• A balancing act: a window into online student engagement experiences

      Orna Farrell; James Brunton (SpringerOpen, 2020-04-01)
      Abstract This article reports on a qualitative study which explored online student engagement experiences in a higher education institution. There are very few studies providing in-depth perspectives on the engagement experiences of online students. The project adopted a case study approach, following 24 online students over one academic year. The setting for the study was an undergraduate online Humanities programme at Dublin City University. The research question for the study was: What themes are central to online student engagement experiences? Data was collected from participant-generated learning portfolios and semi-structured interviews and analysed following a data-led thematic approach. The five central themes that make up the study’s findings highlight key issues of students’ sense of community, their support networks, balancing study with life, confidence, and their learning approaches. The findings of this study indicate that successful online student engagement was influenced by a number of psychosocial factors such as peer community, an engaging online teacher, and confidence and by structural factors such as lifeload and course design. One limitation of the study is that it is a relatively small, qualitative study, its findings provide insights into how online degrees can support online students to achieve successful and engaging learning experiences.
    • A call for promoting ownership, equity, and agency in faculty development via connected learning

      Maha BALI; Autumm CAINES (SpringerOpen, 2018-12-01)
      Abstract For transformation to occur in learning environments and for learners, higher education must first consider how such transformation will occur for the designers and facilitators of learning experiences: the university teachers or educators we call faculty (in the US), instructors, lecturers or professors or, in some instances, university staff. For the purpose of this article, we will refer to them as educators or faculty, and the process of their professional development as educational development or faculty development (more historically common in the US context). We aspire towards universities in the future that cultivate connected, participatory educational development that crosses institutional and national boundaries, and which takes equity, social justice and power differences into consideration, promoting educator agency. We propose theoretical underpinnings of our approach, while also highlighting some examples of recent practice that inspire this direction, but which are small in scale, and can provide springboards for future approaches that may be applied on a wider scale and become more fully integrated, supported and rewarded in institutions. Our theoretical underpinnings are influenced by theories of heutagogy and self-determined learning, transformative learning, connectivist and connected learning, and an interest in equity. We share models of alternative approaches to educator development that take advantage of the latest advances in technology, such as #DigPINS, Virtually Connecting, collaborative annotation, and dual-pathway MOOCs. We then share a semi-fictional authoethnography of our (the authors’) daily connected lives, and we end by highlighting elements of the models we shared that we feel could be adapted by institutions to achieve educator professional development that is more transformative, participatory, and equitable.
    • A critical review of mobile learning integration in formal educational contexts

      Luís Francisco Mendes Gabriel Pedro; Cláudia Marina Mónica de Oliveira Barbosa; Carlos Manuel das Neves Santos (Springer, 2018-03-01)
      Abstract The use of digital technology in the learning process and teaching practices in formal teaching is highly dependent on the ability of teachers of introducing it without jeopardizing the richness of the classroom environment, namely the attention that students need to follow the flow of argumentation and to guarantee the quality of the inquiring. Although several studies value the importance of technologies in our media-enriched world and the "learn anytime and anywhere" motto associated with mobile learning, we argue that the classroom dynamics are becoming more and more at risk with the addictive dimension brought about by the ubiquitous presence of digital devices and social media in students’ lives. In this article, we will make a critical review of the literature related to mobile learning because there is still a need of more extensive research on the interference of technology in the classroom, especially on how multitasking affects the teacher role in-class as a media orchestrator and learning facilitator. Finally, we will discuss the use of technology in the formal classroom environment, mainly to stimulate a much-needed discussion about the bright-not-so-bright impacts of technology in the teaching and learning process.
    • A proficient and versatile online student-teacher collaboration platform for large classroom lectures

