This multiple case study investigated four university-level international students’ reading of digital texts on tablets. The study describes these students’ experiences with and strategies for mobile reading. The participants were four international students in the United States, and their first language (L1) was not English. The data were collected through observations, verbal reports, interviews, and field notes. The findings showed that participants had both positive and negative experiences using tablets for reading and that mobile reading facilitated their learning about their lives, language, culture, and technology. The study shows that the participants used six reading strategies: (a) setting up the purpose, (b) deciding what to read, (c) accessing a digital text, (d) dialoguing, (e) making a connection, and (f) using applications and digital literacy skills. The article discusses mobile reading, with a focus on strategies, affordances and processes, as well as cultural learning and empowerment.
Journal of Computing in Higher Education
Exploring how enrolling in an online organic chemistry preparation course relates to students’ self-efficacy
Self-efficacy has a strong influence on the learning and motivation of science students at the postsecondary level, especially in upper division science classes, which are key to student success in science majors. This empirical mixed methods research study (N = 205) examines the associations between students’ participation in an online preparation course and student self-efficacy in organic chemistry. Qualitative content analysis indicated that students benefited from the online preparatory course in the subsequent organic chemistry course series. The analysis of students’ clickstream data indicated that students with self-efficacy ratings in the top 10th percentile exhibited more frequent and consistent engagement with relevant course materials compared to students in the bottom 10th percentile. Notably, linear regression models indicated that participation in the online preparatory course was associated with higher long-term self-efficacy for first-generation college students. These results suggest that online preparatory courses may benefit some students’ self-efficacy in demanding science courses.
Investigating educational affordances of virtual reality for simulation-based teaching training with graduate teaching assistants
This study investigated the affordances and constraints of a VR-based learning environment for the teaching training of university graduate teaching assistants in relation to the task, goal-based scenarios, and learning support design. Seventeen graduate teaching assistants participated in a multiple-case study with an OpenSimulator-supported, simulation-based teaching training program. The study indicated that the VR-based learning environment fostered participants’ performance of interactive teaching and demonstrative instruction, while training them to notice and attend to students’ actions/reactions during the instruction. On the other hand, there is a competition between physical reality and functional intelligence in the VR environment. We propose the integration of experience, affordance, and learner analyses in planning and designing a VR-supported learning intervention.
Role of conjecture mapping in applying a game-based strategy towards a case library: a view from educational design research
Despite the prevalence of case-based reasoning in systems design, many of the established design principles are based on theory rather than empirical studies. This study describes the evolution of a case library learning environment and its transition to a game-based learning approach using educational design research (EDR). We discuss our iterative processes of design and development and situate these processes within the broader framework of educational design research. We discuss how the earlier versions of the problem-based learning environment were based on design principles extracted from case-based reasoning theory. Subsequent studies caused us to rethink the intersection of theory and design, along with its impact on learning outcomes. Using a variety of data collections (e.g. analytics, causal maps) and EDR strategies (e.g. conjecture maps), we identify the following new design principles based on CBR theory: emergent design principles that focused on optimal case length, mechanisms to prompt case retrieval and decision-making, and visual presentation. Implications for problem-based reasoning, case-based theory, and interface design are discussed.
Using texts generated by STR and CAT to facilitate student comprehension of lecture content in a foreign language
In this study, we applied a combination of speech-to-text recognition (STR) and computer-aided translation (CAT) technologies during lectures in English as a foreign language to facilitate student comprehension of the lecture content. The instructor lectured in English, the STR system generated texts from the voice input, and the CAT system then simultaneously translated the STR texts into the students’ native language. We aimed to test the feasibility of applying combined STR and CAT technologies to facilitate student comprehension of lecture content in a foreign language. To this end, we designed an experiment. Three groups with twenty students each were formed. All students attended the same lectures: (a) students in the control group attended lectures without any support, (b) students in experimental group 1 attended lectures with STR support (i.e., they were presented with texts in English generated from the instructor’s speech by STR), and (c) students in experimental group 2 attended lectures with STR and CAT support (i.e., they were presented with texts in their native language that were translated from English by STR and CAT). We compared the posttest results of the students in the three groups. We also explored the effects of our approach with respect to different levels of foreign language ability. Finally, we surveyed the perceptions of students in experimental group 2 about the usefulness of the translated texts for their learning. Our results showed that applying STR and CAT technologies together was a useful approach: the translated texts helped significantly improve student learning performance compared to that of the students in the control condition. Translated texts were beneficial for students, as the students were able (a) to confirm some words that were not clearly spoken by the instructor or to find the meaning of some words with which the students were not familiar and (b) to complement spoken lecture content with translated content to help information processing and enhance comprehension. When comparing students with different language abilities, we found that students with low language abilities benefited from the translated texts the most. The students’ language ability was significantly lower than that of the high-ability students before the experiment; however, the low-ability students’ learning performance showed no significant difference from the high-ability students after the experiment. Finally, most students perceived translated texts as useful for their learning, and they intended to use the texts in the future for learning purposes.
