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

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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Journal Issue

Volume 1 Issue 1 / Feb 2003  pp1‑50

Editor: Roy Williams

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Editorial

To paraphrase the old adage about the relationship between the US and the UK: when the dot‑com’s sneeze, e‑learning catches a cold. The shake out from the ICT dot‑coms crashes, exacerbated by 9‑11 and the US corporate governance scandals put a temporary damper on developments in the ICT and e‑learning sector. But a more realistic attitude to investment in the “knowledge/networked/ learning society” is surely a good thing.

This is a good time to step back and see where we are in e‑learning. So in November 2002 the European Conference on e‑learning was held at Brunel University in London. More than 40 academics and practitioners from the private and public sectors met to exchange ideas, from the Middle East, North America, and all parts of Europe. It was decided to launch an e‑journal to continue this discussion, to publish papers from the conference as well as from other contributors. This first edition of the Electronic Journal of e‑Learning (EJEL) includes a selection of papers presented at the conference. These papers reflect the challenging nature of designing, developing, managing and above all, evaluating e‑learning.

One of the benefits of the recent shakeout in ICT is that most people are now talking of blended learning – quite simply: using the media that are available, and no longer trying to squeeze everything through a not‑very‑broad‑band Internet, for instance. So, WebCD’s are OK, paper has its role, face to face training and learning is valuable, and the trick is to get the “blend” right. And there is still plenty that digitalisation will bring – in mobile/wireless technologies and broadband particularly. All of this is most welcome, and very healthy for the IT sector as well as for learning.

Research in e‑learning is now starting to provide a systematic critique of what might be called the first phase in the development of e‑learning. Up to now, much of the activity has been to get it up and running, to establish the three or four VLE platforms, at least one Open Source VLE – Bodington Common – (http://bodington.org/index.html) and to deliver the goods. That has been done. The second phase will be to develop the next generation of platforms, and provide more user‑friendly environments for learning, as opposed to just ensuring the delivery of courses.

But in order to do that, particularly in the current financial climate, we need to know what works, what fields e‑learning can be applied to, what other modes of communication and learning it fits best alongside – in a blended approach, and of course what it cannot do. We also need to know what it costs. It is crucial to realise that most e‑learning is just a new form of distance education, and that in all good distance education, the up‑front costs are considerable – it is front‑loaded as far as investment is concerned. And that investment is not just financial. The crucial element is to train and support staff and students who are making the substantial transition from face‑to‑face teaching and learning to e‑learning. As Tracy Kent writes in her paper, quoting from the JISC guidelines:

""the implementation of a VLE [Virtual Learning Environment] without significant investment in developing staff will almost certainly not produce good results"".

We welcome papers from anyone who has interesting empirical, theoretical or critical work that they would like to publish. We are also pleased to have case studies, reports on action research was well as reports on work‑in‑progress. All papers will be double blind refereed.

 

Keywords: e-learning, organisational learning, online learning, virtual learning, distance learning, knowledge, WEBCT, interactive, interactivity, distributed learning, blended learning, digital learning, knowledge management

 

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