Journal of Computing in Higher Education

Adjusting sails for changing winds: exploring Reddit use for professional purposes in higher education

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Emerging practices of social media for professional purposes in higher education merit further attention. Reddit, a social media platform, is under-studied despite its significant presence. This study explores participation patterns on Reddit for two summer periods during 2019–2020, before and during COVID-19. We collected a total of 82,494 contributions from two subreddits, r/highereducation and r/Professors. Results show changes in contributions and interactions, with more consistent growth in r/Professors. Major topics discussed in both subreddits during summer 2020 had shifted from 2019, largely related to COVID-19. Findings are discussed with a community of practice lens, noting changes in participation and adjustment to the crisis. Additionally, we present implications for supporting and sustaining higher education professionals through Reddit during and after massive disruptions like those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Examining the effect of a genetic algorithm-enabled grouping method on collaborative performances, processes, and perceptions

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Group formation is a critical factor which influences collaborative processes and performances in computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). Automatic grouping has been widely used to generate groups with heterogeneous attributes and to maximize the diversity of students’ characteristics within a group. But there are two dominant challenges that automatic grouping methods need to address, namely the barriers of uneven group size problem, and the inaccessibility of student characteristics. This research proposes an optimized, genetic algorithm-based grouping method that includes a conceptual model and an algorithm module to address these challenges. Through a quasi-experiment research, we compare collaborative groups’ performance, processes, and perceptions in China’s higher education. The results indicate that the experimental groups outperform the traditional grouping methods (i.e., random groups and student-formed groups) in terms of final performances, collaborative processes, and student perceptions. Based on the results, we propose implications for implementation of automatic grouping methods, and the use of collaborative analytics methods in CSCL.

Post-secondary online learning in the U.S.: an integrative review of the literature on undergraduate student characteristics

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning had become a fundamental part of post-secondary education. At the same time, empirical evidence from the last decade documents higher dropout online in comparison to face-to-face courses for some students. Thus, while online learning may provide students access to post-secondary education, concerns about academic momentum and degree attainment dominate the higher education online learning landscape. Because course completion is often used as a measure of effectiveness, there is a strong need for institutions to be able to predict the potential persistence of online students to direct efforts towards ameliorating dropout. Yet currently, a widely tested and validated archetypical predictive model of retention and success does not exist for undergraduate online learning. This integrative review of the literature examines evidence gathered over the last decade, organizing and summarizing major findings, to help identify potential undergraduate student characteristics for inclusion in such a model. The body of literature collected in this review suggests ten factors for consideration.

A synthesis of surveys examining the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on students in Canada

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic numerous institutions around the world have surveyed students to gain an understanding of their experiences. While these surveys are valuable at a local institutional level, it is unclear as to which findings from individual surveys reflect the broader higher education environment, and which patterns may be consistent across student surveys. It is worthwhile to synthesize survey findings in order to explore patterns and potentially new understandings that may arise from such analysis. In this paper, we reviewed and synthesized 21 surveys examining the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on approximately 155,000 student respondents in Canada. Findings reveal that the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on students centered around (1) educational experiences, (2) mental health and wellbeing, (3) financial concerns, (4) impact on future plans, and (5) recommendations for future practice.

Instructors’ educational ICT use in higher education in developing countries: evidence from three Ethiopian Universities

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Developing countries exert much effort to improve the quality of their higher education. The use of information and communication technology (ICT) may address some of the quality problems in higher education in these countries. Previous studies on this topic stressed the impact of ICT use on learning, the status of ICT integration in education, and the factors associated with ICT integration with minimal attention to how instructors in higher education in developing countries use ICT. This study employed a qualitative approach, collecting data from twenty-one by then active instructors in three public universities in Ethiopia through focus group discussion to explore the educational use of ICT. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically using ATLAS.ti software. The results show that instructors in the selected Ethiopian universities use ICT for course facilitation, course materials preparation, professional development, assessment, and information and resource exchange purposes. However, these findings do not reveal a transformative use of ICT in education, which may imply that ICT is not used in a manner that alters existing teacher-centered approaches. This study suggests that future studies may focus on why instructors rarely use ICT in a transformative way and developing a tailor-made and efficient model that informs practice.

