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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.
Much research has identified and confirmed the core elements of the well-known Community of Inquiry Framework (CoIF): Social, Cognitive and Teaching Presence (Garrison, 2011). The overlap of these Presences, their definitions and roles, and their subsequent impact on the educational experience, has received less attention. This article is prompted by the acceptance of that omission (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2010). It proposes enrichment to the Framework, by entitling the overlapping spaces uniting pairs of Presences as “Influences.” These three spaces, linking pairings of Social, Teaching, and Cognitive Presences, can be labelled as “trusting,” “meaning-making,” and “deepening understanding.” Their contribution to the educational experience is to address constructively some of the challenges of online learning, including learner isolation, limited learner experience of collaborative group work and underdeveloped higher-level abilities. For these purposes we also envisage “cognitive maps” as supporting learners to assess progress to date and identify pathways forward (Garrison & Akyol, 2013). Such maps, developed by a course team, describe the territory that learners may wish to explore, signpost possible activities, and encourage the development of cognitive and interpersonal abilities required for online learning. We hope that considering the Influences may also assist tutor conceptualisations of online community-based learning. Our proposals call on both learners and tutors to conceive of the Presences and Influences as working together, in unison, to enhance the educational experience whilst fostering deep learning. Our suggestions are presented to stimulate scholarly debate about the potential of these interwoven sections, constructively extending the Framework.
The situation in Ukraine poses severe problems to the higher education system and to students in Eastern Ukraine. Many students and academicians had been compelled to leave their university buildings and move westwards. Hence, they are forced to substitute face-to-face teaching with distance learning, often on a large scale, but within a short span of time and with limited resources. While technical/technological infrastructure often exists, know-how about conducting online teaching and respective faculty development is often found to be lacking. Within the framework of a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), a faculty development program developed in Turkey as an Open Educational Resource (e-Tutor) was adopted in three languages (English, Ukrainian, and Russian) to support qualifying university staff in teaching online. e-Tutor comprises of 14 modules, each with various content, covering different aspects of online teaching. In the following note, we briefly present the program along with the context, target group/aims, concept, genesis, initial experiences, and further development.
The present study aimed to test the hypothesis that a smiling expression on the face of a talking pedagogical agent could positively affect a learner’s emotions, motivation, and learning outcomes in a virtual learning environment. Contrary to the hypothesis, results from Experiment 1 demonstrated that the pedagogical agent’s smile induced negative emotional and motivational responses in learners. Experiment 2 showed that the social meaning of a pedagogical agent’s smile might be perceived by learners as polite or fake. In addition, qualitative data provided insights into factors that may cause negative perceptions of a pedagogical agent’s smile, which in turn lead to negative affective (emotional and motivational) states in learners. Theoretical and design implications for pedagogical agents in virtual learning environment are discussed in the concluding section of the paper.
This study explored how course instructional format (i.e., online, face-to-face, or hybrid) is related to the frequency and duration of out-of-class communication (OCC) between college instructors and students, to student motives for communicating with teachers, and to perceived teacher approachability for conversation outside of class. Though differences in frequency of and student motives for engaging in OCC were not significant, students enrolled in face-to-face courses reported significantly more ongoing/durative OCC with their instructors compared to students enrolled other course types (i.e., online or hybrid). Students in fully online courses reported instructors to seem less receptive to but also less discouraging of OCC than students in face-to-face or hybrid courses. Overall, this study offers a sense of how students who seek informal interaction with instructors beyond the classroom are faring amid the increased reliance on web-based learning environments in higher education.
Textbook costs have skyrocketed in recent years, putting them beyond the reach of many students, but there are options which can mitigate this problem. Open textbooks, an open educational resource, have proven capable of making textbooks affordable to students. There have been few educational development as promising as the development of open textbooks to lower costs for students. While the last five years have witnessed unparalleled interest and significant advances in the development and dissemination of open textbooks, one important aspect has, until now, remained unexplored: the praxis of learning analytics for extracting information regarding how learners interact and learn with open textbooks, which is crucial for their evaluation and iterative improvement process.
Learning analytics offers a faster and more objective means of data collection and processing than traditional counterparts, such as surveys and questionnaires, and—most importantly—with their capability to provide direct evidence of learning, they present the opportunity to enhance both learner performance and environment. With such benefits on offer, it is hardly surprising that the optimism surrounding learning analytics is mounting. However, in practice, it has been pointed out that the technology to deliver its potential is still very much in its infancy, which is true in the case of open textbooks. Against this background, the main aim of our study was to develop a prototype open textbook learning analytics system to track individual learners’ online and offline interactions with their open textbooks in electronic publication (EPUB) format, and to present its developmental work as building blocks for future development in this area. We conclude with a discussion of the practical implications of our work and present directions for future work.
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