Journal of Computing in Higher Education

Extending social presence theory: social presence divergence and interaction integration in online distance learning

1 week 3 days ago
Abstract

Social presence is an important concept for understanding psychosocial processes in learning scenarios that make extensive use of mediated communication like online distance learning. Despite this centrality, a coherent and nuanced theory of social presence is yet to emerge from the literature. Past research has shown associations with desirable affective variables like satisfaction and perceived learning, yet our knowledge as to when and for whom these effects are expected is still very limited. By introducing two contextual explanatory variables, we provide the means toward a more mature theory of social presence. The first variable, social presence divergence, relates students experiences to their preferences, yielding three distinct scenarios: too little, too much, and just the right amount of social presence. The second variable, interaction integration, considers the centrality of social interaction in the learning scenario, suggesting that this functions as a moderator. In a sample of teacher education students (N = 305), we find evidence that these variables interact with social presence and affective dependent variables as expected. These results add nuance and context to the discussion about the practical relevance of social presence. The implications of these findings as well as limitations of this study are discussed.

A call to action for eProfessionalism: developing the use of ePortfolio with emerging health and education practitioners

2 weeks 6 days ago
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify educational, technological, and professional consequences of ePortfolio use that were intended, unintended, positive and negative. Ethical approval was obtained from seven universities in accordance with institutional guidelines established in accordance with Australia’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. A mixed methods design was employed to survey staff and invite them to participate in a focus group or interview. Online questionnaires were distributed across seven universities to 22 volunteer respondents drawn from academic teachers in both disciplines. Following completion and quantification of questionnaire data, respondents were invited to participate in a either a focus group or interview with one of the researchers. Merton’s sociological model was adopted in the study as it informed a conceptual framework used to examine the impact of unintended consequences that emerged when building a professional online presence. This theory was used to identify the full range of ePortfolio learning and teaching practices emerging as a multi-function, complex system, within domains and purpose of ePortfolios such as information systems, health or education disciplines. Results indicated a significant challenge, namely there is no single set of guidelines that would support teachers and students when engaging in learning and teaching activities to improve protection of private data relating to vulnerable people. Digital literacy of academics and students is variable and may impact on data privacy. Data gathered will be used to inform development of guidelines on the use and publication of information collected in ePortfolios to protect vulnerable people.

An analysis of learning analytics in personalised learning

3 weeks 1 day ago
Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of learning analytics practices which aimed to achieve personalised learning. It addresses the need for a systematic analysis of the increasing amount of practices of learning analytics which are targeted at personalised learning. The paper summarises and highlights the characteristics and trends in relevant learning analytics practices, and illustrates their relationship with personalised learning. The analysis covers 144 related articles published between 2012 and 2019 collected from Scopus. The learning analytics practices were analysed from the dimensions of what (learning context, learning environment, and data collected), who (stakeholder), why (objective of learning analytics, and personalised learning goal), and how (learning analytics method), as well as their outcomes and limitations. The results show the diversified contexts of learning analytics, with the major ones being tertiary education and online learning. The types of data for learning analytics, which have been increasingly collected from online and emerging learning environments, are mainly related to the learning activities, academic performance, educational background and learning outcomes. The most frequent types of learning analytics objectives and personalised learning goals are enhancing learning experience, providing personal recommendations and satisfying personal learning needs. The learning analytics methods have commonly involved the use of statistical tests, classification, clustering and visualisation techniques. The findings also suggest the areas for future work to address the limitations revealed in the practices, such as investigating more cost-effective ways of offering personalised support, and the transforming role of teachers in personalised learning practices.

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

3 weeks 1 day ago
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.

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

3 weeks 5 days ago
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.

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

3 weeks 5 days ago
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.

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

4 weeks 1 day ago
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.

Examining key factors of beginner’s continuance intention in blended learning in higher education

1 month ago
Abstract

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, blended learning became exceptionally widespread, especially in higher education. As a result, many college students became beginners in this learning method. To identify key factors that impact beginners’ continuance intention in blended learning, this study surveyed 1845 first-year college students at a university in central China in the falls of 2020 and 2021 who used blended learning for the first time. Structural equation modeling was employed to verify a model that integrates intrinsic motivation and academic self-efficacy in the Expectation-Confirmation Model of Information System Continuance. The results show that performance expectancy, intrinsic motivation, and satisfaction significantly impact beginners’ continuance intention in blended learning. Moreover, performance expectancy, intrinsic motivation, and confirmation significantly impact beginners’ continuance intention through mediating variable satisfaction. Academic self-efficacy does not directly impact college students’ continuance intention but indirectly impacts their continuance intention through intrinsic motivation. Finally, this study provides suggestions for educators to improve beginners’ blended learning experience thus promoting their continuance intention in blended learning.

