Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32

Distance Education Related Abstracts

32 Application of Web Aided Education on Laboratory of the Physics Course

Authors: Nigmet Koklu, Dundar Yener

Abstract:

Recently, distance education that make use of web technology is used widely all around the world to overcome geographical and time based problems in education. Graphics, animation and other auxiliary visual sources help student to understand the subjects easily. Especially some theoretical courses that are quite difficult to understand such as physics and chemistry require visual material for students to understand topics clearly. In this study, physics applications for laboratory of physics course were developed. All facilities of web-based educational technology were used for students in laboratory studies to avoid making mistakes and to learn better physics subjects.

Keywords: Distance Education, Physics Education, Laboratory, web-based education

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31 Agricultural Extension Workers’ Education in Indonesia - Roles of Distance Education

Authors: Adhi Susilo

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This paper addresses the roles of distance education in the agricultural extension workers’ education. Agriculture plays an important role in both poverty reduction and economic growth. The technology of agriculture in the developing world should change continuously to keep pace with rising populations and rapidly changing social, economic, and environmental conditions. Therefore, agricultural extension workers should have several competencies in order to carry out their duties properly. One of the essential competencies that they must possess is the professional competency that is directly related to their duties in carrying out extension activities. Such competency can be acquired through studying at Universitas Terbuka (UT). With its distance learning system, agricultural extension workers can study at UT without leaving their duties. This paper presenting sociological analysis and lessons learnt from the specific context of Indonesia. Diversities in geographic, demographic, social cultural and economic conditions of the country provide specific challenges for its distance education practice and the process of social transformation to which distance education can contribute. Extension officers used distance education for personal benefits and increased professional productivity. An increase in awareness is important for the further adoption of distance learning for extension purposes. Organizations in both the public and private sector must work to increase knowledge of ICTs for the benefit of stakeholders. The use of ICTs can increase productivity for extensions officers and expand educational opportunities for learners. The use of distance education by extension to disseminate educational materials around the world is widespread. Increasing awareness and use of distance learning can lead to more productive relationships between extension officers and agricultural stakeholders.

Keywords: Distance Education, ICTs, Agricultural extension, demographic and geographic condition

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30 From Paper to the Ether: The Innovative and Historical Development of Distance Education from Correspondence to On-Line Learning and Teaching in Queensland Universities over the past Century

Authors: H. van Rensburg, B. Adcock

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Education is ever-changing to keep up with innovative technological development and the rapid acceleration of globalisation. This chapter introduces the historical development and transformation of teaching in distance education from correspondence to on-line learning in Queensland universities. It furthermore investigates changes to the delivery models of distance education that have impacted on teaching at tertiary level in Queensland, and reflects on the social changes that have taken place during the past 100 years. This includes an analysis of the following five different periods in time: Foundation period (1911-1919) including World War I; 1920-1939 including the Great Depression; 1940-1970s, including World War II and the post war reconstruction; and the current technological era (1980s to present). In Queensland, the concept of distance education was begun by the University of Queensland (UQ) in 1911, when it began offering extension courses. The introduction of modern technology, in the form of electronic delivery, dramatically changed tertiary distance education due to political initiatives. The inclusion of electronic delivery in education signifies change at many levels, including policy, pedagogy, curriculum and governance. Changes in delivery not only affect the way study materials are delivered, but also the way courses are be taught and adjustments made by academics to their teaching methods.

Keywords: Distance Education, tertiary education, innovative technological development, on line education

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29 Imparting Second Language Skill through M-Learning

Authors: Subramaniam Chandran, A. Geetha

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This paper addresses three issues: how to prepare instructional design for imparting English language skill from inter-disciplinary self-learning material; how the disadvantaged students are benefited from such kind of language skill imparted through m-learning; and how do the m-learners perform better than the other learners. This paper examines these issues through an experimental study conducted among the distance learners enrolled in preparatory program for bachelor’s degree. This program is designed for the disadvantage learners especially for the school drop-outs to qualify to pursue graduate program through distant education. It also explains how mobile learning helps them to enhance their capacity in learning despite their rural background and other disadvantages. In India nearly half of the students enrolled in schools do not complete their study. The pursuance of higher education is very low when compared with developed countries. This study finds a significant increase in their learning capacity and mobile learning seems to be a viable alternative where conventional system could not reach the disadvantaged learners. Improving the English language skill is one of the reasons for such kind of performance. Exercises framed from the relevant self-learning material for enhancing English language skill not only improves language skill but also widens the subject-knowledge. This paper explains these issues out of the study conducted among the disadvantaged learners.

Keywords: Distance Education, M-Learning, English language skill, disadvantaged learners

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28 Emerging Technologies in Distance Education

Authors: Eunice H. Li

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This paper discusses and analyses a small portion of the literature that has been reviewed for research work in Distance Education (DE) pedagogies that I am currently undertaking. It begins by presenting a brief overview of Taylor's (2001) five-generation models of Distance Education. The focus of the discussion will be on the 5th generation, Intelligent Flexible Learning Model. For this generation, educational and other institutions make portal access and interactive multi-media (IMM) an integral part of their operations. The paper then takes a brief look at current trends in technologies – for example smart-watch wearable technology such as Apple Watch. The emergent trends in technologies carry many new features. These are compared to former DE generational features. Also compared is the time span that has elapsed between the generations that are referred to in Taylor's model. This paper is a work in progress. The paper therefore welcome new insights, comparisons and critique of the issues discussed.

