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

Supporting staff using WebCT at the University of Birmingham in the UK  pp1-10

Tracy Kent

© Nov 1999 Volume 1 Issue 1, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 50

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Abstract

At the University of Birmingham, Information Services, together with the Staff Development Unit and the Learning Development Unit have been working together to set up a number of initiatives to support staff to use WebCT to underpin its learning and teaching strategy within a flexible framework. The framework seeks to invest in developing appropriate skills and training for University staff to ensure that the quality of the content and the communication tools within the WebCT environment are fully exploited to enhance the student learning experience. Developments include the establishment of an e‑Learning module, team based projects from the Learning Development Unit and a WebCT training and support pathway.

 

Keywords: WebCT, Academic and support staff training, e-Learning in higher education, University of Birmingham

 

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Journal Article

Developing the Communities of Practice, Framework for On‑Line Learning  pp133-140

Pam Moule

© Jan 2007 Volume 4 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp111 - 148

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Abstract

Doctoral research considered whether healthcare students were able to develop characteristics of Communities of Practice when engaged in an interprofessional online module. Using a case study approach the research included two phases. Within phase one a questionnaire was administered to the group of 109 healthcare students. These were analysed to gain information on which to base sampling for the subsequent phase. Phase two employed three strands of data collection; five students completed an online diary, the online interaction of seven students was captured on a discussion board and three students were interviewed. Data were analysed using a form of pattern matching. The results suggested students were able to develop the essential elements of Communities of Practice. This was not uniformly seen however, and particular issues emerged for the online community. This paper focuses on discussing the contribution of the research to the development of the Communities of Practice framework for online learning. The discussion will review the main findings of the research, showing how these have led to the development of the theory. It offers an augmented framework, in which the elements of mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire are enhanced to include those facets necessary to support an online learning community. Finally, it is suggested that the augmented framework may have applicability to other professional groups engaging in online learning and working, with consideration given to how it might support e‑based communities.

 

Keywords: Online learning, communities of practice, higher education, case study research

 

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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

Exploring the e‑Learning State of Art  pp149-160

Evelyn Kigozi Kahiigi, Love Ekenberg, Henrik Hansson, F.F Tusubira Danielson, Mats Danielson

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

e‑Learning implementation is an area in progress that continues to evolve with time and further research. Researchers in the field argue that e‑Learning is still in its infancy, resulting into numerous implementation strategies across a wide e‑Learning spectrum. This paper explores the e‑Learning state of art. It provides a general overview of the learning process, evaluates some current implementation trends pointing out a range of frameworks and strategies used in the past decade. It further looks at the changes created by the adoption of e‑Learning within the higher education process. This is followed by an identification of emerging issues from which two problems are identified; 1) the limited uptake of technology as an instruction delivery method; and 2) the ineffective use of technology to support learning. In respect to this, future research should therefore seek to further investigate these aspects and to explore suitable approaches for effective implementation of e‑Learning to support learning. Not the least in higher education contexts.

 

Keywords: e-Learning learning, e-Learning implementation higher education, learning process, learning theories, learning methods

 

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Journal Article

Navigating the e‑Learning Terrain: Aligning Technology, Pedagogy and Context  pp217-226

Mandia Mentis

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3, Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz, pp161 - 254

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Abstract

Over the last ten years e‑learning has rapidly emerged as a potentially effective mode of higher education, but it is still unclear what factors are important in the design of an effective e‑learning course. e‑Learning has been described as being a "disruptive technology" that changes how learning is approached in higher education (Garrison and Anderson 2003). The extensive changes in the technologies over the last decade have the potential to influence the way we engage with knowledge, but the potential will only be realised if we integrate this with an understanding of learning, and design the use of e‑learning technologies accordingly within different contexts (Laurillard 2005). This paper explores the influence of the areas of technology, pedagogy and context on e‑learning practice in higher education. Three vignettes relating to e‑learning are presented which represent the shifts in technology and the tensions and influences of this on context and pedagogy. These vignettes provide the background context within which to discuss the design of an e‑ learning alignment guide (eLAG). This guide is a navigational tool, which offers e‑learning designers a perspective on navigating the e‑learning topography. It is devised to assist practitioners when navigating the changing and complex terrain of e‑learning and teaching. The key finding of this paper is that technology, pedagogy and context need to be closely aligned in order to realise the potential of e‑learning in higher education.

