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Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Owner: Terry Anderson

Group members: 41


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.


The growing utilization of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is opening opportunities for students worldwide, but the completion rate for MOOCs is low (Liyanagunawardena, Adams, & Williams, 2013). Partners In Health (PIH) implemented a “flipped” MOOC in Rwanda that incorporated in-class sessions to facilitate participant completion.

In October 2013, PIH invited its employees, as well as those at the Ministry of Health, to participate in an online MOOC. Each site had at least one volunteer facilitator who accompanied participants throughout the course by providing course materials and facilitating the understanding of the online material during the weekly class sessions.  Following the conclusion of the course, all participants were asked to complete an online survey.

A total of 38 out of 62 registered participants completed the survey and of these 38 participants, 20 (52.6%) successfully finished the course. The number of in-person sessions attended was significantly associated with course completion (p < 0.05), and 85% who successfully completed the course attended at least three of seven sessions.  Sixteen (80%) participants believed that the completion of this course would help them with career advancement. Half of the participants (19 of 38, 50%) were employed with a position related to research. Other job titles included the following: nurses (4 of 38, 10.5%), a pharmacist (1 of 38, 2.6%), a clinical psychologist (1 of 38, 2.6%), a dentist (1 of 38, 2.6%), and others (10 of 38, 26.3%). The job title was not significantly related to course completion.

Our experience, with a completion rate of over 50%, yields several lessons for incorporating MOOCs into capacity-building programs to leverage the potential of online learning in resource-limited areas.

Tue, 01 Mar 2016

A deluge of empirical research became available on MOOCs in 2013–2015 and this research is available in disparate sources. This paper addresses a number of gaps in the scholarly understanding of MOOCs and presents a comprehensive picture of the literature by examining the geographic distribution, publication outlets, citations, data collection and analysis methods, and research strands of empirical research focusing on MOOCs during this time period. Results demonstrate that (a) more than 80% of this literature is published by individuals whose home institutions are in North America and Europe, (b) a select few papers are widely cited while nearly half of the papers are cited zero times, and (c) researchers have favored a quantitative if not positivist approach to the conduct of MOOC research, preferring the collection of data via surveys and automated methods. While some interpretive research was conducted on MOOCs in this time period, it was often basic and it was the minority of studies that were informed by methods traditionally associated with qualitative research (e.g., interviews, observations, and focus groups). Analysis shows that there is limited research reported on instructor-related topics, and that even though researchers have attempted to identify and classify learners into various groupings, very little research examines the experiences of learner subpopulations.

Tue, 01 Mar 2016

This paper reviews the e-learning course development in selected universities of Mongolia and attempts to classify the e-learning programs that are in practice at the tertiary education level in the country. The given paper uses both secondary and primary sources.

The authors determined what factors influence e-learning type classification and how time consuming is e-learning in course development stage in comparison to that of face-to-face learning? Methods such as computation using threshold values, k-means clustering, and comparison of means using paired t tests were used. Furthermore, comparison of means was used to validate the factors.

In conclusion, authors deliver recommendations based on analysis lessons learned for further development. This research has practical implications for higher education managers to make informed decisions.

Tue, 01 Mar 2016
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