      ABM Tariqul Islam; Jonas Flint; Philipp Jaecks; Clemens H. Cap (Springer, 2017-11-01)
      Abstract The popularity of online collaboration on lecture content has been growing steadily over the last few decades because of its potential to enhance the overall learning experience. We propose a didactical approach of online collaboration where the students and the teachers can collaborate seamlessly on the lecture contents. The approach, which we call Multiscript (MS), offers two methods of online learning on one collaboration platform. In MS, we call one method the outside of class Multiscript (OMS) and another, the inside of class Multiscript (IMS). OMS is a form of distance online learning where the students can collaborate on the lecture contents while being outside of class, whereas IMS allows online collaboration among the students and the teacher during the lecture. In OMS, the teacher can share the slides along with audio annotations for each lecture slides and/or a single recorded audio for the whole lecture. The students can access the slides and discuss (via text and audio chat) with their fellow classmates about the slides and annotate them, post feedback about the slides and ask questions to the teacher directly via MS. In IMS, the students can create annotations for the slides and post feedback to the teacher about the slides. We design MS in such a way that it can be accessed by using just a web browser on any PC, tablet or mobile device.
    • A qualitative exploration of teachers’ perspective on smartphones usage in higher education in developing countries

      Shakeel Iqbal; Zeeshan Ahmed Bhatti (SpringerOpen, 2020-07-01)
      Abstract Recently, Smartphone sales have surpassed the sales of all other computing devices including desktops, laptops and tablet PCs. Moreover, Smartphones have become a primary device to access the Internet as well as the most commonly used infotainment gadget among the Generations Y and Z (those born in 80s and 90s). Despite this widespread adoption of Smartphones among the youth, its usage in higher education is still a novice idea specifically in developing countries. This study is aimed at capturing the views of faculty members regarding usage of Smartphones for promoting learning at the tertiary level. In-depth interviews of 22 faculty members from different academic departments were conducted for this purpose. Responses of the interviewees were recorded which were later transcribed and analyzed to draw inferences. Results of this study indicate that the faculty members considered Smartphones to be an effective medium for off-campus learning and communication with peers and students. They also considered Smartphones suitable for explaining complex topics to their students as audio-visual content available over the Internet can easily be shared. However, majority of the respondents were skeptical about using Smartphones for educational purposes as they considered them to be a source of distraction, wastage of time, technostress, and emotional detachment. Moreover, they reported small size of both the screen and keyboard as an important limiting factor undermining the effective use of Smartphones in education. Lack of training and support, lack of technical knowledge and background, excessive work load and lack of incentives for using technology in education were reported as major barriers in adoption of Smartphones in higher learning landscape.
    • A quantitative approach to pre-service primary school teachers’ attitudes towards collaborative learning with video games: previous experience with video games can make the difference

      Marta Martín del Pozo; Verónica Basilotta Gómez-Pablos; Ana García-Valcárcel Muñoz-Repiso (Springer, 2017-05-01)
      Abstract Increasing interest has been shown in using video games as an educational resource due to their pedagogical possibilities and their current expansion as an entertainment activity. However, their use in schools is still far from mainstream practice, which could be because of the barriers such as the price of video games, schools’ technological infrastructures and teachers’ attitudes. This article focuses on pre-service primary school teachers’ attitudes (future primary school teachers currently studying at university) towards collaborative learning with video games, which employs video games in collaborative learning activities. Because playing video games is a common form of entertainment for higher education students, we investigate whether pre-service teachers’ attitudes are influenced by their experience of playing video games (taking into account the number of years they have played video games), the frequency at which they play video games and their gender. This study takes a quantitative approach, using a questionnaire with a 5-point Likert attitude scale. The results indicate that pre-service primary teachers have a positive attitude towards collaborative learning with video games. Furthermore, students who have played video games for more years, who play more frequently and the male students have more positive attitudes to using video games in collaborative learning activities. Overall, pre-service teachers have positive attitudes towards collaborative learning with video games, which could affect the use of these resources in educational practices. As the main characters in the educational process, both teachers and children need to be comfortable with new practices to achieve the objective of the educational system, which is the complete formation of children.
    • A review of previous studies on ESL/EFL learners’ interactional feedback exchanges in face-to-face and computer-assisted peer review of writing

