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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop a valid and reliable psychometric scale to measure the perceived autonomy of postgraduate students in the Hellenic Open University and similar distance education environments. Two dimensions of autonomy, namely personal and educational, were revealed from the literature review and the preliminary study. For the evaluation of each dimension, two subscales were developed. Following two pilot studies, the initial item pool led to the development of a 25-items questionnaire, which was then administered to a sample of 239 postgraduate students. The exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors for the personal autonomy subscale, with 7 items in total, and two factors for the educational autonomy subscale, with 9 items in total. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient ranged between. 623 and .717. A statistically significant gender difference was found only for the personal autonomy subscale and, more specifically, for the factor ‘managing difficulties’, where female respondents received a lower score than males.

Abstract

Today’s educational institutions are expected to create learning opportunities independent of time and place, to offer easily accessible learning environments and interpersonal communication opportunities. Accordingly, higher education institutions develop strategies to meet these expectations through teaching strategies, such as e-learning, blended learning, mobile learning, etc., by using teaching technologies. These new technology-based teaching strategies are mainly shaped by decision-makers in education. This study seeks to analyse the individual factors that affect learners’ mode of teaching and learning delivery preferences. In this study, blended and online learning is considered as preferences of learners’ mode of teaching and learning delivery. The individual factors discussed in this research are cognitive learning strategies, e-learning readiness, and motivation. The data were obtained from the pre-service teachers at the end of the academic semester when they experienced online and blended learning. Data were analysed using optimal scaling analysis. The analysis method provides a two-dimensional centroid graph which shows the correlations between the variable categories. According to study findings, there is a correlation between the preferences of the learning environment, and the constructs of self-efficacy, e-learning motivation, and task value. It can be said that the motivational variables are more effective in the learning environment preference. The students with high task value, e-learning motivation, and self-efficacy preferred studying in blended learning environments. Cognitive strategies, self-directed learning, learner control, and test anxiety factors are independent of the learners’ learning delivery preferences.

Abstract

The conditions for higher education teachers operating in a technology-enhanced education setting and an open educational context – such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – are different when compared to traditional teaching methods (e.g. in a lecture hall). This study investigates the grounds for 20 teachers at Swedish Higher education institutions to be involved in MOOC development projects. Six categories are found and described; including curiosity, merits, teaching development, flexibility, as well as the possibility to disseminate their research and expand their professional networks. Interviewees believed that the work was a viable way to strengthen their research portfolio, while also making a limited effort for teaching, enhancing the dissemination possibilities and strengthening their research networks.

Abstract

Research reveals a rapid expansion of Open Educational Resources (OER) supporting global access to higher education for continued professional development (CPD) for in-service teachers. This offers interactive opportunities for participation and reflection to support the development of teacher cognition through a globally-oriented online community.

This paper will indicate whether the OER MOOCs designed for CPD of in-service English language teachers (ELT) have a role in developing teacher cognition. It also examines the in-service teacher experience of MOOC participants and proposes that teacher cognition and evaluation of cognitive change remain central to understanding teachers’ experience of learning on MOOCs.

Brookfield’s (1995) critical incident questionnaire (CIQ) captured the weekly experience of six in-service ELTs undertaking a CPD MOOC over four weeks. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were applied to CIQ data to examine changes in participant cognition. Teachers reflected on how MOOC developed their own knowledge, their learners’ knowledge, and to a lesser extent, their colleagues’ knowledge. The findings cast new light on the influence of MOOC which primarily shows that in terms of their own knowledge, teachers have a strong tendency to view MOOC participation as a pathway to their own development.

Abstract

Distance web-based VET is nowadays of utmost importance for the EU. But, its special characteristics create doubts, as far as its quality is concerned, so research in this field is essential. According to the theoretical background, teaching methods and specifically, inter-learner communication and collaborative learning, are related to quality assurance. However, they are not always included in quality criteria nor is their use widespread in Greek distance VET. The aim of the research was to compare learner views with EU policy on the inclusion of inter-learner communication and collaborative learning in quality criteria. A qualitative research design was used to investigate EU quality assurance policy and frameworks. According to the findings, inter-learner communication is included in seven EU quality assurance frameworks, while collaborative learning in five of them. Learners have the same opinion about collaborative learning, but inter-learner communication is not as widely accepted as it is by EU organizations. However, from both perspectives, there is a stronger preference for distance inter-learner communication.

Abstract

Since the introduction of connectivism as a learning theory in 2004 a body of literature has developed both offering criticisms and expanding on applications and empirical validation. This article surveys recent literature on the topic, grouping it into themes, and developing an understanding of current perspectives in connectivism. It surveys current perspectives and criticisms of connectivism, views of connectivism as a pedagogy and as a theory of learning, recent evidence supporting connectivism, and a wider understanding of connectivism as it is developing today.

Abstract

Today, language learners can be linked with students in other countries to form international partnerships, which is often called telecollaboration. Some common goals of telecollaboration include cultural awareness, development of foreign language skills and intercultural communicative competence. This study intends to gain insights about the learners’ experience following a 5-week telecollaboration activity between 100 English as a foreign language (EFL) students from Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics in China and Anadolu University in Turkey. The participation in the project was on voluntary basis for Turkish students. The telecollaboration activity included three different stages in which learners from both countries were expected to be able to communicate using different channels (text messaging, voice calls, video calls, emailing) synchronously and asynchronously, to analyse and compare their own and their peers’ culture to build understanding of each other’s identities and to collaborate together to produce a cultural piece of work. At the end of the activity Turkish EFL students were invited to answer a questionnaire that aimed to gain insights about their experience related to telecollaboration activity. Results revealed that the participants mostly enjoyed the activity. They also believed the activity contributed to their language learning process, motivation and intercultural communicative competence.

Abstract

In the U.S. there are steady efforts by governmental and philanthropic organizations to increase the representation of students of colour in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). After years of mixed results, researchers and educators have started to question one size fits all notions of broadening participation. An increasing number of projects are challenging universalist assumptions by enrolling the expertise of culturally situated communities of practice in STEM lessons and the educational technologies that support them. While this research shows promising results for improving young people’s interest and performance in STEM, there has been little research on how these lessons and technologies might also benefit the communities whose expertise were originally enrolled. This paper details the design of educational technologies that bridge STEM and African American cosmetology. We report on a mixed-methods research project, conducted with a group of predominantly African American cosmetologists. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected to study their attitudes toward STEM before and after working with the technologies. Our results suggest positive changes in the cosmetologists’ attitudes. We end with a critical discussion about respecting the knowledge systems of underrepresented communities of practice in educational technology research and development.