• The Quality of Distance Learning from an Economic Perspective: A Case Study from Hong Kong

      Wai, Chan Chi (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-08-01)
      This paper examines the quality of distance education in terms of its impact on the earnings of workers, based on Hong Kong’s 2001 census and 2006 by-census data. Education and training, which are an investment in human capital, enhance the productivity of workers and increase their lifetime incomes: a more productive investment will produce a higher rate of return. The effects of education and training on workers’ earnings can be regarded as a proxy for measuring the quality of education undertaken. This study shows that, as regards earnings, and therefore (indirectly) quality, there is no statistically significant difference between distance and traditional education.
    • Interactive scenario design: The value of flowcharts and schemas in developing scenario-based lessons for online and flexible learning contexts

      Stewart, Terry M; Brown, Mark; Weatherstone, Anna (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-08-01)
      A web-delivered problem-based scenario was designed for use in a distance education professional development workshop for academics, and also as a stand-alone module. Early scenario design and development was assisted with flowcharts and iterative table-based schemas, which formalised anddocumented the process before authoring in the e-tool, SBL Interactive. It is well established that such planning techniques can scaffold the course development process. While the flowcharts and schemas described in this paper are designed for use with this tool, the methodology described for their use as planning tools applies generally to the design of interactiveelectronically-delivered problem-based scenarios. They also allow scenario descriptions and content to be archived and shared in an easily accessible form. The paper illustrates the basic principle that, when designing a course, there are many choices about what, when, where, and how to teach. It provides an account of how conventional design techniques can beused alongside new e-tools to systematically select and optimise the most appropriate instructional blend for a particular learning context.
    • Fly on the Wall: Using Teleconferencing to Supervise Student Teacher Performance

      Bolton, Marcia (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-08-01)
      The use of teleconferencing between a rural state college supervisor and her professional development school partners has added a new component to the mission to educate teachers of the 21st century and to create a learning community in a remote school location. Supervising student teachers by teleconference has increased the college’s potential for preparing teachers who are in tune with the most advanced types of instruction in ourProfessional Development Partnership with Calhoun County Schools, USA.
    • Today’s Student and Virtual Schooling: The Reality, the Challenges, the Promise…

      Barbour, Michael (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-08-01)
      In 2008 I was approached to deliver a keynote address at the biennial conference of the Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) in Wellington on the topic of today’s student and K–12 distance education.Several months ago, Mark Nichols asked me if I would be interested in putting some of the ideas that I discussed as a part of that August 2008 presentation into a manuscript for the Journal of Distance Learning. This paper represents my best efforts to summarise and expand on those ideas.
    • Reflections on e-learning from a communication perspective.

      Mersham, Gary (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-08-01)
      This article uses a dialogical model of communication to reflect on communication in e-learning. It is argued that teaching and learning is a singular, dialogical communicative process leading to a shared negotiation of meaning congruent with the collaborative-constructivist perspective. However, misunderstanding and miscommunication are common and less detectable in an online environment, raising questions about the limitations of communication in the context of e-learning.The author examines the importance of communication contexts in e-learning, probing issues of interpersonal and group contexts in the matrix of possible interactions as well as those of distance, place, and proximity. The author also speculates on the limits of encoding and decoding and exchange of meaning in the e-learning transactional process, and the affordances and disaffordances of mediated communication.
    • Playing catch-up: Investigating public and institutional policies for OER practices in Australia

      Australian Learning and Teaching Council; Bossu, Carina; Brown, Mark; Bull, David (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-10-20)
      This article explores some of the most well-known Open Educational Resource (OER) initiatives worldwide and then reports on OER developments in Australia. It also discusses a current research project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), including its design and methods of data collection and analysis. Although the study reported here is ongoing, a survey of the tertiary sector to establish the current ‘state of play’ of OERs in Australia has been completed. The authors examine a preliminary analysis that focuses mostly on OER policies at governmental and institutional levels. The analysis shows that the OER movement remains relatively immature in Australia. Also, according to the survey’s participants, the government and educational institutions need to give much greater consideration to a regulatory framework in which the use of OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP) can be fostered and encouraged. Isolated OER activities exist, but there appears to be a great deal of catching up required if Australia is to have coordinated initiatives to foster innovation and a culture of more OEPs.
    • Something for everyone? The different approaches of academic disciplines to Open Educational Resources and the impact on widening participation