Enhancing students’ beliefs regarding programming self-efficacy and intrinsic value of an online distributed Programming Environment

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Several studies have explored the factors that influence self-efficacy as well as its contribution to academic development in online learning environments in recent years. However, little research has investigated the effect of a web-based learning environment on enhancing students’ beliefs about self-efficacy for learning. This is especially noticeable in the field of online distributed programming. We need to design online learning environments for programming education that foster both students’ self-efficacy for programming learning and the added value that students perceive of the tool as a successful learning environment. To that end, we conducted a quantitative analysis to collect and analyze data of students using an online Distributed Systems Laboratory (DSLab) in an authentic, long-term online educational experience. The results indicate that (1) our distributed programming learning tool provides an environment that increases students’ belief of programming self-efficacy; (2) the students’ experience with the tool strengthens their belief in the intrinsic value of the tool; however (3) the relationship between students’ belief in the tool intrinsic value and their self-efficacy is inconclusive. This study provides relevant implications for online distributed (or general) programming course teachers who seek to increase students’ engagement, learning and performance in this field.

Lessons learned from designing a curriculum analytics tool for improving student learning and program quality

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Curriculum Analytics (CA) emerged as a sub-field of Learning Analytics, aiming to use large amounts of educational data to drive curriculum decision-making and program improvement. However, it is still an open question how the use of CA tools impacts student learning and program quality. To advance this field, this paper describes the lessons learned from having designed and implemented a CA tool to help managers and teaching staff reflect on curriculum and teaching practices. This CA tool was developed under a design-based research approach called The Integrative Learning Design Framework. We implemented a two-cycle building-testing structure to evaluate the perceived usefulness and usability of this tool. The first cycle consisted of designing a first version of the tool and evaluating its use throughout a case study involving 5 managers and 124 teaching staff members who participated in a 3-year continuous improvement process in one Latin American university. The second cycle consisted of redesigning the tool according to the lessons learned during the first cycle and evaluating its use throughout workshops with 16 managers and 9 teaching staff members in two Latin American universities. Findings indicate that the CA tool helped teachers collect a greater number and variety of evidence regarding students’ attainment of competencies, allowing staff to be more aware of the learning situation of their students when redesigning course assessment methods and course sequences. Currently, this CA tool is being used by 20 Latin American universities, guiding curriculum renewal strategies beyond the current global pandemic.

Exploring the acceptance for e-learning among higher education students in India: combining technology acceptance model with external variables

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

The concept of e-learning has now become fundamental in student learning process. This concept becomes even more relevant in situations of global crisis such as that arising from COVID-19. Since this pandemic there have been tectonic shifts in the education sector. Effective implementation of e-learning in higher education depends on students’ adoption of this technology. So, this study aimed to identify the factors influencing the behavioral intentions and actual usage of students in adopting e-learning. Additionally, it also examined the mediation effects among different latent constructs. Based on technology acceptance model (TAM), an explanatory structural model of technology acceptance was tested along with introduction of three external variables. To do this, a quantitative investigation was conducted using an online survey of higher education students in India, obtaining 570 responses. The structural model was examined through the partial least square structural equation modeling. Results obtained make it possible to validate the proposed model as findings explains the 56.2% variance of actual usage. In addition, it shows the direct and indirect effect of all three selected external variables of personal innovativeness, social factors and self-efficacy on the main constructs of TAM. The findings of this study are relevant for the higher education management, administration, e-learning system developers, marketers and researchers for improving the effective usage of e-learning by developing more focused and customized learning solutions.

Can we do real inquiry online? Influence of real-time data collection on students’ views of inquiry in an online, multi-site masters’ degree on environmental education

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

In a previous study we detected that a number of inquiry stages (data collection, analysis and conclusions) went unnoticed by the students of an in situ joint online/onsite master’s degree via online teaching. In this paper we analyse the effect of improved instruction, in which students fully experienced and became aware of all the stages that comprise the inquiry-based teaching approach. In the article we show the differences between the initial and improved instruction. The comparison of student comments as exhibited in the online class diary forum between the initial and improved instruction has allowed us to analyse the influence of this improvement in the level of depth of the students’ discourse. Two codings have been employed to analyse the forums: the first (deductive) detected which stages of inquiry appeared in the comments. The second (inductive) involved the recoding of each of the previously classified comments based on five levels of communicative quality that emerged. Our main finding was that as well as being more aware of the different stages of inquiry, the students of the improved investigation were able to explain and identify them with specific examples. In other words, the investment of time in developing each of the stages in question helped them to define, afford reality to, and increase the explicative quality of their comments.

