The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (www.irrodl.org) is a refereed, open access e-journal that disseminates original research, theory, and best practice in open and distributed learning worldwide. This journal was formerly named the "International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning", the name change from "distance" to "distributed" to emphasise the new focus on openness and particularly on open educational resources (OER).

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning as of vol. 1(2000) to current.

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  • Design Matters: Development and Validation of the Online Course Design Elements (OCDE) Instrument

    Martin, Florence; Bolliger, Doris U.; Flowers, Claudia (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-18)
    Course design is critical to online student engagement and retention. This study focused on the development and validation of an online course design elements (OCDE) instrument with 38 Likert-type scale items in five subscales: (a) overview, (b) content presentation, (c) interaction and communication, (d) assessment and evaluation, and (e) learner support. The validation process included implementation with 222 online instructors and instructional designers in higher education. Three models were evaluated which included a one-factor model, five-factor model, and higher-order model. The five-factor and higher-order models aligned with the development of the OCDE. The frequency of use of OCDE items was rated above the mean 4.0 except for two items on collaboration and self-assessment. The overall OCDE score was related to self-reported levels of expertise but not with years of experience. The findings have implications for the use of this instrument with online instructors and instructional designers in the design of online courses.
  • Book Review: Guidelines on the Development of Open Educational Resources Policies

    Demirbağ, İrem; Sezgin, Sedef (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-28)
  • Editorial - Volume 22, Issue 2

    Blomgren, Constance (Athabasca University Press, 2021-05-03)
  • What Is Open Pedagogy? Identifying Commonalities

    Tietjen, Phil; Asino, Tutaleni I. (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-01)
    Open pedagogy has been touted by advocates as a promising expansion of open educational resources because it involves shifting from making resources accessible to impacting the practice of teaching. The allure of the term coupled with its promise to bring greater innovation to pedagogy has led to its widespread use at conferences and publications. However, as the concept has gained increasing levels of popularity, it has also sparked considerable debate as to what it means. For example, how is open pedagogy distinct from other forms of pedagogy such as critical or cultural? What does it mean to practice open pedagogy? Without a clear understanding of its meaning, establishing a solid research foundation on which to make claims about the impact of open pedagogy approaches is difficult. Accordingly, this article argues that the current debate signals the need for the development of robust analytical frameworks in order to construct a cohesive body of research that can be used to advance it as a field of study. To do this, the authors review the literature and identify common characteristics within it. The authors then propose a five-part framework that encourages the long-term sustainability of open pedagogy.
  • Impact of Changes in Teaching Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Effect of Integrative E-Learning on Readiness for Change and Interest in Learning Among Indonesian University Students

    Prasetyo, Anggun Resdasari; Nurtjahjanti, Harlina; Ardhiani, Lusi Nur (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-26)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to conduct online learning, requiring lecturers to create innovative e-learning methods and students to be ready to adapt and show high interest in learning. This study aimed to examine the effect of an integrative e-learning method on students’ readiness and interest in learning at Universitas Diponegoro, Indonesia. This research was experimental, designed with one group pretest and posttest, and no control group. As many as 190 students participated, selected using clustered random sampling. Two measurement scales were used: the readiness for change scale and the interest in learning scale. The statistical analysis technique used was a paired sample t-test. The results of paired sample t-test analysis on readiness for change (p = 0.000; p < 0.05) and interest in learning (p = 0.000; p < 0.05) showed significant differences between the pretest and posttest data. The findings indicated that students who participate in integrative e-learning show significant change in the level of readiness and interest in learning.
  • Evaluation of Open Educational Resources for an Introductory Exercise Science Course

    Hillman, Angela R.; Brooks, Anna R.; Barr, Marcus; Strycker, Jesse (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-25)
    While open educational resources (OER) have gained popularity, nearly three quarters of faculty are not aware they are available for use. However, when used, they are well received and do not negatively impact quality of learning. OER can be used within a variety of platforms, including software that aims to be more interactive and engage students in active learning and assessment. One such platform is Top Hat, which was used by the authors of this study to develop a textbook for an introductory exercise science course. We assessed student’s perceptions of Top Hat and barriers to use for reading their textbook and for class assessments over the course of two years. A total of 486 students were registered for this course. Although two thirds of students had previous experience with Top Hat and half of those used the textbook feature, students (n = 39, 38%) were apprehensive about reading their textbook online via Top Hat. However, these feelings resolved as students became comfortable with the platform’s features. Nearly 80% of students have sometimes or never acquired their textbooks before the start of the semester, despite 96% who expressed the importance of having their materials accessible online and available on or before the first day of the course. This indicated that students understood the importance of having their materials for the start of the semester, however they perceived the barriers of purchasing books to be greater. Therefore, using OER and Top Hat removed student learning barriers and had potential to increase course participation and success.
  • A Scoping Review on Open Educational Resources to Support Interactions of Learners with Disabilities