Keywords: pedagogy, Distance Education, e-learning technologies, generational models

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27 Second Language Skill through M-Learning

Authors: Subramaniam Chandran, A. Geetha

Abstract:

This paper addresses three issues: how to prepare the instructional design for imparting English language skill from inter-disciplinary self-learning material; how the disadvantaged students are benefited from such kind of language skill imparted through m-learning; and how do m-learners perform better than the other learners. This paper examines these issues through an experimental study conducted among the distance learners enrolled in a preparatory program for bachelor’s degree. This program is designed for the disadvantaged learners especially for the school drop-outs to qualify to pursue graduate program through distant education. It also explains how mobile learning helps them to enhance their capacity in learning despite their rural background and other disadvantages. In India, nearly half of the students enrolled in schools do not complete their study. The pursuance of higher education is very low when compared with developed countries. This study finds a significant increase in their learning capacity and mobile learning seems to be a viable alternative where the conventional system could not reach the disadvantaged learners. Improving the English language skill is one of the reasons for such kind of performance. Exercises framed from the relevant self-learning material for enhancing English language skill not only improves language skill but also widens the subject-knowledge. This paper explains these issues out of the study conducted among the disadvantaged learners.

Keywords: Distance Education, M-Learning, English language skill, disadvantaged learners

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26 A Soft System Approach to Explore Ill-Defined Issues in Distance Education System - A Case of Saudi Arabia

Authors: Sulafah Basahel

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Nowadays, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) around the world are attempting to utilize Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to enhance learning process and strategies of knowledge delivery for students through Distance Education (DE) system. Stakeholders in DE system face a complex situation of different ill-defined and related issues that influence decision making process. In this study system thinking as a body of knowledge is used to explore the emergent properties that produced from these connections between issues and could have either positive or negative outcomes for the DE development. Checkland Soft System Methodology (SSM) - Mode 2 is employed in a cultural context of Saudi Arabia for more knowledge acquisition purposes among multiple stakeholders in DE rather than solving problems to achieve an overall development of DE system. This paper will discuss some political, cultural issues and connections between them that impact on effectiveness of stakeholders’ activities and relations. This study will significantly contribute to both system thinking and education fields by leading decision makers in DE to reconsider future plans, strategies and right actions for more successful educational practices.

Keywords: Distance Education, higher education institutions, ill-defined issues, soft system methodology-Mode 2

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25 Effect of Distance Education Students Motivation with the Turkish Language and Literature Course

Authors: Fati̇h Apaydin, Meva Apaydin

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Role of education in the development of society is great. Teaching and training started with the beginning of the history and different methods and techniques which have been applied as the time passed and changed everything with the aim of raising the level of learning. In addition to the traditional teaching methods, technology has been used in recent years. With the beginning of the use of internet in education, some problems which could not be soluted till that time has been dealt and it is inferred that it is possible to educate the learners by using contemporary methods as well as traditional methods. As an advantage of technological developments, distance education is a system which paves the way for the students to be educated individually wherever and whenever they like without the needs of physical school environment. Distance education has become prevalent because of the physical inadequacies in education institutions, as a result; disadvantageous circumstances such as social complexities, individual differences and especially geographical distance disappear. What’s more, the high-speed of the feedbacks between teachers and learners, improvement in student motivation because there is no limitation of time, low-cost, the objective measuring and evaluation are on foreground. In spite of the fact that there is teaching beneficences in distance education, there are also limitations. Some of the most important problems are that : Some problems which are highly possible to come across may not be solved in time, lack of eye-contact between the teacher and the learner, so trust-worthy feedback cannot be got or the problems stemming from the inadequate technological background are merely some of them. Courses are conducted via distance education in many departments of the universities in our country. In recent years, giving lectures such as Turkish Language, English, and History in the first grades of the academic departments in the universities is an application which is constantly becoming prevalent. In this study, the application of Turkish Language course via distance education system by analyzing advantages and disadvantages of the distance education system which is based on internet.

Keywords: Distance Education, Motivation, Turkish Language, benefits

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24 Education System Development: Challenges and Barriers

Authors: Kumar Vikas

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Education is to be anticipated for Human resource development and then national development. However, in most of the developing countries, due to the inadequacy of resources it is almost unattainable to educate all of their citizens through on-campus teaching. Huge amount of money is necessary to establish the infrastructure for on-campus teaching which is out of the reach of the developing countries. In these circumstances, to educate their huge inhabitants the developing countries are to depend on open learning and distance education system. However, a question still stands: can the educators dissimulate knowledge to the learners smoothly through this new system of education? Some recent research shows that the graduates of the open and distance learning institutions in the developing countries are treated as second-grade graduates. This paper aims to identify the challenges or barriers in the development of distance and Open learning system in India and suggest possible alternatives may be followed to overcome the barriers.

Keywords: Distance Education, developing countries, Motivation, barriers, alternative solutions

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23 Attitudes, Experiences and Good Practices of Writing Online Course Material: A Case Study in Makerere University

Authors: Ruth Nsibirano

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Online mode of delivery in higher institutions of learning, popularly known in some circles as e-Learning or distance education is a new phenomenon that is steadily taking root in African universities but specifically at Makerere University. For slightly over a decade, the Department of Open and Distance Learning has been offering the first generation mode of distance education. In this, learning and teaching experiences were based on the use of hard copy materials circulated through postal services in a rather correspondence mode. There were more challenges to this including high dropout rates, limited support to the learners and sustainability issues. Fortunately, the Department was supported by the Norwegian Government through a NORHED grant to “leapfrog” to the fifth generation of distance education that makes more use of educational technologies and tools. The capacity of faculty staff was gradually enhanced through a series of training to handle the upgraded structure of fifth generation distance education. The trained staff was then tasked to develop modules befitting an online delivery mode, for use on the program. This paper will present attitudes, experiences of the course writers with a view of sharing the good practices that enabled them leap from e-faculty trainees to distinct online course writers. This perspective will hopefully serve as building blocks to enhance the capacity of other upcoming distance education programs in low capacity universities and also promote the uptake of e-Education on the continent and beyond. Methodologically the findings were collected through individual interviews with the 30 course writers. In addition, semi structured questionnaires were designed to collect data on the profile, challenges and lessons from the writers. Findings show that the attitudes of course writers on project supported activities are so much tagged to the returns from their committed efforts. In conclusion, therefore, it is strategically useful to assess and selectively choose which individual to nominate for involvement at the initial stages.