Despite the importance of preparing students to write successfully in their academic and professional careers, instructors often struggle to sustain student focus on the complex and demanding nature of the writing process. In response, we conducted a pilot project at a university located in urban Los Angeles using a wiki-enhanced and blended writing course designed to sustain appropriate learner engagement. This exploratory project (a) introduced the hybrid writing course, (b) tracked changes in student engagement levels (i.e., behavioral, affective, and cognitive) over the period of the wiki-enhanced writing course, and (c) measured the impact of engagement on writing performance. Multiple data sources (i.e., wiki log data, student surveys, and writing performance scores) collected from 56 students in three sections of the writing course were used to examine student experiences in the wiki-enhanced writing course. The findings showed that wiki-based online discussion improved behavioral, affective, and cognitive engagement. The relationships between the learner engagement domains were reciprocal, temporal, and changeable. Based on the findings of this study and our review of the literature, we proposed a theoretical model to describe possible relationships between behavioral, affective, and cognitive engagement and academic achievement.
The purpose of this study is to explore the pedagogical design of massive open online courses (MOOCs) using evidence-based e-learning principles. MOOCs have become an important part of discourse in higher education. However, there has been shared concern on the quality of MOOCs as learning systems for engaging learners as well as fulfilling their needs. The researchers conducted a design review of 40 computer science MOOCs from two major MOOC providers. The findings indicate a relatively low application of the principles in general, with the exception of those related to the organization and presentation of content. MOOC platforms and the difficulty level of MOOCs used the application of e-learning principles and guidelines differently. Implications for future research and design of MOOCs are discussed.
Vertical versus shared e-leadership approach in online project-based learning: a comparison of self-regulated learning skills, motivation and group collaboration processes
The purpose of this research is to examine the effect of vertical and shared e-leadership approaches on self-regulated learning skills, motivation and group collaboration processes (group cohesion, group atmosphere, and group transactive memory system) in online project-based learning. The study was carried out according to a factorial experimental design (2 × 2) and mixed methods approach was used. The study was conducted on 41 teacher candidates randomly assigned to vertical and shared e-leadership groups. As a data collection tool; Self-Regulated Learning Scale, Motivation Scale, Transactive Memory Scale, Group Atmosphere Scale, Group Cohesion Scale, and a semi-structured interview form were used. Research findings indicate that there is no statistically significant difference between vertical and shared e-leadership groups in terms of self-regulated learning skills, motivation and group collaboration processes. In other words, both leadership approaches were found to be useful in the management of groups in online project-based learning. The qualitative findings of the research reveal that there are some advantages and disadvantages in both approaches. In this context, the shared e-leadership approach is determined to be useful especially in terms of fostering the sense of belonging to the group by sharing the leadership role within the group, ensuring a fair distribution of responsibility and workload among the group members. The vertical e-leadership approach was found to be useful in providing communication, cooperation and coordination among the group members thanks to the group leader, ensuring the planned progress of the group works.
Students’ conceptual understanding and attitudes towards technology and user experience before and after use of an ePortfolio
EPortfolio use meets institutional reporting requirements and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate learning, showcase their strengths to future employers, and develop lifelong reflective practice. At the same time, ePortfolio use offers students repeated opportunities to develop the skills necessary for academic progress and participation in contemporary online professional environments. To ensure that any ePortfolio implementation is making a positive impact across these areas it is important to be informed about the users’ attitudes, conceptual understanding and achievements when using this pedagogical and professional tool. We report student ePortfolio use at an Australian regional university. The paper compares students’ conceptual understanding and attitudes towards technology and user experience before and after use of an ePortfolio. It provides an overview of pertinent literature, outlines the research context and methodology, followed by the comparison results. Its contribution to ePortfolio research and practice, and implications for educators and institutional decision makers are also discussed. These results highlight the importance of adopting innovative ways to reinforce the value of ePortfolio for students through external motivation until they adopt their career persona and become intrinsically motivated to embrace strategies and tools that facilitate their progression.