    Moon, Jewoong; Park, Yujin (Athabasca University Press, 2021-03-17)
    This scoping review explored the trends in open educational resources (OER) that support the interactions of learners with disabilities and the challenges of supporting these interactions in such environments. Emerging OER and open educational practices allow learners to interact with digital learning resources in self-regulated learning. Since OER assume learners’ self-regulation, research has explored how to promote learner interactions to facilitate better engagement and motivation. Emerging research on OER-enabled pedagogy corroborate this trend. However, despite increasing interest in OER and open educational practices, few studies have demonstrated how OER support various types of interactions for learners with disabilities. Learners with disabilities are likely to experience challenges in interacting with OER due to their modality constraints. A comprehensive literature synthesis is essential to investigate the needs of learners with disabilities in their interactions in OER. In this study, we reviewed and synthesized existing research on how OER and open educational practices support the interactions of learners with disabilities across different OER platforms. Our findings suggest both research and design implications for future OER designs suited for learners with disabilities.
  • Mentoring Graduate Students Online: Strategies and Challenges

    Pollard, Rhiannon; Kumar, Swapna (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-18)
    The proliferation of online graduate programs, and more recently, higher education institutions’ moves to online interactions due to the COVID-19 crisis, have led to graduate student mentoring increasingly occurring online. Challenges, strategies, and outcomes associated with online mentoring of graduate students are of primary importance for the individuals within a mentoring dyad and for universities offering online or blended graduate education. The nature of mentoring interactions within an online format presents unique challenges and thus requires strategies specifically adapted to such interactions. There is a need to examine how mentoring relationships have been, and can best be, conducted when little to no face-to-face interaction occurs. This paper undertook a literature review of empirical studies from the last two decades on online master’s and doctoral student mentoring. The main themes were challenges, strategies and best practices, and factors that influence the online mentoring relationship. The findings emphasized the importance of fostering interpersonal aspects of the mentoring relationship, ensuring clarity of expectations and communications as well as competence with technologies, providing access to peer mentor groups or cohorts, and institutional support for online faculty mentors. Within these online mentoring relationships, the faculty member becomes the link to an otherwise absent yet critical experience of academia for the online student, making it imperative to create and foster an effective relationship based on identified strategies and best practices for online mentoring.
  • Museum-Based Distance Learning Programs: Current Practices and Future Research Opportunities

    Ennes, Megan (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-03)
    Museums play an important role in out-of-school learning. Many museums have begun offering distance learning programs to increase their reach and the accessibility of their collections. These programs serve a wide range of audiences from pre-kindergarten to lifelong learners. This descriptive study examined the current practices in museum-based distance learning programs. Additional data was collected once museums began closing due to COVID-19 and transitioning to distance learning programs. The study found that museums offering programs before COVID-19 predominately offered school-based programs via teleconferencing software. Museums transitioning to distance learning programs following closures due to COVID-19 mainly utilized social media platforms to offer a wide range of programming for the general public. Additional information was gathered regarding how the programs were developed and who facilitated them. Museums are still determining how to respond to COVID-19 closures. This study described the current landscape and potential opportunities for research related to museum-based distance learning programs. These areas for research include establishing best practices, defining high-quality programs, opportunities to engage in instructional design, and professional development for the museum staff facilitating these programs.
  • Investigation of the Factors Affecting Open and Distance Education Learners’ Intentions to Use a Virtual Laboratory

    ÇİVRİL, Hanife; Özkul, Ali Ekrem (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-29)
    Laboratories, which are an integral part of education in disciplines that require hands-on training and application, can now be presented using new technologies, and application activities can be realized at a distance. In this study, virtual laboratories (VLs) are discussed, and factors affecting the students’ intention to use VLs are investigated. The study was conducted within laboratory applications of circuit analysis within an associate degree program of a distance teaching university in Turkey. In this study, which used exploratory sequential design approach, the learners’ intentions to use a VL were examined within the framework of the technology acceptance model (TAM). Content analysis was used for the analysis of qualitative data, and the partial least squares structural equation model was used for the analysis of quantitative data. As a result of the study, the developed TAM-based research model is a useful conceptual framework towards understanding and explaining the intentions of learners’ virtual laboratory usage. The results of this study will guide institutions to integrate VLs effectively into the education process and to increase and disseminate the use of VLs by learners.
  • An Analysis of Digital Education in Canada in 2017-2019