 

Keywords: e-learning, higher education, technology, pedagogy

 

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Journal Article

Weblogs in Higher Education — why do Students (not) Blog?  pp203-214

Monika Andergassen, Reinhold Behringer, Janet Finlay, Andrea Gorra, David Moore

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue, Editor: Florin Salajan and Avi Hyman, pp191 - 316

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Abstract

Positive impacts on learning through blogging, such as active knowledge construction and reflective writing, have been reported. However, not many students use weblogs in informal contexts, even when appropriate facilities are offered by their universities. While motivations for blogging have been subject to empirical studies, little research has addressed the issue of why students choose not to blog. This paper presents an empirical study undertaken to gain insights into the decision making process of students when deciding whether to keep a blog or not. A better understanding of students' motivations for (not) blogging may help decision makers at universities in the process of selecting, introducing, and maintaining similar services. As informal learning gains increased recognition, results of this study can help to advance appropriate designs of informal learning contexts in Higher Education. The method of ethnographic decision tree modelling was applied in an empirical study conducted at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Since 2004, the university has been offering free weblog accounts for all students and staff members upon entering school, not bound to any course or exam. Qualitative, open interviews were held with 3 active bloggers, 3 former bloggers, and 3 non‑ bloggers to elicit their decision criteria. Decision tree models were developed out of the interviews. It turned out that the modelling worked best when splitting the decision process into two parts: one model representing decisions on whether to start a weblog at all, and a second model representing criteria on whether to continue with a weblog once it was set up. The models were tested for their validity through questionnaires developed out of the decision tree models. 30 questionnaires have been distributed to bloggers, former bloggers and non‑ bloggers. Results show that the main reasons for students not to keep a weblog include a preference for direct (online) communication, and concerns about the loss of privacy through blogging. Furthermore, the results indicate that intrinsic motivation factors keep students blogging, whereas stopping a weblog is mostly attributable to external factors.

 

Keywords: weblog, blog, higher education, informal learning, ethnographic decision tree modelling, motivation research

 

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Journal Article

Interventions for Second‑Order Change in Higher Education: Challenges and Barriers  pp85-92

Sebastian Fiedler, Terje Väljataga

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

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Abstract

From 2005 to 2008 the international research and development project iCamp carried out a series of targeted educational interventions into existing teaching and studying practices within a cluster of European universities. These interventions were meant to establish educational experiences that would correspond with key features of international, distributed and technologically mediated work settings. The main educational objective was the advancement of important dispositions (skills, knowledge, attitudes and orientations) for collaborating with others and for self‑directing intentional learning projects in such settings. The large‑scale, homogenous and centrally administered landscapes of tools and services commonly provided in institutions of higher education proved to be conceptually and technologically incompatible with iCamp's overall intervention perspective. Instead, iCamp fostered the systematic use of loosely‑coupled, networked tools and services in the realm of social media and social software (such as Wikis, Weblogs, Webfeeds, etc.) to augment personal and distributed learning environments. The conceptual and technological shift provoked by iCamp challenged institutional representatives, facilitators, and students alike. This paper focuses on the description and interpretation of some key challenges, tensions, and barriers experienced by the research and intervention team in the context of the final field study carried out within the project. The paper finally suggests that the reported challenges and barriers represent re‑occurring problems in educational research and argues for the need to develop an adequate conceptual framework for educational intervention that focuses on second‑order change.

 

Keywords: educational intervention, social media, higher education, system change

 

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Journal Article

How do Students Measure Service Quality in e‑Learning? A Case Study Regarding an Internet‑based University  pp151-160

María Martínez-Argüelles, José Castán

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

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Abstract

This article discusses the importance of measuring how students perceive quality of service in online higher education. The article also reviews the existing literature on measuring users' perceptions about quality in e‑services. Even when there are a lot of articles on this matter, none of them focuses on e‑learning services, so this paper tries to fill that gap. The article proposes using the Critical Incident Technique to perform a qualitative analysis, which contributes to identify the main dimensions and categories that contribute to students' perception of service quality. A case study, regarding a completely online university, is presented and the proposed model is used to obtain some preliminary research results. Among these, key quality dimensions from a student point of view are identified. Some of these dimensions are: learning process, administrative processes, teaching materials and resources, etc. After discussing the research results, a list of recommendations for university managers is formulated. We believe that both the proposed methodology and the case‑study recommendations can be of potential interest for managers of several universities offering online higher‑education worldwide.

 

Keywords: online higher education, perceived service quality, critical incident technique, qualitative data analysis

 

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