      Coughlan, Tony; Perryman, Leigh-Anne (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-10-27)
      This article explores the relationship between academic disciplines’ representation in the United Kingdom Open University’s (OU) OpenLearn open educational resources (OER) repository and in the OU’s fee-paying curriculum. Becher’s (1989) typology was used to subdivide the OpenLearn and OU fee-paying curriculum content into four disciplinary categories: Hard Pure (e.g., Science), Hard Applied (e.g., Technology), Soft Pure (e.g., Arts) and Soft Applied (e.g., Education). It was found that while Hard Pure and Hard Applied disciplines enjoy an increased share of the OER curriculum, Soft Applied disciplines are under-represented as OER. Possible reasons for this disparity are proposed and Becher’s typology is adapted to be more appropriate to 21st-century higher education.
    • The Potential of Building High School Students’ Vocabulary Using an iPod Touch and Gaming App

      Redd, Jennifer; Schmidt-Crawford, Denise (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-10-27)
      This study focused on the potential for building 25 high-school students’ word knowledge by using a mobile learning device and gaming app. Using a game as an instructional tool is a portable way for students to engage with content. The amount of vocabulary mastered after using the app on the mobile device was examined in relation to a pre-test and a post-test, completed 3 weeks apart. The aspects investigated were the transfer potential of learning on a mobile device, and the variation in performance levels. The results indicated a direct correlation between the pre-test score as a predictor for the post-test score. Also, the choice of techniques used to play the app indicated that participants called upon the ‘process of elimination’ and ‘roots/word parts’ as tools to help them master the vocabulary. These findings point to the potential for incorporating a game as an instructional tool for vocabulary development.
    • Making academic OER easy: Reflections on technology and openness at Oxford University

      Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC); Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) - SCORE fellowships; Highton, Melissa H.; Fresen, Jill W.; Wild, Joanna (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-11-15)
      Due to its stringent entry requirements, academic reputation and world ranking, Oxford University in the United Kingdom is perceived by some as being a closed, exclusive, and elitist institution. As learning technologists working in the institution, we have experienced an enthusiasm amongst academic colleagues for openness in publication and practice enhanced by new technologies, which reflects their long-demonstrated commitment to publication and the dissemination of new knowledge. Advances in digital technologies and the emergence of online platforms for global dissemination have enabled Oxford University seminars, lectures, and public addresses, many by famous figures, to be shared with an international audience. This article charts the journey Oxford has made in opening up educational content and describes the ways in which we have worked to ensure that the value added by technology aligns with current academic practice in the institution.
    • Extending the Territory: From Open Educational Resources to Open Educational Practices

      Ehlers, Ulf-Daniel (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-12-12)
      This article examines the findings of the recent OPAL report Beyond OER: Shifting Focus from Resources to Practices. In doing so, it defines current understanding of open educational resources and open educational practices, and highlights the shift from open content to open practice. The article includes a framework for supporting open educational practices. The conclusions emphasise that open access is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the opening of education, and foreshadows ongoing moves toward changes in educational architectures that promote increased uptake of open educational resources and wider application of open education.
    • Introduction

      Kehrwald, Ben (Public Knowledge Project, 2011-12-12)
    • Ready, Steady, Study: Implications of Online Learning for Early Childhood Teacher Education

      du Plessis, Karen; Walker, Lisa; Naughton, Christopher (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      Online learning is a relatively new mode of study for educating early childhood teachers in New Zealand. This review discusses online learning and the need for preparation to learn in an online environment. Following a comparison of traditional and online modes of study, the paper reviews online learning in general and relates it to the early childhood context. The importance of a dedicated orientation for early childhood student teachers in an online learning environment is fully justified.
    • Book Reviews

      Simpson, Mary; Stevens, Ken (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
    • Replacing the Nods and Smiles: Raising Questions about Philosophy and Pedagogy in a Predominantly Web-based Master’s Module