A measurement of faculty views on the meaning and value of student privacy

1 month 4 weeks hence
Abstract

Learning analytics tools are becoming commonplace in educational technologies, but extant student privacy issues remain largely unresolved. It is unknown whether faculty care about student privacy and see privacy as valuable for learning. The research herein addresses findings from a survey of over 500 full-time higher education instructors. In the findings, we detail faculty perspectives of their privacy, students’ privacy, and the high degree to which they value both. Data indicate that faculty believe privacy is important to intellectual behaviors and learning, but the discussion argues that faculty make choices that put students at risk. While there seems to be a “privacy paradox,” our discussion argues that faculty are making assumptions about existing privacy protections and making instructional choices that could harm students because their “risk calculus” is underinformed. We conclude the article with recommendations to improve a faculty member’s privacy decision-making strategies and improve institutional conditions for student privacy.

The use and application of learning theory in learning analytics: a scoping review

1 day 19 hours ago
Abstract

Since its inception in 2011, Learning Analytics has matured and expanded in terms of reach (e.g., primary and K-12 education) and in having access to a greater variety, volume and velocity of data (e.g. collecting and analyzing multimodal data). Its roots in multiple disciplines yield a range and richness of theoretical influences resulting in an inherent theoretical pluralism. Such multi-and interdisciplinary origins and influences raise questions around which learning theories inform learning analytics research, and the implications for the field should a particular theory dominate. In establishing the theoretical influences in learning analytics, this scoping review focused on the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK) Proceedings (2011–2020) and the Journal of Learning Analytics (JLA) (2014–2020) as data sources. While learning analytics research is published across a range of scholarly journals, at the time of this study, a significant part of research into learning analytics had been published under the auspices of the Society of Learning Analytics (SoLAR), in the proceedings of the annual LAK conference and the field’s official journal, and as such, provides particular insight into its theoretical underpinnings. The analysis found evidence of a range of theoretical influences. While some learning theories have waned since 2011, others, such as Self-Regulated Learning (SRL), are in the ascendency. We discuss the implications of the use of learning theory in learning analytics research and conclude that this theoretical pluralism is something to be treasured and protected.

Effects of technology enhanced peer, teacher and self-feedback on students’ collaborative writing, critical thinking tendency and engagement in learning

2 weeks 2 days ago
Abstract

Peer, teacher, and self-feedback have been widely applied in English writing courses in higher education. However, few studies have used technology to activate the potential of feedback in project-based collaborative learning or discussed how technology-enhanced peer, teacher and self-feedback may assist students’ writing, promote their critical thinking tendency, or enhance their engagement in learning, so we investigated them in this research. A total of 90 students, 30 in each group, participated in it. They reported their progress at four stages every other week, received peer, teacher, and self-feedback respectively for 10 weeks, and submitted their finalized review articles in week 14. Before the treatment, we evaluated the students’ writing proficiency and critical thinking tendency through a pre-test and a pre-questionnaire survey. After the treatment, we evaluated their collaborative writing products and conducted a post-questionnaire survey to measure their critical thinking tendency and behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement in learning. The results indicated that technology-enhanced peer and teacher feedback were significantly more effective than self-feedback in assisting collaborative writing; peer and self-feedback were significantly more effective than teacher feedback in promoting critical thinking tendency, enhancing behavioral and emotional engagement in learning; and teacher feedback was significantly more effective than self-feedback in enhancing cognitive engagement in learning. We also conducted semi-structured interviews to investigate their perception of the three feedback types and the technology-enhanced feedback-assisted collaborative writing experience. Most students enjoyed the writing experience and regarded the use of digital tools effective for its implementation. Based on these results, we suggest that teachers implement more technology-enhanced peer and self-feedback assisted collaborative writing.

Using chatbots to support student goal setting and social presence in fully online activities: learner engagement and perceptions

3 weeks 2 days ago
Abstract

Although fully online learning is now the ‘new normal’ in many parts of the world, its implementation is often beset by challenges such as the lack of student self-regulation, and the sense of isolation. In this paper, we explored the use of chatbots to support student goal setting (Study 1) and social presence (Study 2) in online activities. In Study 1, participants in a fully online course were invited to complete a goal setting activity prior to attending class via a goal-setting chatbot. The chatbot engaged participants with five questions developed based on the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goal setting framework. In Study 2, English-as-Foreign-Language participants in a fully online course were tasked to complete listening practices. The learning buddy chatbot was designed based on the social presence framework (interpersonal communication, open communication, cohesive communication) to guide students through listening exercises. In both Study 1 and 2, we evaluated participants’ behavioral engagement by measuring their conversation records with the chatbots, as well as participants’ perceived usefulness and ease of use of the chatbots. We also gathered in-depth interview data concerning the participants’ perceptions of interacting with the chatbots. Overall, our findings found positive learner experiences with both chatbots with regard to the chatbots’ perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. We also provided suggestions for instructors to apply chatbots in teaching and learning.

