How Instructors’ TPACK Developed During Emergency Remote Teaching: Evidence From Instructors in Faculties of Education
Higher education instructors tried to find best teaching ways during the pandemic. Instructors who were faced with emergency situations used various technologies to deliver their courses. In this study, an online survey was used to ask instructors about their experiences regarding their development of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) during emergency remote teaching (ERT); 231 responses were received from instructors from faculties of education. The survey was a five-point Likert-type scale include the dimensions of pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, technological knowledge, technological content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical content knowledge. Instructors rated their own non-technological knowledge (pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge) relatively higher than their knowledge including technology (technological knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological content knowledge). The findings indicate that instructors had a consistently high level of perceived knowledge in all TPACK dimensions. Regarding developments in instructors’ TPACK, several suggestions were made, including novel technologies and pedagogies specialized for ERT.
Instructor Leadership and the Community of Inquiry Framework: Applying Leadership Theory to Higher Education Online Learning
Higher education institutions continue to invest in online learning, yet research indicates instructors often lack experience, preparation, and guidance for teaching online. While instructor leadership is essential for meaningful online learning, few studies have investigated online instructors’ leadership behaviors. This study offers new insights into the conceptual and empirical alignment between instructor leadership, as interpreted through the dual lenses of organizational leadership theory and the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, proposing instructor leadership as foundational to the teaching and learning experience in a CoI. Specifically, the convergent mixed methods study investigated students’ (N = 87) and instructors’ (N = 7) perceptions of instructor servant leadership (SL) behaviors in an online graduate-level course designed to facilitate a CoI. Results demonstrate instructor SL behaviors were perceived differently by students and instructors, instructors’ self-perceptions were generally higher than students’ perceptions, and students’ perceptions of instructor SL were positively correlated with their satisfaction with the course and instructor. Implications offer insights into instructor leadership behaviors important for developing instructor leadership presence to facilitate meaningful learning and student satisfaction in higher education online learning.
Developing a Conceptual Model of Self-Directed Learning in Virtual Environments for Medical Sciences Students
Identification of key factors affecting the self-directed learning process in the virtual environment of medical education is vital. In this article, we designed a model that describes the self-directed learning process in the virtual learning environment for post graduate students of medical sciences in Iran. This study was carried out in two steps: first, using a qualitative study, we explored the formation of a self-directed learning process in the virtual environment. Second, a review of the literature was conducted to identify the conceptual models. Finally, based on the results, a self-directed learning model for virtual learning was developed. A total of 25 people were research participants in the qualitative part, and individual interviews were conducted with both faculty members and students. There were 1,049 codes, 80 subcategories, 15 categories, and 5 themes extracted from the interviews and through analysis. The themes included (a) backgrounds and requirements, (b) support, discipline, and coordination of the educational system, (c) students’ effort to manage to learn, (d) efficiency, attractiveness, and organization of educational environments and context, and (e) personal excellence, growth, and development. The self-directed learning process in virtual environments consists of some elements and structures, and a description of the relationship between these elements can be the basis of educational planning to develop and compile an effective evaluation of this skill.
Informal Practices of Localizing Open Educational Resources in Ghana
Research on the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) often notes the potential benefits for users to revise, reuse, and remix OER to localize it for specific learners. However, a gap in the literature exists in terms of research that explores how this localization occurs in practice. This is a significant gap given the current flow of OER from higher-income countries in the Global North to lower-income countries in the Global South (King et al., 2018). This study explores how OER from one area of the world is localized when it is used in a different cultural context.
Findings indicated complex encounters with decontextualized content and a variety of localization practices. Participants experienced challenges with technology due to low bandwidth and hardware problems, as well as language problems given Ghana’s history of colonial rule. Native speakers of Twi are less proficient reading Twi than their national language, English. As facilitators worked to overcome these challenges, they were most likely to informally localize content in intuitive ways during the class based on students’ needs. Informal, in-the-moment practices included translating content into Twi, persisting through technological challenges, using local stories and pictures, localizing through discussion, and teaching responsively. These findings have implications for designers to design collaboratively with technological and linguistic flexibility for localization. More research on the practice of OER localization would refine our understanding of how OER is localized and what barriers and affordances exist to this practice.
