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

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

Enhanced Approach of Automatic Creation of Test Items to foster Modern Learning Setting  pp23-38

Christian Gutl, Klaus Lankmayr, Joachim Weinhofer, Margit Hofler

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

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Abstract

Research in automated creation of test items for assessment purposes became increasingly important during the recent years. Due to automatic question creation it is possible to support personalized and self‑directed learning activities by preparing appropriate and individualized test items quite easily with relatively little effort or even fully automatically. In this paper, which is an extended version of the conference paper of Gütl, Lankmayr and Weinhofer (2010), we present our most recent work on the automated creation of different types of test items. More precisely, we describe the design and the development of the Enhanced Automatic Question Creator (EAQC) which extracts most important concepts out of textual learning content and creates single choice, multiple‑choice, completion exercises and open ended questions on the basis of these concepts. Our approach combines statistical, structural and semantic methods of natural language processing as well as a rule‑based AI solution for concept extraction and test item creation. The prototype is designed in a flexible way to support easy changes or improvements of the above mentioned methods. EAQC is designed to deal with multilingual learning material and in its recent version English and German content is supported. Furthermore, we discuss the usage of the EAGC from the users’ viewpoint and also present first results of an evaluation study in which students were asked to evaluate the relevance of the extracted concepts and the quality of the created test items. Results of this study showed that the concepts extracted and questions created by the EAQC were indeed relevant with respect to the learning content. Also the level of the questions and the provided answers were appropriate. Regarding the terminology of the questions and the selection of the distractors, which had been criticized most during the evaluation study, we discuss some aspects that could be considered in the future in order to enhance the automatic generation of questions. Nevertheless the results are promising and suggest that the quality of the automatically extracted concepts and created test items is comparable to human generated ones.

 

Keywords: e-assessment, automated test item creation, distance learning, self-directed learning, natural language processing, computer-based assessment

 

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Journal Article

Principled Assessment Strategy Design for Online Courses and Programs  pp107-119

Janet McCracken, Sunah Cho, Afsaneh Sharif, Brian Wilson, Jeff Miller

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

As the demand for online learning environments grow in higher education, so does the need for systematic application of learning and educational theory to the design, development and delivery of assessment strategies within these environments. However, there is little guidance in the form of principled design frameworks that can assist the design practitioner in the development of online assessment strategies. From four cases, we have identified six design principles that represent the collective experience of our team of design practitioners in creating assessment strategies for online teaching and learning environments; (a) technology affordances, (b) alignment of objectives with assessment, (c) discipline‑specific practices and approaches, (d) meaningful and timely feedback, (e) authenticity and transferability and (f) transparency of assessment criteria. We present in‑situ qualitative case studies that articulate how these principles have informed our design practice in online assessment strategy development.

 

Keywords: online assessment, distance learning, design principles, assessment design, case studies

 

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Journal Article

The Role of Open Access and Open Educational Resources: A Distance Learning Perspective  pp97-105

Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Jon Gregson

© Feb 2015 Volume 13 Issue 2, ICEL2014, Editor: Paul Griffiths, pp57 - 148

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Abstract

Abstract: The paper explores the role of Open Access (in licensing, publishing and sharing research data) and Open Educational Resources within Distance Education, with a focus on the context of the University of London International Programmes. We repo rt on a case study where data were gathered from librarians and programme directors relating to existing practice around Open Access; the major constraints in using Open Educational Resources and the main resource implications, when adopting Open Educatio nal Resources, were also investigated. Our aim was to (a) raise awareness and understanding of what is possible to achieve in higher education by embracing the Open Access movement (b) identify next steps and actions that could be taken to improve ins titutional use of Open Access materials, including Open Educational Resources, (c) examine the implications of such actions for Open Distance Learning and generally the higher education sector. Our investigation highlighted some opportunities and the fi ndings resulted into some clear recommendations that emerged from our investigation both for practitioners and for students in this area. There seems to be a clear synergy between the different but related movements of Open access and OERs as both have to address issues of ease of access, quality and visibility in order to become accepted in higher education.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Open Access, Open Educational Resources, Open Education, open and distance learning, Open Access publishing and licensing, digital scholarship

 

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Journal Article

Moodle as an ODL teaching tool: A Perspective of Students and Academics  pp282-290

Nurkhamimi Zainuddin, Rozhan Idrus, Ahmad Farid Mohd Jamal

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 4, Editor: Guest Editors, Rozhan M. Idrus and Nurkhamimi Zainuddin, pp233 - 290