Keywords: Distance Education, online course content, staff attitudes, best practices in online learning

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22 Delivering Distance Educational Services in Difficult Areas: Universitas Terbuka’s Case

Authors: Ida Zubaidah

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With the advancement of information and communication technologies, in many cases, geographical distance is no longer considered as a main barrier in distance education. Geographical distance, even from a continent to another, between students and their instructor or students and their campus can be connected by the Internet, telephone or any other means of communication technology. Managing distance learning in an archipelagic country like Indonesia, however, has some different stories. Comprising more than 17,000 islands and 6.000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is considered as one of the most archipelagic countries in the world. In some areas or islands that have adequate public transportation and communication facilities the courses can be delivered quite well. In other areas that geographically very remote and dispersed islander, Universitas Terbuka, an open university in Indonesia, has to have very different strategies in overcoming the specific and even emergency situations in learning delivery. This ongoing research paper aims to share experiences of how Universitas Terbuka makes serious and unique efforts in overcoming the barriers and obstacles in providing educational service in part of difficult areas, especially in eastern areas of Indonesia. The data collection methods are observation of sample areas and in-depth interview with the head of regional offices of Universitas Terbuka in eastern Indonesia, staff, and tutors. Conducting educational deliveries in in difficult areas with no regular and adequate transportation has made the regional office have specific strategies in making the learning process run as smooth as possible. Sending a tutor to an area to meet some students and conducting a series of tutorial, which are supposed to be weekly, in several days is one of the strategies. Recruiting local people to manage the students in the area is another strategy. The absence of regular transportation from island to island, high tides, hurricanes, are among the obstacles faced by the regional offices in doing their job. Non geographical barriers such as unavailability of qualified tutor, inadequate tutor payment, are problems as well. The learning process, however, has to be done in any way, otherwise the distance education mission to reach unreachable cannot be achieved.

Keywords: Distance Education, Terbuka University, difficult area, geographical barrier, learning services

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21 L2 Reading in Distance Education: Analysis of Students' Reading Attitude and Interests

Authors: Ma. Junithesmer, D. Rosales

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The study is a baseline description of students’ attitude and interests about L2 reading in a state university in the Philippines that uses distance education as a delivery mode. Most research conducted on this area dealt with the analysis of reading in a traditional school set-up. For this reason, this research was written to discover if there are implications as regards students’ preferences, interests and attitude reveal about L2 reading in a non-traditional set-up. To form the corpus of this study, it included the literature and studies about reading, preferred technological devices, titles of books and authors, reading medium traditional/ print and electronic books that juxtapose with students’ interest and feelings when reading at home and in school; and their views about their strengths and weaknesses as readers.

Keywords: Distance Education, Reading, L2 reading, reading attitude

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20 Lessons Learnt from Tutors’ Perspectives on Online Tutorial’s Policies in Open and Distance Education Institution

Authors: Durri Andriani, Irsan Tahar, Lilian Sarah Hiariey

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Every institution has to develop, implement, and control its policies to ensure the effectiveness of the institution. In doing so, all related stakeholders have to be involved to maximize the benefit of the policies and minimize the potential constraints and resistances. Open and distance education (ODE) institution is no different. As an education institution, ODE institution has to focus their attention to fulfilling academic needs of their students through open and distance measures. One of them is quality learning support system. Significant stakeholders in learning support system are tutors since they are the ones who directly communicate with students. Tutors are commonly seen as objects whose main responsibility is limited to implementing policies decided by management in ODE institutions. Nonetheless, tutors’ perceptions of tutorials are believed to influence tutors’ performances in facilitating learning support. It is therefore important to analyze tutors’ perception on various aspects of learning support. This paper presents analysis of tutors’ perceptions on policies of tutoriala in ODE institution using Policy Analysis Framework (PAF) modified by King, Nugent, Russell, and Lacy. Focus of this paper is on on-line tutors, those who provide tutorials via Internet. On-line tutors were chosen to stress the increasingly important used of Internet in ODE system. The research was conducted in Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia. UT is purposely selected because of its large number (1,234) of courses offered and large area coverage (6000 inhabited islands). These posed UT in a unique position where learning support system has, to some extent, to be standardized while at the same time it has to be able to cater the needs of different courses in different places for students with different backgrounds. All 598 listed on-line tutors were sent the research questionnaires. Around 20% of the email addresses could not be reached. Tutors were asked to fill out open-ended questionnaires on their perceptions on definition of on-line tutorial, roles of tutors and students in on-line tutorials, requirement for on-line tutors, learning materials, and student evaluation in on-line tutorial. Data analyzed was gathered from 40 on-line tutors who sent back filled-out questionnaires. Data were analyzed qualitatively using content analysis from all 40 tutors. The results showed that using PAF as entry point in choosing learning support services as area of policy with delivery learning materials as the issue at UT has been able to provide new insights of aspects need to be consider in formulating policies in online tutorial and in learning support services. Involving tutors as source of information could be proven to be productive. In general, tutors had clear understanding about definition of online tutorial, roles of tutors and roles of students, and requirement of tutor. Tutors just need to be more involved in the policy formulation since they could provide data on students and problem faced in online tutorial. However, tutors need an adjustment in student evaluation which according tutors too focus on administrative aspects and subjective.