    Veletsianos, Dr. George; VanLeeuwen, Dr. Charlene A.; Belikov, Olga; Johnson, Dr. Nicole (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-28)
    Digital education refers to in-person, blended, and fully online learning efforts, as well as attempts to capture a wide range of teaching and learning contexts which make use of digital technology. While digital education is pervasive in Canada, pan-Canadian data on digital education are relatively scarce. The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association/Association Canadienne de Recherche sur la Formation en Ligne conducted pan-Canadian surveys of higher education institutions (2017-2019), collecting data on the digital education landscape and publishing annual reports of its results. Previous analyses of the data have used quantitative approaches. However, the surveys also collected responses to open-ended questions. In this study, we report a systematic analysis of qualitative data exploring the digital education landscape in Canada and its changes over time. Findings shed light on the growth of digital education, the situated and multidimensional nature of digital education, the adoption of openness, quality, and rigour, and the development of alternative credentials.
  • Analysis of Success Indicators in Online Learning

    Idrizi, Ermira; Filiposka, Sonja; Trajkovijk, Vladimir (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-02)
    This article examines the impact of personality traits, learning styles, gender, and online course factors (course difficulty, group affiliation, provided materials, etc.) in the academic success of students taking online courses and their overall success rate through traditional classes. Students’ performance in the online learning environment is still a new perception, and a fair numbers of details are still unknown, in stark contrast to the details known in regard to traditional learning methods. Different types of learners respond differently to online and traditional courses. A case study was performed in which students were asked to attend two online courses, with different difficulty levels, during one semester. One-way analysis of variance was used to determine which factors are significant for the academic performance of students taking online courses, as well as for their overall academic success. Findings from the case study indicate that female students score slightly better, course difficulty has impact on test results, emotional students are more susceptible to online environments, and learning styles are more difficult to identify in online classes.
  • Ready to Do OpenCourseWare? A Comparative Study of Taiwan College Faculty

    Wei, Huei-Chuan; Chou, Chien (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-28)
    This study aimed to address the teaching readiness issues of OpenCourseWare (OCW). Specifically, the research goal was to examine Taiwanese college faculty members’ level of teaching readiness for OCW via a questionnaire named “Teaching Readiness Scale for OCW” (TRS-OCW). A total of 142 Taiwanese college faculty members both with and without OCW teaching experience participated in this study. The results showed that faculty members with OCW teaching experience had significantly higher readiness levels in the factors of perception of administrative support, personal characteristics, and OCW recognition when compared to faculty members without OCW teaching experience. Male faculty members with OCW teaching experience had higher readiness than female faculty members with OCW teaching experience in the OCW recognition factor. Moreover, the job position of OCW-experienced faculty did not make a difference in any readiness factor. Finally, perceived administrative support was the only significant predictor of the willingness of college faculty without OCW teaching experience to provide OCW in the future.
  • A Systematic Review of Questionnaire-Based Quantitative Research on MOOCs

    Lu, Mingxiao; Cui, Tianyi; Huang, Zhenyu; Zhao, Hong; Li, Tao; Wang, Kai (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-22)
    Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have attracted much interest from educational researchers and practitioners around the world. There has been an increase in empirical studies about MOOCs in recent years, most of which used questionnaire surveys and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data. This study explored the research topics and paradigms of questionnaire-based quantitative research on MOOCs by reviewing 126 articles available in the Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) databases from January 2015 to August 2020. This comprehensive overview showed that: (a) the top three MOOC research topics were the factors influencing learners’ performance, dropout rates and continuance intention to use MOOCs, and assessing MOOCs; (b) for these three topics, many studies designed questionnaires by adding new factors or adjustments to extant theoretical models or survey instruments; and (c) most researchers used descriptive statistics to analyze data, followed by the structural equation model, and reliability and validity analysis. This study elaborated on the relationship of research topics and key factors in the research models by building factors-goals (F-G) graphs. Finally, we proposed some directions and recommendations for future research on MOOCs.
  • Book Review: Learning Online-The Student Experience

    Oktay, Özlem; Sösuncu, Fırat (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-12)
  • Trends and Patterns in Distance Education (2014–2019): A Synthesis of Scholarly Publications and a Visualization of the Intellectual Landscape

    BOZKURT, Aras; Zawacki-Richter, Olaf (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-18)
    The field of distance education (DE) is dynamic and constantly evolving; it reflects and adapts according to changes in socio-cultural, demographic, political, and technological domains. Thus, there is a need to understand past and present activities in the field, in order to better inform future research. The main purpose of this study was to examine DE research through data mining and analytics approaches, using social network analysis (SNA) and text mining to conduct a bibliographic analysis. The findings highlighted three main strands of DE research: (a) issues related to open education; (b) the design, support, and quality assurance of online DE; and (c) the implementation and use of educational technology, media, and digital tools. SNA of the bibliometric data identified pivotal theoretical contributions, including that the fields of distance education and educational technology converge. The article concludes with recommendations for future research directions.
  • Investigation of Emerging Trends in the E-Learning Field Using Latent Dirichlet Allocation