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Abstract

This article describes the use of Moodle as a suitable platform to support the postgraduate open and distance learning (ODL) courses offered by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). Many USIM postgraduate students who take obligatory courses (e.g., research methodology and data analysis) are taught at different venues to facilitate students’ access to higher education and enhance quality of lifelong learning. Managing this complex teaching network has called for the adaptation of Moodle platform. This approach meets two relevant requirements, (a) to ensure consistency, compliance, and quality of teaching, (b) to reduce educational costs, which largely depend on the number of peripheral venues for teaching activities. This article analyses the functionalities of the Moodle platform and its use among USIM postgraduate students and academics. The data was collected based on content analysis via questionnaire applied to 18 USIM ODL postgraduate students and 4 lecturers. The results show that despite having great potential, Moodle is mainly used as a repository for materials. Moreover, lecturers recognize the importance of the use of other functionalities of this platform in order to promote the success of the teaching and learning process.

 

Keywords: open and distance learning, learning management systems, pedagogical tools, postgraduate courses, higher education

 

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Journal Article

An e‑Learning Team’s Life On and Offline: A Collaborative Self‑Ethnography in Postgraduate Education Development  pp33-45

Alison Clapp

© Apr 2017 Volume 15 Issue 1, Editor: Robert Ramberg, pp1 - 103

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Abstract

This paper primarily discusses the methodology of a case study into interactions and working practices of an e‑learning team, on and offline. Although several ethnographies have been published on online learning, there are apparently none involving communities developing courses. This is a unique insight, bringing a new view of course and staff development. The e‑learning team develops courses in the Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School in a UK higher education institution. Interactions occur online and offline, the team’s workplace ‘setting’. The ethnography is to inform future staff development by analysing interaction outside the team with the subject specialists, generally time‑poor clinicians and research scientists who have varied experience of e‑learning, but are required to provide course content and to teach their subjects in online distance learning courses. Records kept by team members were enlarged upon via weekly interviews and collated by a team member who developed a narrative, subsequently coded into content themes. The main themes were technology, pedagogy and communication. Conversation analysis provided theories on methods useful in staff development for later action research. Consideration was also given to issues of power within the interactional relationships. The paper discusses challenges and strengths of this collaborative self‑ethnography as a research methodology in this e‑learning setting. It was concluded that collaborative self‑ethnography is a highly suitable research methodology for this type of study.

 

Keywords: E-Learning team, online distance learning, ethnography, staff development, pedagogy, technology, communication, power, Foucault

 

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Journal Article

Bridging the Gap — Taking the Distance out of e‑Learning  pp42-51

Peter Karlsudd, Yael TÃ¥gerud

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

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Abstract

In order to promote closer relations between two existing academic environments — on‑campus and distance learning — a pedagogical intervention was made aiming to raise the level of competence and awareness among faculty regarding flexible learning and the use of ICT in higher education. The intervention was a process‑oriented pedagogical effort based on collaborative learning and cross‑institutional cooperation. Teacher teams worked to enhance flexible learning in either new or existing courses. The intervention resulted in more teachers getting involved in flexible learning. At the same time several problems surfaced indicating the need for further competence development efforts in order to further promote flexible learning environments.

 

Keywords: distance learning, flexible learning, higher education, ICT, information and communication technology, pedagogical development

 

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Journal Article

Evaluating the Impact of Distance Learning Support Systems on the Learning Experience of MBA Students in a Global Context  pp51-62

Yongmei Bentley, Anjali Shegunshi, Mike Scannell

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

This paper reports the findings from an investigation into the distance learning support systems of a UK University's overseas MBA programme. This programme is provided to several countries around the world in alliance with the overseas' local higher educational institutions (HEIs), and is delivered primarily via online courses, but also with periods of face‑to‑face teaching by both UK and local staff. The aim of the research was to evaluate the learning support mechanisms that are used to deliver this programme overseas, and to determine their impact on the learning experience of the MBA students. The primary research method was questionnaire surveys which were conducted over two periods: April — July 2008, and January — March 2009. The first survey showed a high level of satisfaction with the MBA programme as delivered, but also indicated areas that could see further improvement. The impacts of programme changes were examined in the second survey which revealed students' improved satisfaction with the programme after the implementation of the changes in the programme support systems. The outcomes of this research have not only helped improve the learning support systems and enhanced the quality of this particular programme, but could also help provide guidelines for other HEIs that offer, or intend to offer, blended learning courses globally.

 

Keywords: distance learning, support systems, MBA, questionnaire survey, learning experience

 

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