Keywords: Distance Education, on-line tutorial, tutorial policy, tutors’ perspectives

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19 Evaluation of Distance Education Needs of Athletes

Authors: Yunus Emre Karakaya, Sebahattin Devecioglu, Bilal Coban

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Today, information technology’s presence is felt in every field of life. Fields of education and sports sciences have their own share too. Especially developments in informatics technologies changed the perspectives of these fields. The altered technological conditions made distance education argumentative in these fields. Due to advantages distance education provides to students, they can access the desired education without concerns about time and place. Education facilities are seen to head for distance education in this manner and expedite the process. Distance education applications, which was first started to be applied in the mid-1800s, have been implemented in Turkey since 1970s and still continues today. In this study, the historical development of distance education in the world and Turkey and the problems athletes face in education were discussed. Accordingly, suggestions were made evaluating the importance and requirements of distance education in sports education facilities at higher education level. Additionally, Questions of “Is distance education important in sports education in Turkey?”, “What are the problems of athletes in the education field in Turkey?” and similar questions were attempted to be answered. Finally, in Turkey, distance sports education applications in universities should be launched to ensure that athletes’ educations are not deficit and unfinished. Within this framework, legal regulations should be implemented by “Council of Higher Education” to develop the distance sports education in Turkey and utilize distance education efficiently in solving the sports education problems. By ensuring the advancement of athletes with this method, it is expected for athletes to contribute to sports in the country in both government and the private sector in the medium and long terms. Individuals who participated in the distance sports education will set an example in extending the country’s youth to national and international fields.

Keywords: Higher Education, Turkey, Distance Education, athletes, Sports Education

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18 Perceptions and Experiences of Students and Their Instructors on Online versus Face-To-Face Classrooms

Authors: Rahime Filiz Kiremit

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This study involves investigating the comparisons of both online and face-to-face classes, along with providing their respective differences. The research project contains information pertaining to the two courses, provided with testimony from students and instructors alike. There were a total of 37 participants involved within the study from San Jacinto College; 35 students and the two instructors of their respective courses. The online instructor has a total of four years of teaching experience, while the face-to-face instructor has accrued 11 years of instructional education. The both instructors were interviewed and the samples were collected from three different classes - TECA 1311-702 (Educating Young Children 13 week distance learning), TECA 1311-705 (Educating Young Children 13 week distance learning) and TECA 1354 (Child Growth and Development). Among all three classes, 13 of the 29 students enrolled in either of the online courses considered participation within the survey, while 22 of the 28 students enrolled in the face-to-face course elected to do the same thing. With regards to the students’ prior class enrollment, 25 students had taken online classes previously, 9 students had taken early-childhood courses, 4 students had taken general classes, 11 students had taken both types of classes, 10 students had not yet taken online classes, and only 1 of them had taken a hybrid course. 10 of the participants professed that they like face-to-face classes, because they find that they can interact with their classmates and teachers. They find that online classes have more work to do, because they need to read the chapters and instructions on their own time. They said that during the face-to-face instruction, they could take notes and converse concerns with professors and fellow peers. They can have hands-on activities during face-to-face classes, and, as a result, improve their abilities to retain what they have learned within that particular time. Some of the students even mentioned that they are supposed to discipline themselves, because the online classes require more work. According to the remaining six students, online classes are easier than face-to-face classes. Most of them believe that the easiness of a course is dependent on the types of classes, the instructors, and the respective subjects of which they teach. With considerations of all 35 students, almost 63% of the students agreed that they interact more with their classmates in face-to-face classes.

Keywords: Distance Education, online classroom, students' perceptions, face-to-face education

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17 E-Learning in Life-Long Learning: Best Practices from the University of the Aegean

Authors: Chryssi Vitsilaki, Apostolos Kostas, Ilias Efthymiou

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This paper presents selected best practices on online learning and teaching derived from a novel and innovating Lifelong Learning program through e-Learning, which has during the last five years been set up at the University of the Aegean in Greece. The university, capitalizing on an award-winning, decade-long experience in e-learning and blended learning in undergraduate and postgraduate studies, recently expanded into continuous education and vocational training programs in various cutting-edge fields. So, in this article we present: (a) the academic structure/infrastructure which has been developed for the administrative, organizational and educational support of the e-Learning process, including training the trainers, (b) the mode of design and implementation based on a sound pedagogical framework of open and distance education, and (c) the key results of the assessment of the e-learning process by the participants, as they are used to feedback on continuous organizational and teaching improvement and quality control.

Keywords: e-Learning, Distance Education, life-long programs, synchronous/asynchronous learning

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16 Turkish Graduate Students' Perceptions of Drop Out Issues in Massive Open Online Courses

Authors: Harun Bozna

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MOOC (massive open online course) is a groundbreaking education platform and a current buzzword in higher education. Although MOOCs offer many appreciated learning experiences to learners from various universities and institutions, they have considerably higher dropout rates than traditional education. Only about 10% of the learners who enroll in MOOCs actually complete the course. In this case, perceptions of participants and a comprehensive analysis of MOOCs have become an essential part of the research in this area. This study aims to explore the MOOCs in detail for better understanding its content, purpose and primarily drop out issues. The researcher conducted an online questionnaire to get perceptions of graduate students on their learning experiences in MOOCs and arranged a semi- structured oral interview with some participants. The participants are Turkish graduate level students doing their MA and Ph.D. in various programs. The findings show that participants are more likely to drop out courses due to lack of time and lack of pressure.

Keywords: Distance Education, MOOCs, drop out, perception of graduate students

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15 Economics of Open and Distance Education in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Authors: Babatunde Kasim Oladele

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One of the major objectives of the Nigeria national policy on education is the provision of equal educational opportunities to all citizens at different levels of education. With regards to higher education, an aspect of the policy encourages distance learning to be organized and delivered by tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This study therefore, determines how much of the Government resources are committed, how the resources are utilized and what alternative sources of funding are available for this system of education. This study investigated the trends in recurrent costs between 2004/2005 and 2013/2014 at University of Ibadan Distance Learning Centre (DLC). A descriptive survey research design was employed for the study. Questionnaire was the research instrument used for the collection of data. The population of the study was 280 current distance learning education students, 70 academic staff and 50 administrative staff. Only 354 questionnaires were correctly filled and returned. Data collected were analyzed and coded using the frequencies, ratio, average and percentages were used to answer all the research questions. The study revealed that staff salaries and allowances of academic and non-academic staff represent the most important variable that influences the cost of education. About 55% of resources were allocated to this sector alone. The study also indicates that costs rise every year with increase in enrolment representing a situation of diseconomies of scale. This study recommends that Universities who operates distance learning program should strive to explore other internally generated revenue option to boost their revenue. University of Ibadan, being the premier university in Nigeria, should be given foreign aid and home support, both financially and materially, to enable the institute to run a formidable distance education program that would measure up in planning and implementation with those of developed nation.