Flipped classroom: motivational affordances of spherical video-based immersive virtual reality in support of pre-lecture individual learning in pre-service teacher education

3 weeks 4 days ago
Abstract

Flipped classroom (FC) is a “blended” instructional approach that requires students to complete pre-lecture individual learning tasks in preparation for participating in related in-lecture peer learning activities. One of the critical problems of FC has been students’ lack of motivation to complete the assigned online pre-lecture tasks prior to attending the corresponding face-to-face lectures. Spherical video-based immersive virtual reality (SV-IVR), which can be produced without costly computing equipment and sophisticated technical expertise, is a technological tool with considerable potential for enhancing teaching and learning. This mixed-methods study was grounded in the instructional motivation theory of ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction). A total of 188 education students (i.e., pre-service teachers) who were generally knowledgeable about the pedagogical concept of FC evaluated the ARCS motivational affordances of SV-IVR in support of the pre-lecture stage of FC. These students were from teaching majors of (i) language education, (ii) social and humanities education, and (iii) mathematics and science education. The results indicated the participants across the 3 majors positively perceived SV-IVR as having desirable benefits on “A,” “R,” and “S,” but not “C.” This research provides new insights into adopting SV-IVR in FC, in particular, shedding light on leveraging this technological tool in pre-service teacher education.

Exploring the relationships between students’ network characteristics, discussion topics and learning outcomes in a course discussion forum

3 weeks 5 days ago
Abstract

Understanding the relationship between interactive behaviours and discourse content has critical implications for instructors' design and facilitation of collaborative discussion activities in the online discussion forum (ODF). This paper adopts social network analysis (SNA) and epistemic network analysis (ENA) methods to jointly investigate the relationships between students’ network characteristics, discussion topics, and learning outcomes in a course discussion forum. Discourse data from 207 participants were included in this study. The findings indicated that (1) the interactive network generated in the collaborative discussion activities was sparsely connected, and there was limited information exchange between instructors and students; (2) students’ discussion topics were mainly related to the learning content; (3) compared with the isolated group, students in the leader, mediator, and animator groups were more concerned about topics related to the learning content; and (4) students who discussed more topics related to the learning content performed better than the students who discussed more topics related to learning methods and social interactions. The learning outcomes of the influencer and leader groups were significantly higher than those of the peripheral and isolated groups. However, there was no significant correlation between students’ individual centrality and their learning outcomes. The findings enrich the ODF research on the comprehensive identification of interactive behaviours and discourse content in the process of collaborative discussion activities and on the discussion topic differences between different role groups. The study findings also have practical implications for instructors to design effective instructional interventions aimed at improving the quality of collaboration in the ODF.

The role of service quality in fostering different types of perceived value for student blended learning satisfaction

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

The present study aims to conceptualize service quality and perceived value in the context of blended learning by redefining and modifying the existing SERVQUAL model, reviewing prior marketing literature on perceived value, and examining the relationships between service quality, perceived value, and student satisfaction. The sample was restricted to colleges in South Korea, where blended learning programs have started to receive much attention. We examined our hypotheses by using regression analysis via the statistical programs Amos 22.0 and SPSS 23.0. The following results are produced. First, the conceptualization of service quality and perceived value was confirmed. Second, the different effects of online and offline service quality on each perceived value are confirmed. Offline service quality is more effective in generating perceived epistemic value, perceived social value, and perceived emotional value than online service quality, whereas online service quality is more effective in triggering perceived conditional value than offline service quality. Finally, perceived emotional value and perceived conditional value are the important determinants of student satisfaction. We address the theoretical implications that (1) service quality and perceived value are conceptualized through modification, refinement, and empirical testing and develop a multidimensional scale for service quality and perceived value, and (2) the sequential and causal relationships among service quality, perceived value, and student satisfaction are confirmed. Practically, we expect that our measurement scales for service quality and perceived value, which have high validity and reliability, can serve as diagnostic tools for blended learning program evaluation from students’ perspective.

