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This journal aims to: provide a vehicle for scholarly presentation and exchange of information between professionals, researchers and practitioners in the technology-enhanced education field; contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge regarding the use of technology and computers in higher education; and inform readers about the latest developments in the application of information technologies (ITs) in higher education learning, training, research and management.

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The Globethics.net Library contains vol. 13(2016) to current.

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• #### CAVE-based immersive learning in undergraduate courses: examining the effect of group size and time of application

Abstract Immersive virtual reality is increasingly regarded as a viable means to support learning. Cave Automatic Virtual Environments (CAVEs) support immersive learning in groups of learners, and is of potential interest for educational institutions searching for novel ways to bolster learning in their students. In previous work we have shown that the use of a CAVE-based virtual learning environment yielded higher learning gains compared to conventional textbook study. Yet, few prior studies have explored the circumstances that yield a trade-off between learning gains and the practical feasibility of providing immersive learning to large student numbers. To gain insight into these circumstances the current study examined two factors: (1) group size (small, medium and large), and (2) time of application (pre-, mid- and late-term of a course). Results indicated learning gains were present for all group sizes and application time periods, with highest learning gains in smaller groups. Learning gains were consistent across application time periods. Additionally, structural equation modeling was applied to assess how learning may result from the use of immersive virtual reality. Results indicated technological virtual reality features predicted learning outcomes via self-reported usability but less so via self-reported presence. Based on the findings, recommendations are presented for effective immersive learning for different group size and application time period configurations. Taken together, the current study elucidates factors affecting learning in immersive virtual reality and facilitates its use in educational practice.

• #### Digital higher education: a divider or bridge builder? Leadership perspectives on edtech in a COVID-19 reality

Abstract The edtech community has promoted claims that digital education enhances access, learning, and collaboration. The COVID-19 pandemic tested these claims like never before, as higher education systems seemingly overnight had to move teaching online. Through a sequential mixed-method approach, we investigated how 85 higher education leaders in 24 countries experienced this rapid digital transformation. Through their experiences, we identified the multiple and overlapping factors that contribute to an institution’s ability to realize the potential of digital education, in terms of access, learning and collaboration, whilst highlighting deeply rooted inequalities at the individual, institutional and system level. Drawing on these empirics, we put forth recommendations for closing the digital divides and pathways forward. Higher education leaders are uniquely positioned to move beyond the emergency adoption of online learning towards inclusive, long-term visions for digital education, which emphasize collaboration over individual gain.
• #### Instructional changes instigated by university faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic: the effect of individual, course and institutional factors

Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate instructional changes made by faculty for emergency online teaching necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and hence to explore key factors related to those changes from an ecological systems perspective. Data on various individual, course, and institutional factors and instructional change variables were collected from 201 educators at higher education institutions. Results revealed that the level of instructional changes made by faculty was on average between substituting their existing course for an online one with some functional improvement (augmentation-level 3) and critical course redesign (modification-level 4), but that educators did not reach the level of the creation of new tasks which were previously inconceivable (redefinition-level 5). The biggest instructional change was found to be in teaching behaviors, followed by technology use, with only small changes in beliefs about online teaching. Factors that most highly correlated with instructional change were individual educators’ technology acceptance and innovation propensity, media synchronicity of the course, and the fidelity of institutional support. Recommendations are provided to aid strategic coping by universities facing a major crisis, with insights that may ultimately improve the quality of higher education in non-crisis contexts.
• #### The role of e-engagement and flow on the continuance with a learning management system in a blended learning environment

