Open Praxis is a peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal focusing on research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education. It is published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education - ICDE. The aim of Open Praxis is to provide a forum for global collaboration and discussion of issues in the practice of distance and e-learning. Open Praxis welcomes contributions which demonstrate creative and innovative research, and which highlight challenges, lessons and achievements in the practice of distance and e-learning from all over the world. An article may present research or surveys of recent work, describe original work, or discuss new technology and its possibilities, implications and/or other related issues.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of the Open Praxis as of vol. 1(2007) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Does Virtual Field Experience Deliver? An Examination into Virtual Field Experience during the Pandemic and Its Implications for Teacher Education Programs

    Vu, Phu; Fisher, Christine (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    This study attempted to examine whether academic performance of pre-service teachers (PST) in virtual field experiences was the same as that of their peers in the previous semester who had regular face-to-face field experiences. Data for this study included PST’ scores in three course sections in the Spring 2020 semester at a mid-size public university located in the Midwest of the United States where all of their field experiences were conducted virtually and compared with that of their peers in the Fall 2019 semester when all of their field experiences were conducted face-to-face. Our findings indicated that PST’s academic performance in the virtual field experiences was the same as that of their peers in the previous semester who had regular face-toface field experiences.
  • Lessons learned developing a massive open online course in implementation research in infectious diseases of poverty in low-and middle-income countries

    Allotey, Pascale; Reidpath, Daniel; Certain, Edith; Vahedi, Mahnaz; Maher, Dermot; Launois, Pascal; Ross, Bella (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    This study uses a case study approach to examine the development of a massive open online course (MOOC) on intervention and implementation research in infectious diseases of poverty for learners in low- and middleincome countries (LMICs). Implementation research (IR) seeks to understand and address barriers to effective implementation of health interventions, strategies, and policies. In recent years, IR has attracted increased interest, and corresponding demand for training, however, current training opportunities are not easily accessible to learners in LMICs. In 2017, the MOOC was introduced to a diverse range of learners to enhance access to training materials and has been offered yearly since. Findings are based on the experiences of the MOOC working group which included developers and facilitators, and on interpretations of data such as forum discussion activity and Facebook posts. The use of material from local contexts and in local languages, and professional facilitation of discussion forums was identified by the working group to be key considerations in developing the MOOC. Other findings include the importance of using clear instructions and preparing discussion questions to stimulate learner engagement. These findings add to the limited knowledge of MOOCs developed for LMICs and are of value to others developing professional development MOOCs in LMIC health contexts.
  • Evaluating student support provision in a hybrid teacher education programme using Tait’s framework of practice

    National Research Foundation; Aluko, Folake Ruth (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    Effective student support is key in stemming the dropout in distance education. This article reports on the student support provision in a hybrid teacher education programme. Altogether 160 participants were purposively selected; 126 completed a survey, 33 (30 students and 3 administrative staff) took part in six focus group discussions; and one instructional designer took part in a one-on-one interview. Tait’s framework on student support guided the study. The data analysis involved descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The findings revealed that, although the institution is striving to support its students, areas that need attention include call centre services, tutor support services, tutor-student communication, and funding. Recommendations include the need for providers to pay particular attention to students’ whole experience to ensure effective student support. Further research is needed regarding the contextualisation of each aspect of Tait’s framework; the author suggests some guidelines to guide this process.
  • Exploring Learners’ Attitude toward Facebook as a Medium of Learners’ Engagement during Covid-19 Quarantine

    Moghadam, Meisam; Shamsi, Habibeh (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    The rapid transition to online teaching because of the global disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic exclaimed all the educators on finding the most efficient ways to teach in the presence of all rampant limitations caused in both social and academic lives. Facebook, as one of the favorite social networks, having hundreds of millions of users, is an enticing way for the teachers and students to form an online community. With this regard, the purpose of the present study is to explore the attitude and viewpoints of language learners toward implementing Facebook as a peripheral medium, besides the formal e-learning platform used in the classroom, to engage learners in language learning and explore its effectiveness in the process of teaching. Moreover, this study aims to explore learners’ attitudes through the lens of the sociocultural theory. To this end, participants were chosen based on availability sampling, and the online versions of two surveys, Facebook Online Survey and Usefulness and Effectiveness Survey were shared with them through Facebook wall posts and Google Drive. The quantitative and qualitative analyses of their responses are examined and the results are analyzed based on the sociocultural perspective. This study implied that Facebook can be employed as a motivating technology to engage learners and an effective tool besides the other online medium used during the global lockdown.
  • An Exploration of China-Africa Cooperation in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges in Open Distance Learning