Re-thinking the online distance instruction based on students’ feedback

1 month 2 weeks ago
Abstract

During the covid-19 pandemic, schools at all levels were often closed and online distance instruction (ODI) was applied. The main objective of this research was to discover the main didactic features of online distance instruction; and based on the collected data to define didactic recommendations towards improving the quality of the process. Five hypotheses were set that evaluated students’ opinions in the areas of teachers’ support for learners within ODI, types of sources exploited within ODI, means used for practising and fixing new knowledge within ODI, assessment of learners’ performance within ODI, and students’ feedback on ODI. In total, 272 respondents from upper secondary and higher education institutions participated in the research. Each respondent described the process of online distance instruction in two courses they selected of 64: (1) in a course that they appreciated, liked, enjoyed, and considered efficient from the point of view of their learning; (2) in a course that caused them discomfort in learning, as it was conducted in a way that did not suit them, and their learning did not bring the expected learning outcomes. Data were collected via a questionnaire; Chí-square test, adjusted residuals, and t test for comparison of means were calculated. Before the research started, teachers were trained in online distance instruction. Therefore, we expected that they will be competent in designing online distance courses and the courses will follow didactic principles. The results discovered significant differences in the frequency of occurrence of observed features in courses that received positive feedback compared to those having negative evaluation. However, some exceptions were detected.

Remote labs in higher engineering education: engaging students with active learning pedagogy

1 month 3 weeks ago
Abstract

In engineering education laboratories serve as experiential learning aimed at engaging students. The past decades saw an increased use of online laboratories, including virtual and remote labs. Remote labs, providing online interfaces to physical labs, allow students to conduct experiments with real-world equipment anywhere and at any time. However, this advantage challenges active student engagement. Little evidence is available on effective pedagogies for student engagement in remote labs. This paper aims to identify how a remote lab assignment based on active learning pedagogy in higher engineering education supports student engagement, with the overarching aim to promote students’ transfer skills from theory to practice. Our research question, “What impact does an active learning pedagogy have on students’ engagement with a remote lab?“, was answered with a case study of two courses on systems and control in higher engineering education. Data included digital traces, course evaluations, interviews, and observations. Students reported how remote labs, to be used anywhere at any time, require self-regulation and scheduling of experiments. However, accompanying open-ended lab assignments encouraged students to engage with the lab and the theoretical content of the course by creating a ‘need-to-know.’ Our results furthermore suggest the need for a structured arrangement of open-ended lab assignment, lab preparation, teamwork supporting peer learning and discussion, progress meetings focused on feedback and formative assessment, and reports focused on reflection. Engagement can be strengthened by support for students before and during the experiments, clear signposting about the experiment and lab set-up, and pre-structuring of lab activities.

The relations between self-reported perceptions of learning environment, observational learning strategies, and academic outcome

1 month 3 weeks ago
Abstract

This study investigated the relations between students’ self-reported perceptions of the blended learning environment, their observed online learning strategies, and their academic learning outcomes. The participants were 310 undergraduates enrolled in an introductory course on computer systems in an Australian metropolitan university. A Likert-scale questionnaire was used to examine students’ perceptions. The digital traces recorded in a bespoke learning management system were used to detect students’ observed online learning strategies. Using the data mining algorithms, including the Hidden Markov Model and an agglomerative hierarchical sequence clustering, four types of online learning strategies were found. The four strategies not only differed in the number of online learning sessions but also showed differences in the proportional distribution with regard to different online learning behaviors. A one-way ANOVA revealed that students adopting different online learning strategies differed significantly on their final course marks. Students who employed intensive theory application strategy achieved the highest whereas those used weak reading and weak theory application scored the lowest. The results of a cross-tabulation showed that the four types of observed online learning strategies were significantly associated with the better and poorer perceptions of the blended learning environment. Specially, amongst students who adopted the intensive theory application strategy, the proportion of students who self-reported better perceptions was significantly higher than those reporting poorer perceptions. In contrast, amongst students using the weak reading and weak theory application strategy, the proportion of students having poorer perceptions was significantly higher than those holding better perceptions.

An exploratory study on fade-in versus fade-out scaffolding for novice programmers in online collaborative programming settings

2 months ago
Abstract

Programming skills have gained increasing attention in recent years because digital technologies have become an indispensable part of life. However, little is known about the roles of fade-in and fade-out scaffolding in online collaborative programming settings. To close this research gap, the present study aims to examine the roles of fade-in and fade-out scaffolding for novice programmers in online collaborative programming. A total of 90 undergraduate students participated in the exploratory study and were assigned to 15 fade-in groups and 15 fade-out groups. All of the participants completed the same programming task. The findings reveal that fade-in scaffolding can significantly improve collaborative knowledge building, programming skills, metacognitive behaviors, emotions, and collective efficacy. Goal setting, planning, monitoring and control, enacting strategies, and evaluation and reflection are identified as the crucial metacognitive behaviors. The main contribution of this exploratory study is to shed light on how to design and implement scaffolding for novice programmers.