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An Evaluation of Online Proctoring ToolsCOVID’19 is hastening the adoption of online learning and teaching worldwide, and across all levels of education. While many of the typical learning and teaching transactions such as lecturing and communicating are easily handled by contemporary online learning technologies, others, such as assessment of learning outcomes with closed book examinations are fraught with challenges. Among other issues to do with students and teachers, these challenges have to do with the ability of teachers and educational organizations to ensure academic integrity in the absence of a live proctor when an examination is being taken remotely and from a private location. A number of online proctoring tools are appearing on the market that portend to offer solutions to some of the major challenges. But for the moment, they too remain untried and tested on any large scale. This includes the cost of the service and their technical requirements. This paper reports on one of the first attempts to properly evaluate a selection of these tools and offer recommendations for educational institutions. This investigation, which was carried out at the University of the South Pacific, comprised a four-phased approach, starting with desk research that was followed with pilot testing by a group of experts as well as students. The elimination of a tool in every phase was based on the ‘survival of the fittest’ approach with each phase building upon the milestones and deliverables from the previous phase. This paper presents the results of this investigation and discusses its key findings.
Impact of OER in Teacher EducationThe purpose of this research study, which employed a quantitative research design, was to determine if there was a difference in the grades achieved by students who were enrolled in an entry-level Foundations of Education course using Open Educational Resources (OER) versus the grades achieved by students who used textbooks in other course sections. The goal was to find out whether OER was of the same or higher quality as textbooks in our minority-serving higher education institution. The outcomes revealed that there was no significant difference in grades for course sections that used OER when compared to course sections that used textbooks. Thus, it can be concluded that OER were as good as the textbook usage. The study was conducted at Hostos Community College (HCC), a two-year college of City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY is comprised of 25 campuses across the five boroughs in New York City, USA.
Open and Distance Learner Engagement with Online Mediation Tools: An Activity Theory AnalysisThis paper presents the results of a study conducted to ascertain the extent to which participants studying in an open and distance learning context utilized the mediation tools provided in an Advanced Writing Skills course, conducted in a blended-learning mode in Sri Lanka. Sixty-four participants engaged in the online component of the writing course using the Process Approach. The course consisted of seven sessions; four addressing the stages of the Process Approach to writing an essay, and three practice sessions. Data were gathered from log-files of the Learning Management System, questionnaires, and interviews related to five mediation tools provided to learners. The data were analyzed utilizing Engeström’s activity theory framework (1987); with focus on the contradictions that emerged in the use of each tool. First, the contradictions that emerged in participants’ engagement with the tools is presented, secondly, the factors that need to be taken into account to ensure greater engagement.
Student Perceptions of Textbooks: Prior Behaviors and Beliefs Can Influence Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Adoption ImpactMany Open Educational Resource (OER) and Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) studies explore cost savings, impact on learning outcomes, and student perceptions of the materials. While OER/ZTC research reports positive student perceptions (Brandle et al., 2019), textbook research reports negative student perceptions of digital textbooks (Behnke, 2018). This study explores student buying behavior and perceptions of textbooks, finding that perceptions toward the usefulness of materials is high when access to materials is high. Given this student perception, textbook purchasing is likely related to outside factors. This study adds to the growing body of research about how OER and ZTC may influence student costs and access to course materials, finding that student attitude toward course materials needs to be considered alongside adoption.
The Influence of Social Presence on Students’ Satisfaction toward Online CourseStudents’ satisfaction plays a vital role in ensuring effective online learning. This study investigated the association between social presence and students’ satisfaction toward online discussions in Learning Management System (LMS) platform conducted at a private university in Malaysia. Both correlation and two-step hierarchical linear regression were performed to analyze the online survey data. The instruments used to measure the summated scores of social presence and satisfaction were Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework and satisfaction scale, respectively. The results revealed that the correlation between both variables was significantly positive. Students who declared relatively high level of satisfaction were more likely to report high level of interaction with their peers in online conversation and high level of social presence. Essentially, social presence seemed to contribute the most in predicting the level of course satisfaction amongst the students.