    Zhu, Xia; Chikwa, Gladson (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    Cognisant of the wide range of cooperation between China and Africa and the existing strong Sino-African relationship, this article explores the international cooperation between Africa and China in the higher education domain, especially in the field of Open Distance Learning (ODL). The study employed data triangulation relying on both secondary and primary sources to address the main research questions. It sheds light on the development of ODL in Chinese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with a focus on professional development of university teachers. The article argues that ODL is crucial for emerging economies’ sustainable development. Key factors such as political, technological and socio-cultural features play a crucial role in the development and effective implementation of ODL. By exploring the potential opportunities and identifying related challenges, this article contributes to an understanding of how mutually beneficial partnerships between African universities and Chinese HEIs can be developed within the wider framework of Sino-African relationship.
  • A global crash-course in teaching and learning online: A thematic review of empirical Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) studies in higher education during Year 1 of COVID-19

    Stewart, William H. (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted education in ways that academic institutions, scholars, administrators, educators, and students will strive to fully comprehend for years to come. The global spread of SARSCoV2 in early 2020 prompted social distancing as the primary countermeasure against contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus, which in turn led academic communities worldwide to suddenly transition to emergency remote teaching (ERT) in order to maintain educational continuity. This review of the literature synthesizes findings from 38 empirical studies set in higher education about ERT in 2020 from all over the world. A thematic analysis of findings produced four major themes: 1) diverse ERT experiences; 2) digital divide and vast educational/socio economic inequalities; 3) commonly-experienced ERT problems, issues, and challenges; and 4) frequently-made adjustments in response to ERT. Findings are indicative of the immediate aftermath of transitions to ERT, and open areas of research for long-term impacts of ERT are discussed.
  • Student support service excellence evaluation: Balancing the Iron Triangle of accessibility, cost-effectiveness and quality?

    University of South Africa; Nsamba, Asteria; Bopape, Angie; Lebeloane, Bongi; Lekay, Laetitia (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    Recently, the University of South Africa widened access to academic facilities and services at one of its study centres. Although this is laudable and demonstrates a commitment by the university towards its students, it raises these three concerns (1) What is the occupancy rate of the facilities? (2) To what extent are these improved facilities cost-effective? (3) What is the quality of the services at these facilities? A modified iron triangle was employed to analyse and determine accessibility, cost-effectiveness and the quality of the facilities. Data mining techniques involving descriptive analysis indicated that the most utilised service facilities were the computer laboratories and the least utilised was the study space. Moreover, perceived service quality of the facilities was rated good to excellent by the majority of the respondents. The modified iron triangle was found to be useful in helping us understand Student Support Excellence Project’s (SSEP) improvements at the identified study centre.
  • Inequitable Impacts of Textbook Costs at a Small, Private College: Results from a Textbook Survey at Gettysburg College

    Gettysburg College; Appedu, Sarah; Elmquist, Mary; Wertzberger, Janelle; Birch, Sharon (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    Recognizing that higher education settings vary considerably, librarians at Gettysburg College sought to better understand textbook spending behaviors and the effects of costs on our students. We adapted the Florida Virtual Campus 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey to suit the context of our small, private, liberal arts college. Most students spent $300 in Fall 2019. Financial aid awards did not cover the cost of required books and course materials for most students receiving aid. Negative effects were more pronounced for first-generation students and Pell Grant recipients, who were more likely to not purchase required books, to not register for a course due to cost, and to struggle academically. Some reported negative effects beyond their academic lives, as well. We recommend adoption of Open Educational Resources as an equity-minded practice that addresses this academic success barrier.
  • Open Praxis vol. 13 issue 1

    ICDE; UNED; Gil-Jaurena, various authors, Inés (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    This first Open Praxis issue in 2021 includes 7 research papers and 2 innovative practice papers.
  • Introduction to vol. 13 issue 1 and brief report on Open Praxis data

    ICDE; UNED; Gil-Jaurena, Inés (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    This first Open Praxis issue in 2021 presents a brief report on the Open Praxis progress since 2013, with a special focus on volume 12, published in 2020. It also introduces vol. 13 issue 1, that includes 7 research papers and 2 innovative practice papers.
  • Exploring Student Perceptions as Co-authors of Course Material