      Murad Abdu Saeed; Kamila Ghazali; Musheer Abdulwahid Aljaberi (SpringerOpen, 2018-01-01)
      Abstract This paper is a review of previous studies on learners’ interactional feedback exchanges in face-to-face peer review (FFPR) and computer-assisted peer review (CAPR) of English as Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) writing. The review attempted to (1) identify the patterns of interactional feedback, (2) search an empirical evidence of learners’ incorporation of peer interactional feedback in their text revisions and (3) identify the factors affecting learners’ interactional feedback as reported in these previous studies. To achieve this, a search of previous studies on peer review in writing from 1990 to 2016 was conducted. However, only 37 out of 58 peer reviewed studies were extensively reviewed and systematically analyzed by two independent coders. The findings showed that in terms of the language functions, learners’ interactional feedback exchanges are categorized as (1) exploratory (showing learners’ reflection and interpretation of the task), (2) procedural (showing how learners handle the task of revising their texts) and (3) social (showing how learners maintain good relationships). In relation to the nature and focus areas, learners’ interactional feedback exchanges are revision-oriented (targeting problems or errors in written texts) and non-revision-oriented (do not target any problems). Results of some previous reviewed studies also provided evidence of learners’ integration of peer feedback into their text revisions. However, peer interactional feedback is affected by several factors: training learners on feedback, mode of peer review, type of written tasks, learners’ roles in peer review activties, learners’ proficiency in English and other factors, including learners’ gender differences and configuration of peer review dyads as well as context of peer review. Synthesizing the findings of the reviewed studies, we proposed a dual space-interactional feedback model that comprises the learning space and the social space of interactional feedback in peer review. Several pedagogical, research and technological implications were also drawn from the major findings. Future researchers should pay attention to both spaces of interactional feedback and identify further factors affecting interactional feedback in peer review.
    • A review of the benefits and drawbacks to virtual field guides in today’s Geoscience higher education environment

      Anthony David Cliffe (SpringerOpen, 2017-10-01)
      Abstract Virtual Field Guides are a way for educators to tackle the growing issue of funding pressures in areas of higher education, such as geography. Virtual Field Guides are however underutilised and can offer students a different way of learning. Virtual Field Guides have many benefits to students, such as being more inclusive, building student skills and confidence in a controlled environment pre fieldtrip and can increase engagement in the topic studied. There are also benefits to the educator, such as reduced cost, more efficient students on fieldwork tasks and the ability to tailor and update their field guides to suit their needs. However there are drawbacks in the challenge of creation and their outcome as educational standalone tools. This paper reviews the literature around the benefits and draw backs to the creation and incorporation of virtual field guides in geoscience education.
    • A scaffolding toolkit to foster argumentation and proofs in mathematics: some case studies

      Giovannina Albano; Umberto Dello Iacono (SpringerOpen, 2019-02-01)
      Abstract This paper focus on how language can be seen as an object to be manipulated and how manipulation can act as scaffolding for fostering argumentative competency. To this aim, we have defined a digital toolkit, consisting in virtual “language tiles”, made available to the students. The learners can freely articulate their thinking, drag the appropriate tiles in order build sentences for communicating her findings and arguments. The toolkit can also allow automatic assessment of the sentences. We analyse from a theoretical point of view the didactical potential of the toolkit for supporting cognitive process, activating mathematical knowledge and favouring the passage from reasoning, as production of arguments, to expression of arguments, towards construction of formal proof.
    • Adaptive quizzes to increase motivation, engagement and learning outcomes in a first year accounting unit