Exploring collaborative problem solving in virtual laboratories: a perspective of socially shared metacognition

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

Socially shared metacognition is important for effective collaborative problem solving in virtual laboratory settings, A holistic account of socially shared metacognition in virtual laboratory settings is needed to advance our understanding, but previous studies have only focused on the isolated effect of each dimension on problem solving. This study thus applied learning analytics techniques to develop a comprehensive understanding of socially shared metacognition during collaborative problem solving in virtual laboratories. We manually coded 126 collaborative problem-solving scenarios in a virtual physics laboratory and then employed K-Means clustering analysis to identify patterns of socially shared metacognition. Four clusters were discovered. Statistical analysis was performed to investigate how the clusters were associated with the outcome of collaborative problem solving and also how they related to the difficulty level of problems. The findings of this study provided theoretical implications to advance the understanding of socially shared metacognition in virtual laboratory settings and also practical implications to foster effective collaborative problem solving in those settings.

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

1 month 2 weeks ago
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.

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

1 month 4 weeks ago
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.

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

2 months ago
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.

Virtual clinical assessment in medical education: an investigation of online conference technology

2 months ago
Abstract

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, medical education institutions were suddenly and unexpectedly faced with making significant changes in delivering their clinical assessments to comply with social distancing requirements and limited access to clinical education centres. Seeking a potential solution to these new circumstances, we designed, implemented and evaluated an online virtual OSCE, as a ‘proof of concept’ intervention study. Our qualitative research involved document analysis of the stages of decision-making and consultation in designing the intervention, and thematic analysis based on the perspectives and experiences of the key stakeholders (final year students, clinical examiners, simulated patients and faculty staff who acted as station assistants), gathered through surveys with Likert-scale questions and free text comments, and online discussion groups which were recorded and transcribed. From our analysis, we identified four themes: optimising assessment design for online delivery, ensuring clinical authenticity, recognising and addressing feelings and apprehensions, and anticipating challenges through incident planning and risk mitigation. Through the data gathered at each stage of the intervention, and the involvement of key stakeholders in the design and evaluation, our study highlights examples of effective practice for future applications of online technologies in assessment, provides guidance for designing and implementing online virtual assessment, and lays a foundation for comparative, longitudinal research on the significant and increasing roles played by technology in healthcare professional education and practice.

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

2 months ago
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.

How does Dental Students’ expertise influence their clinical performance and Perceived Task load in a virtual Dental Lab?

2 months 2 weeks ago
Abstract

The purposes of this study were (1) to introduce a virtual dental lab designed to support students’ virtual clinical examinations in a dentistry program in South Korea and (2) to determine how dental students’ levels of expertise (low, medium, or high) influence their clinical performance in terms of dwell time on each tooth location, total examination time, and perceived task load in the virtual dental lab. A total of 93 students participated in the study. Participants were assigned to one of three groups based on their expertise levels and performed virtual reality simulation tasks of detecting and diagnosing dental caries in two clinical cases. The outcome variables were participants’ clinical examination performance (total dwell time on the virtual dental mirror and total examination time) and perceived task load (separated into six subcomponents: mental demands, physical demands, temporal demands, effort, performance, and frustration). The results suggest that the level of expertise significantly affected the performance of dental examinations in all areas except the anterior maxillary teeth. Both total dwell time on the dental mirror and total examination time were significantly shorter for the high expertise group than for the medium and low expertise groups. In addition, the high expertise group rated task load significantly lower for mental demands (p < .05, Cohen’s d = 0.70) and effort (p < .05, Cohen’s d = 0.75) than did the low expertise group.

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

2 months 2 weeks ago
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.