      Haigh, Mavis; Turnbull, Margaret (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      This paper discusses the student and lecturer experience of a Master of Education module taught through the World Wide Web and with study guides. It explores the wide range of responses to questions about students' perceptions of the philosophy that underpinned the pedagogical approach, the structure and content of the module, the effectiveness of the communication systems, and the IT service/support for the module. Based on these responses, we have asked some questions about how we might maintain our principles but alter our pedagogy in order to lessen transactional distance and increase social presence given our inability to engage in the nods and smiles that accompanied our face-to-face approach.
    • Introduction

      Anderson, Bill; Simpson, Mary (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
    • The Impact of a One-Year Teacher Training Programme in Uganda

      Kato, Habib; Eron, Lawrence; Maani, John; Otto, Aron Y.; Okot, Daniel; Auma-Okumo, Santo; Bunoti, Sarah; Cula, Andrew (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      Education for all, life-long learning, and other associated developments are placing great pressure on Uganda to provideenhanced access for education to its schoolage and adult populations. This requires innovation in the provision of education. Distance education (DE) is expanding rapidly, especially in the training of teachers. However there are limited numbers of experienced and qualified practitioners to deliver and manage such innovative distance education initiatives.Kyambogo University, Uganda, in collaboration with the International Extension College (IEC) of the United Kingdom, designed a one-year study programme on introductory aspects of distance education delivery and management, and availed this to selected groups of inexperienced and unqualified practitioners of the DE mode of delivery. This study programme was delivered by the distance mode. A research exercise was undertaken to assess the impact of this one-year study programme on the participants: on their understanding of DE issues and on the nature of their continuing work in supporting,delivering, and managing DE. This article discusses the main findings from the research and the clearly positive impact that such an applied study programme has had-most importantly on sensitizing participants to the unique cultural needs and study contexts of the distance learner.
    • What’s Needed for E-learning to Take Off? Designing a Suitable National and Institutional Policy Runway

      Rosenberg, W J (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      There is a wide range of possible educational applications of technology, from mundane to mind-stretching, which have a good pedagogical rationale and will benefit both students and teachers. Yet the e-leaming plane is bumping along the runway, sometimes seeming to take to the air, but in fact still short of takeoff in the sense of being integrated into teaching practice. Part of the reason is the policy environment, both at national and institutional levels. This paper considers whatmight be helpful in tertiary education, particularly in universities. Nationally, confidence has been dented by fundingscandals involving a very specific type of e-leaming, and there seems little recognition of the startup costs for institutions and staff, but useful work is going on to support the development of standards and to fund e-leaming projects through the e-leaming Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF). Institutionally, some institutions are doing better than others, but in almost all there are the perennial issues of the status of teaching, which has been underlined by the coming of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF), and the weak incentives for teaching staff to develop their teaching and innovate. Successful policy needs to address these issues. This paper looks at international experience and suggests examples of national imd institutional policies which can help.
    • Book Reviews

      Stevens, Ken (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
    • Reaching the Unreached Primary Teachers: Distance Teacher Education at the University of the South Pacific

      Lingham, Govinda Ishwar; Burnett, Greg (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      This paper reports on the recent completion of an educational aid project carried out at the regional University of the South Pacificin Fiji. From 2004 to 2006, the university’s on-campus Bachelor of Education (primary) was restructured for delivery in flexible anddistance learning mode, in order to better meet student need across the Pacific region. The paper highlights the processes as well as some of the challenges involved in such a large undertaking. The paper also highlights the unique distance/teacher education context in which the University of the South Pacific operates.
    • Staff and Student Views of AUTonline (BlackBoard) after Three Years

      Higgins, Andrew; Kreieg, Janneke (Public Knowledge Project, 2012-01-20)
      This article reports on the views of both staff and students at AUT University after having had three years’ experience usingthe BlackBoard learning management system, locally renamed AUTonline. The university sought the assistance of its Institutional Research Unit (IRU) to conduct two surveys, one of staff opinions and one from students. There were 210 out of 400 identified regular staff users responding to the questionnaire. The IRU identified 8,000 regular student users of the system, randomly selecting 1,500 and receiving a response from 499 students. The survey found that both staff and students were about 80 percent satisfied with their experiences with the learning management system in general; no category of issues in the survey fell into the less-than-satisfactory bandwidth. No similar institutional surveys have been conducted by universities in New Zealand, so the outcomes of the survey have been located more in the Australasian context.