Owner: Terry Anderson
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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.
Quality Assurance (QA) concepts and applications in Higher Education (HE) emerge from evolving meanings related to HE’s dynamic relationship with social, economic, cultural, and technological developments. The latter has been redefined by the growth spurred by the forms distance and online education acquired during the last decades. Creating a roadmap with clearly articulated meanings of quality and consistent key actions fills a need for the involved communities to reground the research, policy-making, and the related discourse. Our current work consists of a thorough meta-analysis on all available research in every identified pertinent field. It is a qualitative review of the concepts, definitions, and approaches about quality in general, but also specifically, in e-learning in HE, as they have globally appeared in peer-reviewed journals, government reports, and web pages. As we left no stone unturned in enquiring regarding the meanings, uses, evolution, and applicability of the revealed variables it is our hope that the roadmap we provide here will guide future research and support policy-making in the field. The present study is part of the research project e-learning Quality Assurance Design Standards in Higher Education (e-QADeSHE), which was funded by Laureate International Universities as the winning research project for the International David Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2015 edition).
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) were initiated in the early 2000s by certain leading American and European universities. An integral part of the MOOC philosophy has been to provide open access to online learning. Despite their potential advantages to local audiences, faculty and institutions, the number of MOOCs offered from low and middle income countries (LMICs) remains low. The intent of this paper is to provide a reflective perspective on a MOOC recently offered from an LMIC, namely, Pakistan. According to our analysis, the main concern for the organizers of this MOOC was to maintain a high standard of quality, and to offer a course topic that responded to the academic needs of this region. The pedagogical strategy also emphasized on allowing the participants flexibility of time, enabling them to access the course content despite limitations with power shortages, internet speeds, and computer literacy. Despite the lack of resources and expertise, there is significant enthusiasm to introduce this form of teaching and learning to LMIC audiences.
Scores of studies have established that when learning online, students must be equipped with different sets of strategies and skills than in a physical classroom setting (Anderson, 2003; Broadbent & Poon, 2015; Coiro, 2007; Leu et al., 2007; Michinov, Brunot, Le Bohec, Juhel, & Delaval, 2011; Salmon, 2013). The present study, by virtue of exploring foreign language learners’ online reading experience, aimed to identify the reading strategies that learners would use when engaged in online reading activities in the target foreign languages. Thirty-two foreign language learners whose native language was English participated in the study. The Online Survey of Reading Strategies (OSORS) designed by Anderson (2003) was administered to investigate the following four research questions: (1) What are the strategies that language learners would or would not use when reading online in foreign languages? (2) Would foreign language learners use some of the online reading strategies more frequently than other strategies? (3) Would different levels of foreign language proficiencies influence language learners’ use of the strategies? (4) What could foreign language teachers do in their instruction to help students acquire and broaden their repertoire of online reading strategies? Data analysis demonstrated the most and least frequently used strategies of the foreign language learners and uncovered a significant difference in the frequency of use among the strategies. However, there was no significant difference found between the use of online reading strategies and learners’ foreign language proficiencies. Implications and suggestions for future research and practice were proposed accordingly.
The prediction and classification of student performance has always been a central concern within higher education institutions. It is therefore natural for higher education institutions to harvest and analyse student data to inform decisions on education provision in resource constrained South African environments. One of the drivers for the use of learning and academic analytics is the pressures for greater accountability in the areas of improved learning outcomes and student success. Added to this is the pressure on local government to produce well-educated populace to participate in the economy. The counter discourse in the field of big data cautions against algocracy where algorithms takeover the human process of democratic decision making. Proponents of this view argue that we run the risk of creating institutions that are beholden to algorithms predicting student success but are unsure of how they work and are too afraid to ignore their guidance. This paper aims to discuss the ethics, values, and moral arguments revolving the use of big data using a practical demonstration of learning analytics applied at Unisa.
Distance education is expanding in all continents, and the use of video has dominated internet. Synchronous Video Communication (SVC) has not been an option thoroughly investigated and practitioners, who use and design synchronous learning scenarios, are in urgent need of guidance. Distant learners face many barriers, and as a result, they drop out more frequently than on-campus students. Educators seem to be equally affected by the “transactional distance” and the new digital literacies needed for facilitating online learning. This study explores the educators’ perspective on how SVC could offer alternative educational forms and possibilities for distance learning. Findings had indicated that the use of visual communication and human to human contact (prosopogonosia: seeing faces) could have a strong impact on learning and teaching, therefore, a theory called Tele-proximity was formulated. Tele-proximity is defined as online embodiment that explains how instructors and students are connected in synchronous networked environment via tele-operations. SVC creates a sense of place or a stage where online identities perform and highlights recent research on audio-visual signals in communication and team work (Pentland, 2012, 2008). The theory can be seen as an extension of the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) and a theoretical framework according to which learning objectives could be designed. Transactional distance could be minimized and may be implemented to facilitate more synchronous, visual, and humane options in distance education.
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