The COVID-19 pandemic and E-learning: challenges and opportunities from the perspective of students and instructors

2 months 3 weeks ago
Abstract

The spread of COVID-19 poses a threat to humanity, as this pandemic has forced many global activities to close, including educational activities. To reduce the spread of the virus, education institutions have been forced to switch to e-learning using available educational platforms, despite the challenges facing this sudden transformation. In order to further explore the potentials challenges facing learning activities, the focus of this study is on e-learning from students’ and instructor’s perspectives on using and implementing e-learning systems in a public university during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study targets the society that includes students and teaching staff in the Information Technology (IT) faculty at the University of Benghazi. The descriptive-analytical approach was applied and the results were analyzed by statistical methods. Two types of questionnaires were designed and distributed, i.e., the student questionnaire and the instructor questionnaire. Four dimensions have been highlighted to reach the expected results, i.e., the extent of using e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, advantages, disadvantages and obstacles of implementing E-learning in the IT faculty. By analyzing the results, we achieved encouraging results that throw light on some of the issues, challenges and advantages of using e-learning systems instead of traditional education in higher education in general and during emergency periods.

Grappling with professional ethics in instructional technology by participating in an online service-learning course

2 months 3 weeks ago
Abstract

In this qualitative study, we engaged in a narrative inquiry to examine what graduate students in an online service-learning course grappled with while learning about professional ethics in instructional technology. This study took place in a service-learning partnership between community partners, students, and the course instructor. Students in the course worked collaboratively to address a design problem identified by community partners. Our research question was: In an online graduate-level instructional technology service-learning course, what do participants grapple with when learning about professional ethics through shared experiences? Eighteen students volunteered to participate in this study from three iterations of the course. Data included student narratives shared in synchronous and asynchronous discussions as well as written reflections. Narrative data was analyzed with the constant comparative method (Charmaz in Constructing grounded theory, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2014; Corbin & Strauss in Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2014) using NVivo 12, a qualitative research data analysis tool. The findings from this study indicated that, while engaging in authentic ethical problem-solving within the context of an online service-learning course, participants grappled with ethical challenges, leadership, reflecting on experiences, legal issues, and social responsibility.

Design of peer assessment rubrics for ICT topics

2 months 3 weeks ago
Abstract

Peer evaluation consists of the evaluation of students by their peers following criteria or rubrics provided by the teacher, where the way to evaluate students is specified so that they achieve the desired competencies. The quality of the measurement instrument must meet two essential criteria: validity and reliability. In this research, we explored the educational value of peer evaluation rubrics by analyzing the quality of the rubric through the study of content validity, reliability, and internal consistency. Our main purpose was to design an appropriate rubric to grade tasks in the field of information engineering, as well as performing content validation through a group of experts. It was carried out in three phases: 1) construction of a rubric, with its criteria, characteristics, and levels of achievement; 2) content validation by five experts in the field, and 3) application of the rubric to ascertain students' perceptions and satisfaction with its validity. The relevance of the criteria and the definition of their characteristics obtained a score higher than 3.75/4 on a Likert scale. The content validity values (CVR), content validity index (CVI), and general content validity index (GIVC) gave maximum values of + 1. The results obtained indicate that the rubric is adequate, with Aiken’s V higher than V 0.87 in all its criteria. The rubric was applied to 326 students of 4 subjects. Cronbach's alpha was used to calculate the reliability of the rubric, obtaining a value of 0.839. The students' perception of validity and satisfaction with the rubric was higher than 0.78. As future work, we intend to design a rubric validation engine according to the applied procedure.

The design and development of an open educational resources intervention in a college course that manifests in open educational practices: a design-based research study

2 months 3 weeks ago
Abstract

Shifting from open educational resources (OER) to open educational practices (OEP) is the next stage in the OER movement, but there have been few attempts to understand how the next phase in this movement will be achieved. Addressing this question can uncover the potential benefits of OER besides cost reduction. The current study represents the Enactment Phase (design and development) of a larger design-based research study that sought to design an integrative OER intervention in a college course to promote OEP. The Enactment Phase resulted in developing the design principles that describe the integration of OER use and creation into a college course; the development of the components of the OER intervention prototype; and designing the OER intervention prototype in a college course at a mid-Atlantic research university. The significant results that emerged from this Enactment Phase reside in that OER should be integrated into a course using learner-centered pedagogical models with constructivist approaches to teaching, and it should be integrated as an integral part of the syllabus of the course. The main idea for integrating the 5Rs into the Advanced Instructional Design was threading across assignments to make a connection between knowledge and skills students have learned throughout the course.