Exploring the Influence of Countries’ Economic Conditions on Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Participation: A Study of 3.5 Million MITx Learners
It is well known that there are disparities in access to education around the world, with developed countries generally having better educational resources and opportunities compared to developing countries. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been proposed as a way to bridge this gap by providing free or low-cost online education to anyone with an Internet connection. This study aimed to better understand the effects of location, both country and region, on the use of MOOCs, using data from 3.5 million learners who registered for MOOCs offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The data set provided a broad picture of how MOOCs are being used around the globe. The results of the study indicated significant differences in the use of MOOCs among students from different countries and their corresponding economic levels. In order to address these differences and improve access to education through MOOCs, the study suggested several actions that could be taken. These include providing better infrastructure and support for MOOC learners in developing countries, increasing awareness of and access to MOOCs in these regions, and working to improve the quality and relevance of MOOC offerings. Overall, the study highlighted the potential of MOOCs to bridge the educational gap between developed and developing countries, but also emphasized the need for continued efforts to remove barriers and improve access to these resources.
The UNESCO OER Recommendation: Some Observations From the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee
In this article, ambassadors of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Open Educational Resources (OER) Advocacy Committee (OERAC) provide a snapshot of regional and global Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives. This committee has been active since 2017 with membership renewed biannually. The ambassadors work to further OER awareness and understanding, to increase global recognition of OER, and provide policy support for the acceptance and application of OER. This overview highlights national and regional initiatives associated with the UNESCO OER recommendation and the five action areas that include: building capacity and leveraging OER; developing supporting policies; ensuring equity and effectiveness; encouraging sustainable OER model development; and, promoting and facilitating international collaboration. In addition, monitoring and evaluation of the action areas are suggested to be prioritized. This overview is not exhaustive, and much work remains to implement the OER Recommendation at scale, maximize its implementation, connect these recommendations to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), along with the futures of education with a new social contract for education, individuals, and the planet.
Stakeholder Perspectives on the Ethics of AI in Distance-Based Higher Education
Increasingly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an impact on distance-based higher education, where it is revealing multiple ethical issues. However, to date, there has been limited research addressing the perspectives of key stakeholders about these developments. The study presented in this paper sought to address this gap by investigating the perspectives of three key groups of stakeholders in distance-based higher education: students, teachers, and institutions. Empirical data collected in two workshops and a survey helped identify what concerns these stakeholders had about the ethics of AI in distance-based higher education. A theoretical framework for the ethics of AI in education was used to analyse that data and helped identify what was missing. In this exploratory study, there was no attempt to prioritise issues as more, or less, important. Instead, the value of the study reported in this paper derives from (a) the breadth and detail of the issues that have been identified, and (b) their categorisation in a unifying framework. Together these provide a foundation for future research and may also usefully inform future institutional implementation and practice.
Scrutinizing Learning Management Systems in Practice: An Applied Time Series Research in Higher Education
This study examined the use of Advancity Learning Management Systems (ALMS) and the Moodle Learning Management Systems (LMS) in learning settings, as well as online exams, within the framework of Transactional Distance Theory. With 146 college students (nfemale = 102, nmale = 44) as voluntary participants, data was gathered through an online questionnaire. A time series design was used for two different LMS sessions, and participants who voluntarily participated in ALMS and Moodle LMS sessions were matched. The findings revealed that while Moodle and ALMS both receive relatively similar assessment ratings for online exams, Moodle scored better in terms of learning setting. When factors of the Learning Management Systems Evaluation Scale (LMSES) based on Transactional Distance Theory were compared, the dialogue and autonomy factors were significantly higher for Moodle LMS than for ALMS. When online exams in the LMS were compared, there was no significant difference between ALMS and Moodle LMS, and for both LMS, the reliability factor was a determinant indicator than the other factors. As a result, in assessing and using an LMS, choices should be based on how well the LMS characteristics address an institution’s demands.