Keywords: Distance Education, Open Education, Nigeria, University of Ibadan, cost of education

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14 Analyzing the Perceptions of Accounting Practitioners regarding Communication Skills of Distance-Learning Graduates

Authors: Carol S. Binnekade, Deon Scott, Christina C. Shuttleworth, Annelien A. Van Rooyen

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Higher education institutions are constantly challenged to deliver skilled graduates into the workplace. Employers expect graduates to have the required technical knowledge as well as various pervasive skills. This also applies to accountants who need to know the technical requirements of financial reporting and be able to communicate with individuals, teams and clients at a high level. Accountants need to develop effective business conversational skills and use these skills to communicate up, down and across organizations, taking into consideration cultural and gender diversity. In addition, they need to master business writing and presentation skills. However, providing students with these skills in a distance-learning environment where interaction between students and instructors is limited, is a challenge for academics. The study on which this paper reports, forms part of a larger body of research, which explored the perceptions of accounting practitioners of the communication skills (or lack thereof) of recently qualified accounting students. Feedback (qualitative and quantitative) was obtained from various accounting practitioners in South Africa. Taking into consideration that distance learners communicate mainly with their instructors via email communication and their assignments are submitted using various word processor software, the researchers were of the opinion that the accounting graduates would be capable of communicating effectively once they entered the workplace. However, the research findings, inter alia, suggested that the accounting graduates lacked communication skills and that training was needed to differentiate between business and social communication once they entered the workplace. Recommendations on how these communication challenges may be addressed by higher education institutions are provided.

Keywords: Distance Education, Communication Skills, accounting practitioners, pervasive skills

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13 Analysing a Practical Teamwork Assessment for Distance Education Students at an Australian University

Authors: Celeste Lawson

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Learning to embrace and value teamwork assessment at a university level is critical for students, as graduates enter a real-world working environment where teamwork is likely to occur virtually. Student disdain for teamwork exercises is an area often overlooked or disregarded by academics. This research explored the implementation of an online teamwork assessment approach at a regional Australian university with a significant cohort of Distance Education students. Students had disliked teamwork for three reasons: it was not relevant to their study, the grading was unfair amongst team members, and managing the task was challenging in a virtual environment. Teamwork assessment was modified so that the task was an authentic task that could occur in real-world practice; team selection was based on the task topic rather than randomly; grading was based on the individual’s contribution to the task, and students were provided virtual team management skills as part of a the assessment. In this way, management of the team became an output of the task itself. Data was gathered over three years from student satisfaction surveys, failure rates, attrition figures, and unsolicited student comments. In one unit where this approach was adopted (Advanced Public Relations), student satisfaction increased from 3.6 (out of 5) in 2012 to 4.6 in 2016, with positive comments made about the teamwork approach. The attrition rate for another unit (Public Relations and the Media) reduced from 20.7% in 2012 to 2.2% in 2015. In 2012, criticism of teamwork assessment made up 50% of negative student feedback in Public Relations and the Media. By 2015, following the successful implementation of the teamwork assessment approach, only 12.5% of negative comments on the student satisfaction survey were critical of teamwork, while 33% of positive comments related to a positive teamwork experience. In 2016, students explicitly nominated teamwork as the best part of this unit. The approach is transferable to other disciplines and was adopted by other academics within the institution with similar results.

Keywords: Distance Education, Virtual, Assessment, Teamwork

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12 Effects of Learner-Content Interaction Activities on the Context of Verbal Learning Outcomes in Interactive Courses

Authors: Ozlem Kaya, Alper Tolga Kumtepe, Erdem Erdogdu, M. Recep Okur, Eda Kaypak, Serap Ugur, Deniz Dincer, Hakan Yildirim

Abstract:

Interaction is one of the most important components of open and distance learning. According to Moore, who proposed one of the keystones on interaction types, there are three basic types of interaction: learner-teacher, learner-content, and learner-learner. From these interaction types, learner-content interaction, without doubt, can be identified as the most fundamental one on which all education is based. Efficacy, efficiency, and attraction of open and distance learning systems can be achieved by the practice of effective learner-content interaction. With the development of new technologies, interactive e-learning materials have been commonly used as a resource in open and distance learning, along with the printed books. The intellectual engagement of the learners with the content that is course materials may also affect their satisfaction for the open and distance learning practices in general. Learner satisfaction holds an important place in open and distance learning since it will eventually contribute to the achievement of learning outcomes. Using the learner-content interaction activities in course materials, Anadolu University, by its Open Education system, tries to involve learners in deep and meaningful learning practices. Especially, during the e-learning material design and production processes, identifying appropriate learner-content interaction activities within the context of learning outcomes holds a big importance. Considering the lack of studies adopting this approach, as well as its being a study on the use of e-learning materials in Open Education system, this research holds a big value in open and distance learning literature. In this respect, the present study aimed to investigate a) which learner-content interaction activities included in interactive courses are the most effective in learners’ achievement of verbal information learning outcomes and b) to what extent distance learners are satisfied with these learner-content interaction activities. For this study, the quasi-experimental research design was adopted. The 120 participants of the study were from Anadolu University Open Education Faculty students living in Eskişehir. The students were divided into 6 groups randomly. While 5 of these groups received different learner-content interaction activities as a part of the experiment, the other group served as the control group. The data were collected mainly through two instruments: pre-test and post-test. In addition to those tests, learners’ perceived learning was assessed with an item at the end of the program. The data collected from pre-test and post-test were analyzed by ANOVA, and in the light of the findings of this approximately 24-month study, suggestions for the further design of e-learning materials within the context of learner-content interaction activities will be provided at the conference. The current study is planned to be an antecedent for the following studies that will examine the effects of activities on other learning domains.