    Gurcan, Fatih; Ozyurt, Ozcan; Cagitay, Nergiz Ercil (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-14)
    E-learning studies are becoming very important today as they provide alternatives and support to all types of teaching and learning programs. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational systems has further increased the significance of e-learning. Accordingly, gaining a full understanding of the general topics and trends in e-learning studies is critical for a deeper comprehension of the field. There are many studies that provide such a picture of the e-learning field, but the limitation is that they do not examine the field as a whole. This study aimed to investigate the emerging trends in the e-learning field by implementing a topic modeling analysis based on latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) on 41,925 peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2000 and 2019. The analysis revealed 16 topics reflecting emerging trends and developments in the e-learning field. Among these, the topics “MOOC,” “learning assessment,” and “e-learning systems” were found to be key topics in the field, with a consistently high volume. In addition, the topics of “learning algorithms,” “learning factors,” and “adaptive learning” were observed to have the highest overall acceleration, with the first two identified as having a higher acceleration in recent years. Going by these results, it is concluded that the next decade of e-learning studies will focus on learning factors and algorithms, which will possibly create a baseline for more individualized and adaptive mobile platforms. In other words, after a certain maturity level is reached by better understanding the learning process through these identified learning factors and algorithms, the next generation of e-learning systems will be built on individualized and adaptive learning environments. These insights could be useful for e-learning communities to improve their research efforts and their applications in the field accordingly.
  • Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Experiences With Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Hamaidi, Dr. Diala A.; Arouri, Dr. Yousef M.; Noufal, Rana K.; Aldrou, Islam T. (Athabasca University Press, 2021-02-02)
    This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of primary and secondary students’ parents in Jordan toward the distance learning process implemented in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. To achieve the study objectives, the researchers used the descriptive survey method to collect and analyze data and interpret the results. After developing the study instrument (questionnaire) and ensuring its validity and reliability, it was distributed to a selected sample, consisting of 470 parents, by random cluster method during the second semester of the 2019–2020 academic year. The study results show that primary and secondary students’ parents were moderately satisfied with the distance learning process implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the results reveal statistically significant differences in the parents’ perceptions attributed to the variables of the child’s grade, in favor of grades 5–7; teacher’s gender, in favor of female teachers; and school type, in favor of private schools.
  • Frugal MOOCs: An Adaptable Contextualized Approach to MOOC Designs for Refugees

    Shah, Mariam Aman; Santandreu Calonge, David (Athabasca University Press, 2017-09-06)
    There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the role Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can play in improving access to education globally, and particularly to thousands of people in developing and developed countries. There is increasing concern, however, that the millions of displaced refugee learners throughout Europe, the Middle East, and other regions are still disadvantaged when it comes to engaging in learning through MOOCs. The reasons for this disadvantage range from a lack of appropriate infrastructure or other supporting structures, to a lack of contextualized content. So far, little attention has been paid to contextualized MOOC models, which may both impact policies and be adapted to the specific needs of these learners who often do not have the means to access many education opportunities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to propose a frugally-engineered MOOC model that addresses the barriers of access and participation for refugees. This paper engages in an exploratory research methodology, using findings from the literature and expert opinions gathered through interviews. These findings lead to the development of what the authors call a Frugal MOOC Model which can be contextualized to meet the needs of refugee learners. The paper goes on to highlight the development of the Frugal MOOC Model as the first phase of an ongoing study. It concludes with recommendations for the next phase of the study: how to implement the newly developed model.
  • IDEAS for Transforming Higher Education: An Overview of Ongoing Trends and Challenges

    Guàrdia , Lourdes; Clougher, Derek; Anderson, Terry; Maina, Marcelo (Athabasca University Press, 2021-01-29)
    The recent unexpected impact of the global pandemic on higher education has caused universities, governments, students, and teachers to reexamine all components of existing systems, including how to become more effective and efficient in using technologies for education. We have seen that moving classes online—either blended or fully online—can be done rapidly, but early reports show huge variations in quality, acceptance, completion, and learning. Thus, it is important to examine the existing research literature on pedagogical innovations and practices that use technologies. To understand this complex situation, the present study examines the current technological, organisational, and pedagogical trends and challenges using an exploratory design carried out in three stages. In stage one, a literature review of the academic and grey literature was conducted, identifying 14 trends of interest. These trends were used in a workshop and interview discussion between leading experts in the higher education field. Stage two focused on identifying 108 initiatives that represent these trends. Finally, 30 of these were selected as cases for further exploration in stage three. Using thematic analysis, the 30 cases were condensed into 12 main themes that represent the innovative practices that led to development of the IDEAS framework as a signpost on the roadmap of next-generation pedagogy for transforming higher education. IDEAS is presented in the discussion alongside examples and ways to apply it in higher education contexts.

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