      Bella Ross; Anne-Marie Chase; Diane Robbie; Grainne Oates; Yvette Absalom (Springer, 2018-08-01)
      Abstract Adaptive learning presents educators with a possibility of providing learning opportunities tailored to each student’s individual needs. As such, adaptive learning may contribute to both improving student learning outcomes and increasing student motivation and engagement. In this paper, we present the findings from a pilot of adaptive quizzes in a fully online unit at an Australian higher education provider. Results indicate that adaptive quizzes contribute to student motivation and engagement, and students perceive that adaptive quizzes support their learning. Interestingly, our results reveal that student scores did not increase significantly as a result of the introduction of adaptive quizzes, indicating that students may not be best placed to assess their own learning outcomes. Despite this, we conclude that adaptive quizzes have value to increase student motivation and engagement.
    • Adding authenticity to controlled conditions assessment: introduction of an online, open book, essay based exam

      Chris P. Moore (SpringerOpen, 2018-07-01)
      Abstract In the practice of designing examinations, where the emphasis is normally on the assessment of knowledge and understanding of content covered, the authenticity of that assessment model related to skills required for employability, as well as our growing access to instant information, is often missed. Some traditional methods of this form of assessment, particularly the paper based essay exam, have expectations of writing quality and structure as well as of knowledge and understanding, but without providing the tools with which to appropriately meet those expectations. To address this, a computer based, unseen, essay format exam was introduced to a final year module for applied science students, where access was permitted to specific online journal resources. Students wrote their submissions under controlled conditions in Microsoft Word and submitted it through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard for grading. In addition to an improvement in average mark across the cohort compared to the previous year of paper based essay examinations on the same module, student feedback highlighted an improvement in their ability to organise and arrange their knowledge, and the usefulness of using research material to better evidence their own knowledge. Feedback, being completed online and returned to the students also provided greater understanding of grades achieved and of how to improve for future examinations, a unusual process for exams where graded papers are not normally returned. Though upskilling of staff is likely required for more widespread use, and repeat cohorts will no doubt demonstrate further pros and cons of this form of assessment, the model presented here shows promise for assessment of student communication of depth and breadth of knowledge, and of demonstrating skills more relevant to future employment.
    • An academic Arabic corpus for plagiarism detection: design, construction and experimentation

      Eman Al-Thwaib; Bassam H. Hammo; Sane Yagi (SpringerOpen, 2020-01-01)
      Abstract Advancement in information technology has resulted in massive textual material that is open to appropriation. Due to researchers’ misconduct, a plethora of plagiarism detection (PD) systems have been developed. However, most PD systems on the market do not support the Arabic language. In this paper, we discuss the design and construction of an Arabic PD reference corpus that is dedicated to academic language. It consists of (2312) dissertations that were defended by postgraduate students at the University of Jordan (JU) between the years 2001–2016. This Academic Jordan University Plagiarism Detection corpus; henceforth, JUPlag, follows the Dewey decimal classification (DDC) in the way it is structured. The goal of the corpus is twofold: Firstly, it is a database for the detection of plagiarism in student assignments, reports, and dissertations. Secondly, the n-gram structure of the corpus provides a knowledgebase for linguistic analysis, language teaching, and the learning of plagiarism-free writing. The PD system is guided by JU Library’s metadata for retrieval and discovery of plagiarism. To test JUPlag, we injected an unseen dissertation with multiple instances of plagiarism-simulated paragraphs and sentences. Experimentation with the system using different verbatim n-gram segments is indeed promising. Preliminary results encourage that permission be sought to enrich this corpus with all the theses in the Thesis Repository of the Union of Arab Universities. The JUPlag corpus is intended to function as an indispensable source for testing and evaluating plagiarism detection techniques. Since the University of Jordan is seeking to become a center for plagiarism detection for Arabic content and being a non-profit organization, it will charge a nominal fee for the use of JUPlag to finance the maintenance and development of the corpus.
    • An architectural design and evaluation of an affective tutoring system for novice programmers