Abstract E-learning systems are widely deployed in higher education institutions but sustaining students’ continued use of e-learning systems remains challenging. This study investigated the relationship between e-learning engagement, flow experience and learning management system continuance via a mediated moderation interaction model. The context of the study is a Moodle LMS supporting a blended learning environment. After controlling age and gender, a PLS analysis of 92 students’ samples with a reflective flow construct explained 49% of the variance in the research model. The analysis shows that flow mediates e-engagement and perceived ease of use with a direct positive impact on e-learning system continuance. Flow has an indirect impact through perceived usefulness on e-learning system continuance. However, the direct impact of flow on system continuance weakens as e-learning engagement increases. This finding may help to explain the mixed and inconsistent impact of flow in the e-learning system continuance literature. The dual effect of flow suggests that instructors must carefully balance pedagogical decisions intended to heighten flow experience to generate positive learning outcomes through e-engagement and its consequence of reduced impact on continued system use.
• #### Testing the success of real-time online delivery channel adopted by higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates during the Covid-19 pandemic

Abstract E-learning was mandated for all the higher education institutions (HEI) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to encounter the pandemic and practice social distancing in year 2020. This led education institutions to shift from face-to-face traditional classroom settings to online education channels for delivering education to their students despite being less familiar with the real-time remote learning. The current study attempts to measure the success of e-learning systems adopted by the HEIs in UAE. An e-learning system success measuring the framework based on DeLone and McLean (J Manage Inf Syst 19(4):9–30, 2003) was developed including the measures of quality, system use, perceptual benefits and future outcomes from students’ perspective. A survey was conducted from more than 1200 students studying at different higher education institutions of the UAE region. The findings have implications for educators and policy-makers recommending the success factors of e-learning delivery channels in this region.
• #### Exploring critical factors of the perceived usefulness of a learning analytics dashboard for distance university students

Abstract Learning analytics dashboards (LADs) can provide learners with insights about their study progress through visualisations of the learner and learning data. Despite their potential usefulness to support learning, very few studies on LADs have considered learners’ needs and have engaged learners in the process of design and evaluation. Aligning with that, there is a limited understanding of what specific student cohorts, in particular distance and online learners, may seek from LADs to effectively support their studies. In this study, we present findings from 21 interviews with undergraduate distance learners, mainly high performers, that aimed to capture student perceptions about the usefulness of specific LAD features and the factors that explain these perceptions. Our findings revealed that amongst the LAD features favoured by students was the potential to receive study recommendations, whereas comparison with peers was amongst the least favoured elements, unless informed by qualitative information. Factors including information trust, attitudes, age, performance and academic self-confidence were found to explain these perceptions.
• #### Emergency remote teaching in higher education: mapping the first global online semester

Abstract Due to the Covid-19 pandemic that spread globally in 2020, higher education courses were subsequently offered in fully remote, online formats. A plethora of primary studies began investigating a range of topics exploring teaching and learning in higher education, particularly during the initial semester. In order to provide an overview and initial understanding of this emerging research field, a systematic mapping review was conducted that collates and describes the characteristics of 282 primary empirical studies. Findings reveal that research was carried out mostly descriptively and cross-sectionally, focusing predominantly on undergraduate students and their perceptions of teaching and learning during the pandemic. Studies originate from a broad range of countries, are overwhelmingly published open access, and largely focused on the fields of Health &amp; Welfare and Natural Sciences, Mathematics &amp; Statistics. Educational technology used for emergency remote teaching are most often synchronous collaborative tools, used in combination with text-based tools. The findings are discussed against pre-pandemic research on educational technology use in higher education teaching and learning, and perspectives for further research are provided.
• #### A bio-environmental perspective on Emirati female college students’ experiences in virtual learning communities of inquiry

Abstract During the coronavirus pandemic, educational institutions were forced to shift to virtual learning. Drawing on the Community of Inquiry framework and bioecological perspective, this research explores the virtual learning experiences of female college students at one higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates using an interpretive phenomenological paradigm. A convergent parallel mixed method design was implemented with participants (N = 350) who completed a questionnaire about the challenges of virtual learning followed by semi-structured interviews (N = 10). Observations, journals, and peer-reviewed literature was also used to explore the influence of cognitive, social, and teaching presence on students’ perceptions. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The researcher found students had a high perception of the three influences of Community of Inquiry framework and were aware of its importance. Furthermore, there were clear relationships between cognitive and teaching presence and cognitive and social presence. The importance of online teaching and learning strategies supports the interactivity of these presences.
• #### Flipping an on-campus general English course: a focus on technology complexity of instruction and learners’ levels of impulsivity