Correction to: Students’ conceptual understanding and attitudes towards technology and user experience before and after use of an ePortfolio
The original published version of this article unfortunately omitted data in Appendices 1 and 2.
Online video-recorded lectures have become an increasingly more important means for student learning (e.g., in flipped classrooms). However, getting students to process these lectures sufficiently to come to class well-prepared is a challenge for educators. This paper investigates the effectiveness of open-ended embedded questions for accomplishing that. An experiment compared a video-recorded lecture presented online with and without such questions. No feedback was given on responses to the questions. University students (N = 40) viewed the lecture, responded to a questionnaire on self-efficacy and usability, and completed a knowledge test. User logs revealed that the students engaged significantly more with the embedded questions lecture. Engagement was not related to knowledge test results, however. Uniformly high appraisals were given for self-efficacy, usefulness, ease of use and satisfaction. Mean test scores were significantly higher for the embedded questions condition. It is concluded that open-ended embedded questions without feedback can increase the effectiveness of online video-recorded lectures as learning resources.
Utilizing learning analytics in course design: voices from instructional designers in higher education
Studies in learning analytics (LA) have garnered positive findings on learning improvement and advantages for informing course design. However, little is known about instructional designers’ perception and their current state of LA-related adoption. This qualitative study explores the perception of instructional designers in higher education regarding factors influencing their intent and actual practice of LA approach in course design practice, based on analysis of multiple strategies such as focus group, individual, and email interviews. Most instructional designers admitted LA had great potential, but adoption was limited. Their perception, intention, and the current state of adoption are affected by individual differences, system characteristics, social influence, and facilitating conditions. Findings have imperative implications for promoting effective implementation of LA approach in higher education.
The flipped classroom gives students the flexibility to organize their learning, while teachers can monitor their progress analyzing their online activity. In massive courses where there are a variety of activities, automated analysis techniques are required in order to process the large volume of information that is generated, to help teachers take timely and appropriate actions. In these scenarios, it is convenient to classify students into a small number of groups that can receive dedicated support. Using only online activity to group students has proven to be insufficient to characterize relevant groups, because of that this study proposes to understand differences in online activity using differences in course status and learning experience, using data from a programming course (n = 409). The model built shows that learning experience can be categorized in three groups, each with different academic performance and distinct online activity. The relationship between groups and online activity allowed us to build classifiers to detect students who are at risk of failing the course (AUC = 0.84) or need special support (AUC = 0.73), providing teachers with a useful mechanism for predicting and improving student outcomes.
The virtual interactive consulting agent system is an online virtual career center that supports freshman students in transition to higher education. This virtual counseling system, based on accumulative empirical knowledge for working students and knowledge about effective career intervention, aims to guide first-year university students in combining study and work effectively. Three main aspects of career interventions are supplied by this virtual interactive consulting agent system: personal assessment, information, and personal encouragement and relatedness. The virtual interactive consulting agent is based on the SimCoach system. The current research includes two studies that examine acceptability and satisfaction from two perspectives: that of the counselors (the experts) and of the consultees (the target consumers). Both studies included 87 participants divided into two research groups: 45 counselors and 42 counseled freshman students. The data were collected through four data collection tools: acceptability and satisfaction questionnaire, an open-ended question, Google Docs, and screen recording applications. The participants’ answers were analyzed using quantitative software. The results show that the majority of the counselors were satisfied with the usability of the system but not with the process of counseling through the virtual agent, with some expressing concern about the impact on the profession. In contrast, most of the consultees were satisfied with the counseling process and some stated that the virtual agent helped them to determine how to integrate work and study more effectively.
High levels of digital media use have become a feature of university lectures. While certainly capable of supporting learning outcomes, studies indicate that, when media use is off-task, it presents as a disruption, distracting both users and those around them from academic tasks. In this study an exploratory, mixed-methods assessment of a media use policy for a semester-long course is presented. This policy divided the lecture theatre into two sections, one for those who wished to use digital devices and one for those who did not. Such a policy empowered students to leverage the value of media, if desired, while affording those who wished not to use media, or be disrupted by their peers’ use of media, a degree of protection from distracting cues. Findings indicate that those who consistently selected the same side performed better than those who moved from side to side. Two post-course focus groups revealed that, while having some limitations, the policy was well received by the participants and heightened their awareness of the possible distractions of off-task media use, enabling them to identify and maintain a strategy for their in-lecture attentional allocation and behaviour.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are among the latest e-learning initiative that have gained a wide popularity among many universities. Student dropout in MOOCs is a major concern in the higher education and policy-making communities. Most student dropout is caused by factors outside the institution’s control. In this study, a multiple-criteria decision-making method was used to identify the core factors and possible causal relationships responsible for the high dropout rate in MOOCs. Twelve factors, distributed across four dimensions, related to students’ dropout from online courses were identified from the literature. Then, a total of 17 experienced instructors in MOOCs from different higher education institutions were invited to assess the level of influence of these factors on each other. The results identified six core factors that directly influenced student dropout in MOOCs, these were: academic skills and abilities, prior experience, course design, feedback, social presence, and social support. Other factors such as interaction, course difficulty and time, commitment, motivation, and family/work circumstances were found to play a secondary role in relation to student dropout in MOOCs. The causal relationships between the primary and secondary factors were mapped and described. Outcomes from this study can offer the necessary insights for educators and decision makers to understand the cause–effect relationships between the factors influencing MOOC student dropout, thus providing relevant interventions in order to reduce the high dropout rate.
