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Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Owner: Terry Anderson

Group members: 40


The Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research (CIDER) is a research initiative of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) and Centre for Distance Education (CDE), Canada's largest graduate and professional distance education programming provider, at Athabasca University, Canada's Open University.

CIDER sponsors a variety of professional development activities designed to increase the quantity and quality of distance education research. CIDER's professional development scope is broad, ranging from learning and teaching application, issues of finance and access, the strategic use of technology in distance education settings, and other factors that influence distance education in Canada.

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CIDER receives support from Athabasca University and UNESCO.


Appreciative Leadership is unique among leadership theories both past and present. This uniqueness includes its strength-based practice, search for the positive in people and organizations, and the role this plays in organizational innovation and transformation. What follows is a summary of Appreciative Inquiry and the five main principles on which it is based. We then discuss Appreciative Leadership in terms of its place among leadership theories in general. Finally we look at the potential of Appreciative Leadership inK-12 contexts.

Mon, 02 Nov 2015

The paper of Barber, Donnelly & Rizvi (2013): “An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead”  addresses some significant issues in higher education and poses some challenging questions to ODL (Open and Distance Learning) administrators, policy makers and of course to ODL faculty in general.  Barber et al.’s paper does not specifically address the area of teaching and learning theories, strategies and methodologies per se.  In this paper I would therefore like to reflect on the impact that the contemporary changes and challenges that Barber et al. describes, have on teaching and learning approaches and paradigms.  In doing so I draw on earlier work about future learning paradigms and navigationism (Brown, 2006).  We need a fresh approach and new skills to survive the revolution ahead.  We need to rethink our teaching and learning strategies to be able to provide meaningful learning opportunities in the future that lies ahead.

Mon, 02 Nov 2015

While the use of Twitter for communication and assessment activities in online courses is not new, it has not been without its challenges. This is increasingly true of high enrolment courses. The use of a Twitter Evaluation application which leverages a Learning Management System’s (LMS’s) application programming interface (API) provides a solution which reduces the administrative overhead associated with tracking students’ Tweets and allows the grader to focus on the assessment of the Tweets’ quality. Such an application and how it improved the assessment process of grading Tweet events is described. In addition to the technological considerations, the soundness of the Twitter learning design in the course impacts the effectiveness of the Tweet events for learning and enhancing the much needed online social presence. Learning design considerations are also discussed. 

Mon, 02 Nov 2015

Social media is increasingly becoming an essential platform for social connectivity in our daily lives. The availability of mobile technology has further fueled its importance – making it a ubiquitous tool for social interaction. An emerging mode of learning is the mobile social media learning where social media is used in the mobile learning mode. However, limited studies have been conducted to investigate roles of social participation in this field. Thus, the study investigates roles of social participation in mobile social media learning using the “ladder of participation and mastering”. Participants were students taking an educational technology course in a local university. The study was conducted in a four-month period. Data was collected from discussions while learning among the students using one of the mobile social media platforms, Facebook groups. The data was analyzed using a social network analysis tool, NodeXL. Data was analyzed based on egocentric networks, betweeness centrality, and closeness centrality. The findings revealed that there are four roles of social participation in mobile social media, which are: (i) lurkers; (ii) gradually mastering members/passive members; (iii) recognized members; and (iv) coaches. The findings also indicated that over the course of four months, learners can inter-change roles of social participation – becoming more central or less central in learning discussions. As a result, a roles of social participation scale for mobile social media learning is proposed. Future research could be conducted in other fields to investigate whether mobile social media could be used to promote learning. 

Mon, 02 Nov 2015

Social media is widely considered to improve the collaborative learning among students and researchers. However, there is a surprising lack of empirical research in Malaysian higher education to improve performance of students and researchers through the effective use of social media that facilitates desirable outcomes. Thus, this study offers a review of the empirical literature, and its distinctiveness stems from the focus on collaborative learning and engagement in literature, as dominated by higher education. This study also aims to explore factors that contribute to the enhancement of collaborative learning and engagement through social media.  It is also unique in that it highlights that the effective use of social media depends on users in what is referred to as social interactivity to "collaborative learning, engagement and intention to use social media" - a phenomenon that relies on the theory of social constructivist learning. The findings showed that collaborative learning, engagement and intention to use social media positively and significantly relate to the interactivity of research group members (students and researchers) with supervisors to improve their academic performance in Malaysian higher education.

Mon, 02 Nov 2015

Most recent CIDER Session

Universities’ growing addiction to tracking progress will destroy the very things we are supposed to nurture The Guardian 
(CNN)While college degrees take years to complete and cost many thousands of dollars, Google is now backing a scheme to get people a “nanodegree” in just six months. CNN
2 days ago
As one district proves, you don’t have to wait until high school to expose students to their futures
November 28, 2015 - 6:07pm
This research aimed to inform institutional leaders by producing and disseminating a system wide view of what tertiary education might look like in Aotearoa New Zealand, five years into the future. The researchers were responding to a challenge in a speech at the DEANZ 2010 conference by a highly respected national leader (Dr Peter Coolbear). […]
November 28, 2015 - 5:24pm

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