Abstract The current study compared the effects of two types of flipped instruction (FI) (low- and mid-tech) with two other class conditions, a blended course and a conventional teaching, on learning outcome of language learners with different levels of impulsivity in an on-campus General English (GE) course. To attain such a goal, four GE classes consisting of 100 freshmen (25 students in each class) were selected and organized into 3 experimental (mid-tech FI, low-tech FI, blended instruction) and 1 control group (conventional teaching). In low-tech flipped class, the students were provided with the vodcasts and podcasts of the instructor’s teaching. For the mid-tech flipped class, the podcasts and vodcasts were integrated into an educational website where all instructional and supplementary materials were available. The blended group accessed the educational website after the instructor’s teaching as the extension of the class activities. The control group received the GE conventional instruction (chalk and talk approach). The participants’ learning outcome was assessed by reading paper of Preliminary English Test and their level of impulsivity was measured by BIS-11. The quantitative data were analysed by a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the results revealed a statistically significant difference in reading proficiency of the four groups after the study, in favour of the mid-tech FI. Moreover, while the type of instruction had no effect on reading proficiency of students with different levels of impulsivity across groups, within group comparisons revealed that only mid-tech group members with different levels of impulsivity benefited equally from the instruction. The results of the qualitative data analysis revealed that the majority of students in both groups had positive attitudes towards the experience, although they expressed their needs for some modifications in teacher role, their own role, and the way the instructional materials are prepared and presented.
• #### Enhancing data pipelines for forecasting student performance: integrating feature selection with cross-validation

Abstract Educators seek to harness knowledge from educational corpora to improve student performance outcomes. Although prior studies have compared the efficacy of data mining methods (DMMs) in pipelines for forecasting student success, less work has focused on identifying a set of relevant features prior to model development and quantifying the stability of feature selection techniques. Pinpointing a subset of pertinent features can (1) reduce the number of variables that need to be managed by stakeholders, (2) make “black-box” algorithms more interpretable, and (3) provide greater guidance for faculty to implement targeted interventions. To that end, we introduce a methodology integrating feature selection with cross-validation and rank each feature on subsets of the training corpus. This modified pipeline was applied to forecast the performance of 3225 students in a baccalaureate science course using a set of 57 features, four DMMs, and four filter feature selection techniques. Correlation Attribute Evaluation (CAE) and Fisher’s Scoring Algorithm (FSA) achieved significantly higher Area Under the Curve (AUC) values for logistic regression (LR) and elastic net regression (GLMNET), compared to when this pipeline step was omitted. Relief Attribute Evaluation (RAE) was highly unstable and produced models with the poorest prediction performance. Borda’s method identified grade point average, number of credits taken, and performance on concept inventory assessments as the primary factors impacting predictions of student performance. We discuss the benefits of this approach when developing data pipelines for predictive modeling in undergraduate settings that are more interpretable and actionable for faculty and stakeholders.
• #### Exploring predictors of instructional resilience during emergency remote teaching in higher education

Abstract In 2020, Higher Education institutions were pressed to swiftly implement online-based teaching. Among many challenges associated with this, lecturers in Higher Education needed to promptly and flexibly adapt their teaching to these circumstances. This investigation adopts a resilience framing in order to shed light on which specific challenges were associated with this sudden switch and what helped an international sample of Higher Education lecturers (N = 102) in coping with these challenges. Results suggest that Emergency Remote Teaching was indeed challenging and quality of teaching was impeded but these effects are more nuanced than expected. Lecturers displayed instructional resilience by maintaining teaching quality despite difficulties of Emergency Remote Teaching and our exploration of predictors shows that personality factors as well as prior experience may have supported them in this. Our findings may contribute to the emerging literature surrounding Emergency Remote Teaching and contributes a unique resilience perspective to the experiences of Higher Education lecturers.
• #### Paraphrase type identification for plagiarism detection using contexts and word embeddings