    Werth, Eric; Williams, Katherine (ICDE, 2021-03-30)
    Students acting as co-creators of academic material is growing in popularity as a pedagogical approach in higher education. With student engagement and persistence consistently being emphasized for student and institution well-being, educational praxis must foster engaged, high-retention student cohorts. This exploratory research uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the experience of students participating in a first-year course utilizing OER-enabled Pedagogy. Students considered how projects that were open impacted their perception of course engagement, satisfaction, and overall experience. Participants also evaluated their level of concern in sharing attributed academic work. A plurality of students preferred the project using OERenabled Pedagogy, indicating it increased engagement and skills acquisition. The majority of students were unconcerned about sharing work publicly, even if their names were included. Themes that emerged from interviews included the motivational value of creating work potentially valuable to others, being given agency, and receiving public credit for their efforts.
  • An Evaluation of Online Proctoring Tools

    NA; Hussein, Mohammed Juned; Yusuf, Javed; Deb, Arpana Sandhya; Fong, Letila; Naidu, Som (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    COVID’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 Education

    Not Applicable; Cummings-Clay, Denise Marie (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    The 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 Analysis

    The Open University of Sri Lanka; Pullenayegem, Judy Corinne Noeline; De Silva, K. Radhika M.; Jayatilleke, Buddhini Gayathri (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    This 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 Impact

    Millersville University Provost Innovation Funds; Pfannenstiel, AmberNicole; Redcay, Alex; Albert, Daniel (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    Many 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 Course

    M. Nasir, M. Khalid (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    Students’ 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.
  • Book Review of Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls

    Sharma, Ramesh Chander (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    Book review of Teaching and Learning with Technology: Pushing boundaries and breaking down walls, edited by Som Naidu and Sharishna Narayan and published in 2020 by The University of the South Pacific Press.
  • Tutoring support as a predictor of student retention in distance learning: The case of a University in Ghana

    Arhin, Vera; Laryea, John Ekow (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    The tutor’s role in enhancing student retention in distance learning is paramount. This study aims to predict retention and not actual retention by investigating how tutoring support predicts student retention in distance learning at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Moore Transactional Distance Theory underpinned the theoretical framework of this study. The correlational research design was adopted for the study. The multistage sampling technique was used to sample 727 student participants from a sampling frame of 8731 out of which 625 was used for the analysis. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of the study revealed that the respondents had a positive perception towards tutoring support offered at the University. However, at an alpha level of .05 tutoring support made a non-significant contribution to prediction (p = .11). The findings further, revealed that a unit increase in tutoring support will improve student retention by 1.42 times. Implications of the study were also discussed.
  • Evaluation and Improvement of students’ satisfaction in Online learning during COVID-19

    Faize, Fayyaz Ahmad; Nawaz, Muhammad (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    With the closure of educational institutions due to COVID-19, the biggest challenge with the universities and the instructors was engaging students in virtual learning. This research aimed at supporting university students in Islamabad (Pakistan) for online learning through a collaborative approach. The university started online learning during COVID-19 and had no earlier experience of such mode of learning. The first phase was identifying the problems faced by students during online learning and seeking their suggestions for overcoming them. The next step was working on the students’ opinions with a team of instructors to modify existing instructional practices during online instruction. We measured students’ satisfaction level pre and post-modification to evaluate students’ adoption of online learning. The data for both the phases were collected through a Google Form. The post-modification data revealed students’ greater satisfaction in online learning. The findings offer useful insight related to students’ adoption of online learning and making it a more meaningful, organized, and productive medium for future learning.
  • Exploring the impacts of distance higher education on adult learners' lives and reclaiming lifelong learning as a human development process

    Neves, Claudia; Henriques, Susana (ICDE, 2020-12-31)
    This article intends to launch discussion and reflection on two main themes: lifelong learning and digital literacy in nowadays societies. In looking for the intersections between these concepts to connote them with a more humanistic and holistic perspective, we explore the potentials of distance learning in the lives of adult learners. The empirical basis for this exploration is a survey applied to 706 (143 respondents) graduates in the education of the Portuguese Open University to know their future projects and the impact of this degree in the various dimensions of their personal, social and professional lives. The conclusions of this analysis point to recognition, by the respondents, of the positive impacts that distance higher education has in their personal and social lives. However, these impacts are not as visible in professional terms since the answers show little significant professional progressions. In this sense, the article concludes that it is important to rethink the founding ideas of the concept of lifelong learning from a humanistic perspective and to approach it with a holistic and transversal conception of what is now defined as digital literacy. Distance education, for adult learners, is a scenario that not only strengthens the personal, social and professional development of individuals, but also the development of competencies applied not only to the digital world but also to each person’s daily activities.

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