Learning management systems (LMS) offer quiz tools that help students prepare for examinations. The purpose of this study is to investigate quiz tracking variables typically reported by LMS in relation to student achievement, motivation and learning strategies. The data from 143 undergraduate students comprised quiz tracking variables (number of attempts, completion time, and score), exam scores and responses to the Need for Cognition Scale (NfC), and selected components from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire and the Achievement Goal Questionnaire. We hypothesized students retrieving information from memory while taking a quiz would complete the quiz in less time than students who searched for answers in the textbook, and consequently, quiz completion time would correlate with exam performance and key motivational and self-regulatory factors. We found quiz completion time correlated positively with performance-avoidance goal orientation. It correlated negatively with exam performance, NfC, self-efficacy, and effort regulation. The results indicated completion time of low stakes quizzes is associated with achievement-related motivations and reliably predicts achievement on summative exams. We attribute these links to the use of retrieval practice by students who successfully regulate their effort and learning strategies.
What do participants think of today’s MOOCs: an updated look at the benefits and challenges of MOOCs designed for working professionals
Literature on MOOCs has shown that understanding learners’ perspectives in taking MOOCs is critical if a MOOC needs to be successful. Now that MOOCs have been in wide use, in this study we took an updated look at learners’ perspective of taking MOOCs designed for working professionals and course aspects that these MOOC participants found beneficial. General interest in the topic, personal growth and enrichment, relevance to job, and career change were the top reasons for working professionals to enroll in MOOCs. First-time MOOC takers were more likely to seek a certificate, while MOOC veterans may complete most assignments but did not seek for a certificate. Quality materials from a reputable provider remains an important reason for working professionals to enroll in a MOOC. Offering meaningful ways for MOOC participants to interact with instructors and with each other calls for innovative designs than the current discussion forums in a learning management system can offer. This remains to be a big challenge for MOOC designers.
The acceptance of a personal learning environment based on Google apps: the role of subjective norms and social image
The international higher education system should be grounded in an educational approach in which teaching and learning methods aim to transform the student into an active agent in their learning process. The present study aims to learn how intention to use a personal learning environment based on Google applications for supporting collaborative learning is formed, in the context of university student learning. For this purpose, an expansion of the technology acceptance models was proposed including subjective norms and social image. The model was empirically evaluated using survey data collected from 267 students from a marketing management degree course, on which Google applications (apps) were used to design a learning environment to support project work and learning. The results show the suitability of the extended TAM to explain the intention to use Google apps as a personal learning environment in the university context. More specifically, subjective norms contributed to the indirect effect on the intention to use Google apps through social image and had a substantial positive influence on the social image. Meanwhile, social image had a significant positive direct effect on perceived usefulness. The results of the present study have a series of practical implications for the higher education sector.
Preservice teachers’ Web 2.0 experiences and perceptions on Web 2.0 as a personal learning environment
To explore students’ use of Web 2.0 tools and their perceptions of using Web 2.0 as a personal learning environment (PLE), quantitative surveys (n = 113) and interviews (n = 12) were conducted. In the survey, we identified that students already have familiarity with using Web 2.0 tools, as well as a positive attitude toward using Web 2.0 for learning. However, in the interview, students referenced challenges with using Web 2.0 in their PLE. The results imply that there are gaps between students’ perceived comfort and familiarity with using Web 2.0 tools and their readiness to be an active and successful designer for Web 2.0-based PLEs. This research also identified that there may be other factors influencing students’ building PLEs with Web 2.0 tools including the knowledge of different tools, the abilities of identifying learning objectives and learning styles, access to the tools, motivation, and knowing how to locate the correct information through students’ interviews.