Abstract Paraphrase types have been proposed by researchers as the paraphrasing mechanisms underlying acts of plagiarism. Synonymous substitution, word reordering and insertion/deletion have been identified as some of the common paraphrasing strategies used by plagiarists. However, similarity reports generated by most plagiarism detection systems provide a similarity score and produce matching sections of text with their possible sources. In this research we propose methods to identify two important paraphrase types – synonymous substitution and word reordering in paraphrased, plagiarised sentence pairs. We propose a three staged approach that uses context matching and pretrained word embeddings for identifying synonymous substitution and word reordering. Our proposed approach indicates that the use of Smith Waterman Algorithm for Plagiarism Detection and ConceptNet Numberbatch pretrained word embeddings produces the best performance in terms of $$\hbox {F}_1$$ F 1 scores. This research can be used to complement similarity reports generated by currently available plagiarism detection systems by incorporating methods to identify paraphrase types for plagiarism detection.
• #### Curriculum design for social, cognitive and emotional engagement in Knowledge Building

Abstract Knowledge Building has been advanced as a pedagogy of engaged learning where students identify as a community whose purpose is to advance their shared ideas. This approach, which has been studied for three decades (Scardamalia &amp; Bereiter, in: K. Sawyer (ed) Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences, Cambridge University Press, 2014), includes cognitive, social constructivist, and emotional elements (Zhu et al. in User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 29: 789–820, 2019b). This paper investigates how refining Knowledge Building activities based on students’ feedback impacts their social, cognitive, and emotional engagement. Using a design-based research method, we refined successive course activities based on feedback from 23 Masters of Education students. With successive iterations, we found that the density of students’ reading networks increased; they theorized more deeply, introduced more authoritative resources, and made greater efforts to integrate ideas within the community knowledge base. As well, their level of negative affect decreased. These findings suggest that soliciting students’ input into course design can benefit their engagement and disposition toward learning, with implications for curriculum design.
• #### Defining and measuring completion and assessment biases with respect to English language and development status: not all MOOCs are equal

Abstract The emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) broadened the educational landscape by providing free access to quality learning materials for anyone with a device connected to the Internet. However, open access does not guarantee equals opportunities to learn, and research has repetitively reported that learners from affluent countries benefit the most from MOOCs. In this work, we delve into this gap by defining and measuring completion and assessment biases with respect to learners’ language and development status. We do so by performing a large-scale analysis across 158 MITx MOOC runs from 120 different courses offered on edX between 2013 and 2018, with 2.8 million enrollments. We see that learners from developing countries are less likely to complete MOOCs successfully, but we do not find evidence regarding a negative effect of not being English-native. Our findings point out that not only the specific population of learners is responsible for this bias, but also that the course itself has a similar impact. Independent of and less frequent than completion bias, we found assessment bias, that is when the mean ability gained by learners from developing countries is lower than that of learners from developed countries. The ability is inferred from the responses of the learners to the course-assessment using item response theory (IRT). Finally, we applied differential item functioning (DIF) methods with the objective of detecting items that might be causing the assessment bias, obtaining weak, yet positive results with respect to the magnitude of the bias reduction. Our results provide statistical evidence on the role that course design might have on these biases, with a call for action so that the future generation of MOOCs focus on strengthening their inclusive design approaches.
• #### An eye tracking study: positive emotional interface design facilitates learning outcomes in multimedia learning?

