary models to automatically organize the answers still not fixed in homogeneous groups. These techniques contribute to reduce the time required for the assessment process, to reduce the occurrence of grading errors and improve detection of plagiarism.

 

Keywords: text mining, active learning, free-text assisted grading

 

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Journal Article

Active Learning: Engaging Students To Maximize Learning In An Online Course  pp107-115

Arshia Khan, Ona Egbue, Brooke Palkie, Janna Madden

© May 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp105 - 198

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Abstract

Student engagement is key to successful teaching and learning, irrespective of the content and format of the content delivery mechanism. However, engaging students presents a particular challenge in online learning environments. Unlike face‑to‑face courses, online courses present a unique challenge as the only social presence between the faculty and the student is via the Internet. In a recent poll conducted by the authors, 100% of the respondents considered student engagement a challenge regardless of the number of years they have been teaching online. This paper explores various strategies that can be incorporated into the design of online learning courses to foster a high level of student engagement based on multiple pedagogies. In addition, the role of collaborative student engagement tools for the design and delivery of online courses is discussed as well as the role these tools play in creating an atmosphere where students actively participate in learning activities and are contributors to lively discussions. Perspectives on various mechanisms of student engagement that are founded in classic active learning pedagogies and enhanced with new technologies are presented in this paper, including perspectives on the design of courses to facilitate student engagement as well as best practices of design and delivery of online courses. Finally, this paper emphasizes the importance of deliberate course design in the pursuit of actively engaging students in online course settings.

 

Keywords: active learning, higher education, student learning, student engagement, online course design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, frustrations

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1, ECEL 2010 special issue / Apr 2011  pp1‑114

Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho

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Editorial

Vaz e‑Learning is one of the most active fields of research and practice in Europe, in all the education and training sectors. The use of new and innovative technologies for learning is raising expectations and motivation between researchers, teachers, students and other education stakeholders.The European Conference on e‑Learning (ECEL) is an annual event that has been at the forefront of this revolution. It brings together groups of people in a variety of areas related to e‑Learning seeking to combine cutting‑edge research with practical, real‑life applications, in order to advance the state of e‑Learning around Europe.

The 9th European Conference on e‑Learning ‑ ECEL 2010 took place in Porto, Portugal. Porto is renowned for its historical City Centre (World Heritage) and its wine but also for being an innovation‑prone city which is an excellent environment for an e‑learning conference. This special edition of EJEL is dedicated to ECEL 2010.

With an initial submission of 220 abstracts, after the double blind, peer review process there were 97 papers published in the Conference Proceedings, an acceptance rate that places ECEL 2010 on the top of the conference quality rankings. The number of high‑quality submissions to the conference required a thorough process of selection by the session chairs and the editors to finally produce this edition of the journal. The selected articles cover different points of view of e‑learning from a more technological approach to a more pedagogical one.

The first set of articles is precisely concerned with technological aspects and in particular with the importance of computer aided assessment systems in the efficiency of e‑learning. Trevor Barker presents a study on the importance of automated feedback to provide good quality individual feedback to learners. He also demonstrates that these systems, by relieving the teachers from the exhaustive task of test marking can give them more time for communicating with students. Escudeiro and Cruz present a very innovative approach to the grading of students' answers in free text. Their work minimizes fluctuations in the evaluation criteria, improves detection of plagiarism, reduces the assessment process time and allows teachers to focus on the feedback to the students. Gütl, Lankmayr, Weinhofer and Höfler approach the design, development and validation of an automatic test item creation tool. This tool is able to extract concepts out of textual learning content and create different types of questions on the basis of those concepts.

To complete this more technically‑oriented view, Kurilovas, Bireniene and Serikoviene present a model and several scientific methods for the quality evaluation of Learning Objects (LOs). They pay special attention to their reusability level, in particular, when crossing linguistic barriers.

The second set of articles focus on pedagogical aspects of e‑learning and in particular, in students' related issues. Karin Levinsen presents new concepts related with e‑learning. She addresses the phenomenology of acquiring digital literacy and self‑programming in order to be able to identify relevant learning objectives and scaffolding.

Marques and Belo approach the profiling of student through their web usage habits. Through their investigations they can discover what students do, by establishing user navigation patterns on Web based platforms, and learn how they explore and search the sites’ pages that they visit. Nakayama and Yamamoto also address student issues by examining participants’ assessments made during the transitional phase in a learning environment which includes blended and fully online courses. O’Hara, Reis, Esteves, Brás and Branco focus on the effectiveness of learning through sports with the systematic integration of interactive situations in different contexts, with or without electronic devices. Sabey and Horrocks tackle the need for new electronic resources for health research for use within the context of a classroom taught course. They describe the process of developing an interactive resource incorporating a narrative element. Finally, Tuncay, Stanescu and Tuncay present a very innovative approach to the use of metaphors in e‑learning to reinforce communication between students and teachers.

As chair of ECEL 2010 and editor of this special edition of EJEL I feel privileged to have been in contact with such exciting thoughts, ideas and projects presented by the authors. It is now my pleasure to pass on to you this collection of articles, knowing for sure that they will motivate you to continue or even to start your research, development or use of e‑Learning as a major learning strategy. I also look forward to meeting you in Brighton, this autumn, for another fascinating ECEL conference.

 

Keywords: active learning, assessment, assessment in transition, automated systems, automated test item creation, blended learning, Clickstream analysis, computer-based assessment, design for teaching and learning, development, distance learning, e-assessment, eLearning, evaluation, evidence-based practice, feedback, free-text assisted grading, fully online learning, learning objects, lifelong learning, Markov chains, metaphors, multiple criteria decision analysis, narrative, natural language processing, Navigation paths analysis, networked society, nurse education, online learning, optimisation, quality evaluation, research methods teaching, reusability, self-directed learning, self-programming, skills acquisition, sport, student assessment, students, SurveyMonkey, task design, technology, text mining, web based elearning platforms, web usage profiling.

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 15 Issue 2 / May 2017  pp105‑198

Editor: Rikke Ørngreen, Karin Levinsen

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Keywords: active learning, higher education, student learning, student engagement, online course design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, frustrations, TESL students’ perceptions, hypermedia reading materials, reading comprehension, virtual containers, STEAM, Open Educational Resources, content distribution platforms, e-learning platform, foreign languages, multilingualism, idiomatic competence, e-learning; global health education; connectivity; bandwidth management; capacity building; educational technologies, Clicker technology, Facebook, and Wiley Plus, Web-based homework, behavioral intention, cognitive load, germane load, e-learning, instructional design, MOOC, online community, Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), Communities of Practice (CoPs), nonverbal communication

 

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