Keywords: Distance Education, Interaction, interactivity, online courses

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11 Stimulating Effects of Media in Improving Quality of Distance Education: A Literature Based Study

Authors: Tahzeeb Mahreen

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Distance education refers to giving instruction in which students are remote from the institution and once in a while go to formal demonstration classes, and teaching sessions. Segments of media, for example, radio, TV, PC and Internet and so on are the assets and method for correspondence being utilized as a part of learning material by many open and distance learning institutions. Media has a great part in maximizing the learning opportunities thus enabling distance education, a mode of increased literacy rate of the country. This study goes for analyzing how media had affected distance education through its different mediums. The objectives of the study were (i) to determine the direct impact of media on distance education? (ii) To know how media effects distance education pedagogy (iii) To find out how media works to increase student’s achievement. Literature-based methodology was used, and books, peer-reviewed articles, press reports and internet-based materials were studied as a result. By using descriptive qualitative research analysis, the researcher has interpreted that distance education programs are progressively utilizing mixes of media to convey training that has a positive impact on learning along with a few challenges. In addition, the perception of the researcher varied depending on the programs of distance learning but generally believed that electronic media were moderately more supportive in enhancing the overall performance of the learners. It was concluded that the intellectual style, identity qualities, and self-expectations are the three primary enhanced areas in a student’s educational life in distance education programs. It was portrayed that a comprehension of how individual learners approach learning may make it workable for the distance educator to see an example of learning styles and arrange or modify course presentations through media. Moreover, it is noticed that teaching in distance education address the developing role of the instructor, the requirement for diminishing resistance as conventional teachers utilize remove conveyance frameworks lastly, staff state of mind toward the utilization of innovation. Furthermore, the results showed that media had assumed its part to make distance learning educators more dynamic, capable and concerned about their individual works. The study also indicated a high positive relationship between the media available at study centers and media used by the distance education. The challenge pointed out by the researcher was the clash of distance and time with communication as the life situations of every learner are varied. Recommendations included the realization of the duty of distance learning instructor to help students understand the effective use of media for their study lessons and also to develop online learning communities to be in instant connection with the students.

Keywords: Education, Media, Distance Education, Teaching and Learning

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10 Students’ Opinions Related to Virtual Classrooms within the Online Distance Education Graduate Program

Authors: Secil Kaya Gulen

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Face to face and virtual classrooms that came up with different conditions and environments, but similar purposes have different characteristics. Although virtual classrooms have some similar facilities with face-to-face classes such as program, students, and administrators, they have no walls and corridors. Therefore, students can attend the courses from a distance and can control their own learning spaces. Virtual classrooms defined as simultaneous online environments where students in different places come together at the same time with the guidance of a teacher. Distance education and virtual classes require different intellectual and managerial skills and models. Therefore, for effective use of virtual classrooms, the virtual property should be taken into consideration. One of the most important factors that affect the spread and effective use of the virtual classrooms is the perceptions and opinions of students -as one the main participants-. Student opinions and recommendations are important in terms of providing information about the fulfillment of expectation. This will help to improve the applications and contribute to the more efficient implementations. In this context, ideas and perceptions of the students related to the virtual classrooms, in general, were determined in this study. Advantages and disadvantages of virtual classrooms expected contributions to the educational system and expected characteristics of virtual classrooms have examined in this study. Students of an online distance education graduate program in which all the courses offered by virtual classrooms have asked for their opinions. Online Distance Education Graduate Program has totally 19 students. The questionnaire that consists of open-ended and multiple choice questions sent to these 19 students and finally 12 of them answered the questionnaire. Analysis of the data presented as frequencies and percentages for each item. SPSS for multiple-choice questions and Nvivo for open-ended questions were used for analyses. According to the results obtained by the analysis, participants stated that they did not get any training on virtual classes before the courses; but they emphasize that newly enrolled students should be educated about the virtual classrooms. In addition, all participants mentioned that virtual classroom contribute their personal development and they want to improve their skills by gaining more experience. The participants, who mainly emphasize the advantages of virtual classrooms, express that the dissemination of virtual classrooms will contribute to the Turkish Education System. Within the advantages of virtual classrooms, ‘recordable and repeatable lessons’ and ‘eliminating the access and transportation costs’ are most common advantages according to the participants. On the other hand, they mentioned ‘technological features and keyboard usage skills affect the attendance’ is the most common disadvantage. Participants' most obvious problem during virtual lectures is ‘lack of technical support’. Finally ‘easy to use’, ‘support possibilities’, ‘communication level’ and ‘flexibility’ come to the forefront in the scope of expected features of virtual classrooms. Last of all, students' opinions about the virtual classrooms seems to be generally positive. Designing and managing virtual classrooms according to the prioritized features will increase the students’ satisfaction and will contribute to improve applications that are more effective.