Critical Issues in Open and Distance Education Research
Despite its mainstreaming into the broader educational ecology, open and distance education (ODE) still leaves much to be desired in terms of both practice and research. Inspired and informed by the author’s 35 years of experience as an ODE practitioner, researcher, reviewer, and editor, this article concentrates on 10 critical issues of ODE research that have long existed but may have a consequential impact on its healthy growth. The issues discussed cover scarcity of longitudinal research, paucity of scaling-up and generalization research, preference for success over failure presented in research, the need for a systems approach, lack of sociocultural sensitivity, technologization of research, scant attention to ODE for the underprivileged and disadvantaged, insufficient research on ODE policy, negligence of historical research, and disinterest in revisiting ODE theories. The causes of these problems are critically interpreted and their possible negative impacts on the field of ODE are explored in a concise manner. The purpose of this article is to encourage further discussion and debate on ODE research to sustain its presence and acceptance as a legitimate mode of education in the wider educational community.
Book Review: Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning–Third Edition, authored by Anthony William (Tony) Bates (Tony Bates Associates Ltd., 2022)
Partnering Higher Education and K–12 Institutions in OER: Foundations in Supporting Teacher OER-Enabled Pedagogy
Open educational resources (OER) are disproportionately created and/or accessed by institutions of higher education as compared to K–12 even though teachers confront the challenge of outdated teaching materials or, worse, an increasing trend by school districts to discontinue textbook adoption altogether. In this paper, we describe a sustainable and innovative example of OER-enabled pedagogy (OEP) that partners teachers and students across institutional boundaries to address these problems. The Pathways Project (PP) is a higher education and K–12 community of 350 world-language teachers, students, and staff that engage in the 5Rs (retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute) of OEP with a repository of more than 800 OER ancillary activities that support standards-based pedagogy for 10 world languages and cultures. The PP is innovative because it fosters renewable assignments for the entire disciplinary ecosystem unlike most OEP studies that discuss renewable assignments limited to a single course. Teacher education is one of the best places to engage OEP because teachers are trained to personalize and contextualize OER materials for their local classroom needs. In so doing, the PP community receives timely discipline-specific professional development that is in high demand, especially in rural communities where teachers are isolated. Higher education-K–12 OEP partnerships are rare, and yet teacher education programs exist in most universities and can be a logical place to start. This paper provides concrete examples and practical steps that are transferable to other disciplines looking to engage in similar types of OER-OEP collaboration and community engagement.
Is My MOOC Learner-Centric? A Framework for Formative Evaluation of MOOC Pedagogy
MOOCs popularly support the diverse learning needs of participants across the globe. However, literature suggests well-known scepticism regarding MOOC pedagogy which questions the effectiveness of the educational experience offered by it. One way to ensure the quality of MOOCs is through systematic evaluation of its pedagogy with the goal to improve over time. Most existing MOOCs’ quality evaluation methods do not account for the increasing significance of learner-centric pedagogy towards providing a richer learning experience. This paper presents a MOOC evaluation framework (MEF), designed with a strong pedagogical basis underpinned by theory and MOOC design practices, which evaluates the integration of learner-centric pedagogy in MOOCs. Using mixed-methods research, the internal validation was conducted through expert reviews (N = 2), and external validation (N = 13) was conducted in the field to test model usability and usefulness. The framework was classified as “good” (SUS: 78.46) in terms of usability. A high perception of usefulness (84%–92%) was observed for the framework as a formative evaluation tool for assessing the integration of learner-centric pedagogy and bringing a positive change in MOOC design. Different participants acknowledged new learning from varied dimensions of the framework. Participants also recognized that the scores obtained using the MEF truly reflected the efforts taken to incorporate learner-centric design strategies in the evaluated dimensions. The framework focuses on learner-centric evaluation of MOOC design with a goal to facilitate improved pedagogy.
Predicting Online Learning Success Based on Learners’ Perceptions: The Integration of the Information System Success Model and the Security Triangle Framework
Although online learning has become ubiquitous worldwide, earlier research has neglected the relationship between its actual use and security concerns. Learners’ lack of security awareness while using learning technologies remains rarely studied. This paper integrates Delone and McLean’s information system success (D&M-ISS) model with the security triangle framework. Data from 2,451 higher education students at different universities and a wide variety of disciplines in Iraq were collected. In addition to the effectiveness of the D&M-ISS factors, the research findings based on the structural equation model suggest that the three constructs of the security triangle framework—namely, confidentiality, integrity, and availability—were significant predictors of students’ use of online learning. This research can thus help academic organizations understand factors that can lead to the successful implementation of online learning and learners’ security awareness.