Abstract Unlike the other studies on emotional design in multimedia learning, the present study differentiated the two confounding variables of visual interface design and structured content to manipulate the instructional material. Specifically, we investigated how the visual aesthetics of positive emotional interface design influenced learners’ cognitive processes, emotional valences, learning outcomes, and subjective experience. Eighty-one college students took part in the experimental study. They were divided into the three experimental groups: a holistic layout of positive emotional design group (HPED), a local layout of positive emotional design group (LPED), and a neutral emotional design group (ND). By using a mixed approach of questionnaires and eye tracking, we further explored the differences among the three groups in cognitive processing, learning outcomes, and subjective experience. Results indicated that the LPED group invested higher cognitive effort, put more attentional focus in the relevant knowledge content module, and achieved better learning performance (i.e., retention and transfer tests) in contrast to the HPED group and the ND group. However, no significant difference in dynamic changes of emotional state among the three groups was detected. The analytical results can provide researchers and practitioners with valuable insights into the positive emotional design of multimedia learning, which allows for the facilitation of mental engagement, learning outcomes and subjective perception.
• #### Exploring the effect of three scaffoldings on the collaborative problem-solving processes in China’s higher education

Abstract Collaborative problem-solving (CPS) engages students in solving ill-structured problems, creating group knowledge, and developing self-regulation and collaboration skills. Different scaffoldings, such as minimal-guided, task-oriented, and idea-oriented, can be used to facilitate students’ CPS activities, but their effects have not been comprehensively explored. In this research, we use minimally-guided, task-oriented, and idea-oriented scaffoldings to promote Chinese university students’ online CPS activities and use a multi-method approach to analyze the effects of three scaffolding on collaboration. The results indicate relatively complicated collaborative processes and outcomes supported by three scaffoldings. It is initially shown that the idea-centered scaffolding strengthens students’ connections between idea contribution, metacognitive regulation, and knowledge artifact behaviors, which are critical factors for improving the CPS quality. Based on the empirical research results, we conclude that future instructional design should carefully consider the educational culture, time constraint, and student regulation to better facilitate CPS practices.
• #### Impact of remote experimentation, interactivity and platform effectiveness on laboratory learning outcomes

Abstract Access and personalized instruction required for laboratory education can be highly compromised due to regulatory constraints in times such as COVID-19 pandemic or resource shortages at other times. This directly impacts the student engagement and immersion that are necessary for conceptual and procedural understanding for scientific experimentation. While online and remote laboratories have potential to address the aforementioned challenges, theoretical perspectives of laboratory learning outcomes are critical to enhance their impact and are sparsely examined in the literature. Using Transactional Distance Theory (TDT), this paper addresses the gap through a case study on Universal Testing Machine (UTM). By comparing physical (PL-UTM) and remotely triggerable (RT-UTM) laboratory platforms, the structure and interactions as per TDT are analysed. Characterization of interactivity between remote learners and instructors disclose indicative parameters that affect transactional distances and aid in conceptual understanding in remote laboratory learning environment. An extensive pedagogical study through development of two instruments towards assessing conceptual understanding and perception of platform effectiveness that was conducted both on physical laboratory and RT-UTM showed: (1) remote users conducted experiments 3 times more frequently (2) completed assignments in 30% less time and (3) had over 200% improvement in scores when RT-UTM platform was integrated into mainstream learning.
• #### Experiences in the use of an adaptive intelligent system to enhance online learners' performance: a case study in Economics and Business courses

Abstract Several tools and resources have been developed in the past years to enhance the teaching and learning process. Most of them are focused on the process itself, but few focus on the assessment process to detect at-risk learners for later acting through feedback to support them to succeed and pass the course. This research paper presents a case study using an adaptive system called Learning Intelligent System (LIS). The system includes an Early Warning System and tested in a fully online university to increase learners’ performance, reduce dropout, and ensure proper feedback to guide learners. LIS also aims to help teachers to detect critical cases to act on time with learners. The system has been tested in two first-year courses in the fully online BSc of Economics and Business at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. A total of 552 learners were participating in the case study. On the one hand, results show that performance is better than in previous semesters when using it. On the other hand, results show that learners' perception of effectiveness is higher, and learners are willing to continue using the system in the following semesters because it becomes beneficial for them.