Keywords: Higher Education, e-Learning, Distance Education, virtual classrooms

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9 Survey Study of Key Motivations and Drivers for Students to Enroll in Online Programs of Study

Authors: Tina Stavredes

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Increasingly borderless learning opportunities including online learning are expanding. Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS) conducted research in February of 2017 to determine the level of consumer interest in undertaking a completely online distance learning degree program across three countries in the Asian Pacific region. The target audience was potential bachelor degree and post-degree students from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The results gathered were used to assess the market size and ascertain the business potential of online degree programs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Secondly, the results were used to determine the most receptive markets to prioritise entry and identify the most receptive student segments. In order to achieve the key outcomes, the key points of understanding were as follows: -Motivations for higher education & factors that influence the choice of institution, -Interest in online learning, -Interest in online learning from a Singapore university relative to other foreign institutions, -Key drivers and barriers of interest in online learning. An online survey was conducted from from 7th Feb 2017 to 27th Feb 2017 amongst n=600 respondents aged 21yo-45yo, who have a basic command of English, A-level qualifications and above, and who have an intent to further their education in the next 12 months. Key findings from the study regarding enrolling in an online program include the need for a marriage between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors and the flexibility and support offered in an online program. Overall, there was a high interest for online learning. Survey participants stated they are intrinsically motivated to learn because of their interest in the program of study and the need for extrinsic rewards including opportunities for employment or salary increment in their current job. Seven out of ten survey participants reported they are motivated to further their education and expand their knowledge to become more employable. Eight in ten claims that the feasibility of furthering their education depends on cost and maintaining a work-life balance. The top 2 programs of interest are business and information and communication technology. They describe their choice of university as a marriage of both motivational and feasibility factors including cost, choice, quality of support facilities, and the reputation of the institution. Survey participants reported flexibility as important and stated that appropriate support assures and grows their intent to enrol in an online program. Respondents also reported the importance of being able to work while studying as the main perceived advantage of online learning. Factors related to the choice of an online university emphasized the quality of support services. Despite concerns, overall there was a high interest for online learning. One in two expressed strong intent to enrol in an online programme of study. However, unfamiliarity with online learning is a concern including the concern with the lack of face-to-face interactions. Overall, the findings demonstrated an interest in online learning. A main driver was the ability to earn a recognised degree while still being able to be with the family and the ability to achieve a ‘better’ early career growth.

Keywords: Distance Education, Online Learning, student motivations, online student needs

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8 The Effect of MOOC-Based Distance Education in Academic Engagement and Its Components on Kerman University Students

Authors: Fariba Dortaj, Reza Asadinejad, Akram Dortaj, Atena Baziyar

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The aim of this study was to determine the effect of distance education (based on MOOC) on the components of academic engagement of Kerman PNU. The research was quasi-experimental method that cluster sampling with an appropriate volume was used in this study (one class in experimental group and one class in controlling group). Sampling method is single-stage cluster sampling. The statistical society is students of Kerman Payam Noor University, which) were selected 40 of them as sample (20 students in the control group and 20 students in experimental group). To test the hypothesis, it was used the analysis of univariate and Co-covariance to offset the initial difference (difference of control) in the experimental group and the control group. The instrument used in this study is academic engagement questionnaire of Zerang (2012) that contains component of cognitive, behavioral and motivational engagement. The results showed that there is no significant difference between mean scores of academic components of academic engagement in experimental group and the control group on the post-test, after elimination of the pre-test. The adjusted mean scores of components of academic engagement in the experimental group were higher than the adjusted average of scores after the test in the control group. The use of technology-based education in distance education has been effective in increasing cognitive engagement, motivational engagement and behavioral engagement among students. Experimental variable with the effect size 0.26, predicted 26% of cognitive engagement component variance. Experimental variable with the effect size 0.47, predicted 47% of the motivational engagement component variance. Experimental variable with the effect size 0.40, predicted 40% of behavioral engagement component variance. So teaching with technology (MOOC) has a positive impact on increasing academic engagement and academic performance of students in educational technology. The results suggest that technology (MOOC) is used to enrich the teaching of other lessons of PNU.

Keywords: Educational Technology, Distance Education, components of academic engagement, mooc technology

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7 Satisfaction of Distance Education University Students with the Use of Audio Media as a Medium of Instruction: The Case of Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda

Authors: Mark Kaahwa, Chang Zhu, Moses Muhumuza

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This study investigates the satisfaction of distance education university students (DEUS) with the use of audio media as a medium of instruction. Studying students’ satisfaction is vital because it shows whether learners are comfortable with a certain instructional strategy or not. Although previous studies have investigated the use of audio media, the satisfaction of students with an instructional strategy that combines radio teaching and podcasts as an independent teaching strategy has not been fully investigated. In this study, all lectures were delivered through the radio and students had no direct contact with their instructors. No modules or any other material in form of text were given to the students. They instead, revised the taught content by listening to podcasts saved on their mobile electronic gadgets. Prior to data collection, DEUS received orientation through workshops on how to use audio media in distance education. To achieve objectives of the study, a survey, naturalistic observations and face-to-face interviews were used to collect data from a sample of 211 undergraduate and graduate students. Findings indicate that there was no statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction between male and female students. The results from post hoc analysis show that there is a statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction regarding the use of audio media between diploma and graduate students. Diploma students are more satisfied compared to their graduate counterparts. T-test results reveal that there was no statistically significant difference in the general satisfaction with audio media between rural and urban-based students. And ANOVA results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction with the use of audio media across age groups. Furthermore, results from observations and interviews reveal that DEUS found learning using audio media a pleasurable medium of instruction. This is an indication that audio media can be considered as an instructional strategy on its own merit.

Keywords: Distance Education, medium of instruction, satisfaction, audio media, distance education university students

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6 Distance Education: Using a Digital Platform to Improve Struggling University Students' Mathematical Skills

Authors: Robert Vanderburg, Nicholas Gibson

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Objectives: There has been an increased focus in education students’ mathematics skills in the last two years. Universities have, specifically, had problems teaching students struggling with mathematics. This paper focuses on the ability of a digital platform to significantly improve mathematics skills for struggling students. Methods: 32 students who demonstrated low scores on a mathematics test were selected to take part in a one-month tutorial program using a digital mathematics portal. Students were provided feedback for questions posted on the portal and a fortnightly tutorial session. Results: A pre-test post-test design was analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The analysis suggested that students improved skills in algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, ratios, fractions, and probability. Conclusion: Distance university students can improve their mathematics skills using a digital platform.

Keywords: Higher Education, Distance Education, Mathematics Education, Digital Education

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5 Mitigating Self-Regulation Issues in the Online Instruction of Math

Authors: Robert Vanderburg, Nicholas Gibson, Michael Cowling

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Mathematics is one of the core subjects taught in the Australian K-12 education system and is considered an important component for future studies in areas such as engineering and technology. In addition to this, Australia has been a world leader in distance education due to the vastness of its geographic landscape. Despite this, research is still needed on distance math instruction. Even though delivery of curriculum has given way to online studies, and there is a resultant push for computer-based (PC, tablet, smartphone) math instruction, much instruction still involves practice problems similar to those original curriculum packs, without the ability for students to self-regulate their learning using the full interactive capabilities of these devices. Given this need, this paper addresses issues students have during online instruction. This study consists of 32 students struggling with mathematics enrolled in a math tutorial conducted in an online setting. The study used a case study design to understand some of the blockades hindering the students’ success. Data was collected by tracking students practice and quizzes, tracking engagement of the site, recording one-on-one tutorials, and collecting data from interviews with the students. Results revealed that when students have cognitively straining tasks in an online instructional setting, the first thing to dissipate was their ability to self-regulate. The results also revealed that instructors could ameliorate the situation and provided useful data on strategies that could be used for designing future online tasks. Specifically, instructors could utilize cognitive dissonance strategies to reduce the cognitive drain of the tasks online. They could segment the instruction process to reduce the cognitive demands of the tasks and provide in-depth self-regulatory training, freeing mental capacity for the mathematics content. Finally, instructors could provide specific scheduling and assignment structure changes to reduce the amount of student centered self-regulatory tasks in the class. These findings will be discussed in more detail and summarized in a framework that can be used for future work.

Keywords: Distance Education, Mathematics Education, Digital Education, Self-regulation

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4 The Development, Use and Imapct of an Open Source, Web-Based, Video-Annoation Tool to Provide Job-Embedded Professional Development for Educators: The Coaching Companion

Authors: Gail Joseph

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In the United States, to advance the quality and education requirements of PreK teachers, there are concerns regarding barriers for existing early childhood educators to access formal degrees and ongoing professional development. Barriers exist related to affordability and access. Affordability is a key factor that impacts teachers access to degree programs. The lack of financial resources makes it difficult for many qualified candidates to begin, and complete, degree programs. Even if funding was not an issue, accessibility remains a pressing issue in higher education. Some common barriers include geography, long work hours, lack of professional community, childcare, and clear articulation agreements. Greater flexibility is needed to allow all early childhood professionals to pursue college coursework that takes into consideration the many competing demands on their schedules. For these busy professionals, it is particularly important that professional development opportunities are available “on demand” and are seen as relevant to their work. Courses that are available during non-traditional hours make attendance more accessible, and professional development that is relevant to what they need to know and be able to do to be effective in their current positions increase access to and the impact of ongoing professional education. EarlyEdU at the University of Washington provides institutes of higher education and state professional development systems with free comprehensive, competency based college courses based on the latest science of how to optimize child learning and outcomes across developmental domains. The coursework embeds an intentional teaching framework which requires teachers to know what to do in the moment, see effective teaching in themselves and others, enact these practices in the classroom, reflect on what works and what does not, and improve with thoughtful practices. Reinforcing the Intentional Teaching Framework in EarlyEdU courses is the Coaching Companion, an open source, web-based video annotation learning tool that supports coaching in higher education by enabling students to view and refine their teaching practices. The tool is integrated throughout EarlyEdU courses. With the Coaching Companion, students see upload teaching interactions on video and then reflect on the degree to which they incorporate evidence-based practices. Coaching Companion eliminates the traditional separation of theory and practice in college-based teacher preparation. Together, the Intentional Teaching Framework and the Coaching Companion transform the course instructor into a job-embedded coach. The instructor watches student interactions with children on video using the Coaching Companion and looks specifically for interactions defined in course assignments, readings, and lectures. Based on these observations, the instructor offers feedback and proposes next steps. Developed on federal and philanthropic funds, all EarlyEdU courses and the Coaching Companion are available for free to 2= and 4-year colleges and universities with early childhood degrees, as well as to state early learning and education departments to increase access to high quality professional development. We studied the impact of the Coaching Companion in two courses and demonstrated a significant increase in the quality of teacher-child interactions as measured by the PreK CLASS quality teaching assessment. Implications are discussed related to policy and practice.

Keywords: Professional Development, Distance Education, Education Technology, Early Childhood Education

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3 Social Networking Application: What Is Their Quality and How Can They Be Adopted in Open Distance Learning Environments?

Authors: Asteria Nsamba

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Social networking applications and tools have become compelling platforms for generating and sharing knowledge across the world. Social networking applications and tools refer to a variety of social media platforms which include Facebook, Twitter WhatsApp, blogs and Wikis. The most popular of these platforms are Facebook, with 2.41 billion active users on a monthly basis, followed by WhatsApp with 1.6 billion users and Twitter with 330 million users. These communication platforms have not only impacted social lives but have also impacted students’ learning, across different delivery modes in higher education: distance, conventional and blended learning modes. With this amount of interest in these platforms, knowledge sharing has gained importance within the context in which it is required. In open distance learning (ODL) contexts, social networking platforms can offer students and teachers the platform on which to create and share knowledge, and form learning collaborations. Thus, they can serve as support mechanisms to increase interactions and reduce isolation and loneliness inherent in ODL. Despite this potential and opportunity, research indicates that many ODL teachers are not inclined to using social media tools in learning. Although it is unclear why these tools are uncommon in these environments, concerns raised in the literature have indicated that many teachers have not mastered the art of teaching with technology. Using technological, pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) and product quality theory, and Bloom’s Taxonomy as lenses, this paper is aimed at; firstly, assessing the quality of three social media applications: Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, in order to determine the extent to which they are suitable platforms for teaching and learning, in terms of content generation, information sharing and learning collaborations. Secondly, the paper demonstrates the application of teaching, learning and assessment using Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Keywords: Distance Education, Quality, TPACK, social networking tools

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