      Hua Leong Fwa (SpringerOpen, 2018-10-01)
      Abstract Affect is prevalent in learning and it influences students’ learning achievement. This paper details the design and evaluation of an Affective Tutoring System (ATS) that tutors student in computer programming. Although most ATSs are purpose built for a specific domain, making adaptation to another domain difficult, this ATS is architected for adaptability and extensibility. This study also addresses a lack of research exploring the theories and methods of integrating affect and learning within the learning process by proposing methods of regulating the negative affect of students. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used for evaluation of the effectiveness of the ATS and its usability and acceptance by student participants. The results revealed that the full affective version of the ATS results in more effective tutoring as compared to the version with the affective function disabled and the students are positive on their learning experience with the ATS with the fill in the gap exercises and hints being most highly rated.
    • An empirical investigation of the antecedents of learner-centered outcome measures in MOOCs

      Eyal Rabin; Yoram M. Kalman; Marco Kalz (SpringerOpen, 2019-04-01)
      Abstract This research revealed the antecedes of two learner-centered outcome measures of success in massive open online courses (MOOCs): learner satisfaction and learner intention-fulfillment. Previous studies used success criteria from formal education contexts placing retention and completion rates as the ultimate outcome measures. We argue that the suggested learner-centered outcomes are more appropriate for measuring success in non-formal lifelong learning settings because they are focused on the learner’s intentions, rather than the intentions of the course developer. The behavioural measures of 125 MOOC participants who answered a pre- and a post-questionnaire were harvested. The analysis revealed that learner satisfaction was directly affected by: the importance of the MOOC’s benefits; online self-regulated learning - goal setting; number of video lectures accessed; and, perceived course usability. Age and the number of quizzes accessed indirectly effected learner satisfaction, through perceived course usability and through number of video lectures accessed. Intention-fulfillment was directly affected by: gender; the importance of the MOOC’s benefits; online self-regulated learning - goal setting; the number of quizzes accessed; the duration of participation; and, perceived course usability. Previous experience with MOOCs and the importance of MOOC’s benefits, indirectly affected intention-fulfillment through the number of quizzes accessed and perceived course usability.
    • An empirical study of the effect that a computer graphics course has on visual-spatial abilities

      José Saúl González Campos; Jordi Sánchez-Navarro; Joan Arnedo-Moreno (SpringerOpen, 2019-11-01)
      Abstract Visual-spatial abilities are relevant for performing diverse everyday tasks as well as being successful in multiple fields. This work provides empirical evidence supporting the claim that studying a computer graphics course, as commonly offered in computer science or engineering programs, can help develop stronger visual-spatial abilities. This benefit was estimated with the assessment of students’ performances in a standardized test of visual-spatial abilities. This empirical pre-test/post-test study ran for three consecutive semesters and involved six computer graphics groups where students were evaluated with the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test to measure whether the full-semester working on contents heavily related to 2D/3D geometric transformations had a positive effect on students’ visual-spatial intelligence. Results show a statistically significant increase in the average score in the test, which in turn suggests that these cognitive abilities could be reinforced or trained through the normal course workload. Additional findings in this study suggest that a retest gaining factor is present just by taking the test twice, and that there is a weak correlation between students’ level of visual-spatial abilities at the beginning of the course and the final grades obtained at the end of the semester.
    • An interactive and augmented learning concept for orientation week in higher education

      Nguyen Nguyen; Tuomo Muilu; Amir Dirin; Ari Alamäki (SpringerOpen, 2018-10-01)
      Abstract This paper details the concept development process for an interactive and augmented reality based application that compensates for attending Orientation Week at a higher education institution. The application will help freshmen learn about the institution’s environment and campus, degree program, and course curriculum before school starts. For efficiency and to elicit high emotional engagement, various pedagogical and technological approaches are used for presenting the content, such as gamification and augmented reality. Awareness of their future learning environment, study path, and course details helps students reduce their fear of failure, and this, in turn, prevents educational withdrawal. In addition to raising awareness, the interactive augmented learning for orientation application saves educational institutions significant time and resources by preparing new students for their educational journey on their personal mobile devices. The contribution of this paper is both for academicians and practitioners regarding the process for developing an innovative concept.
    • Are first year students ready for a flipped classroom? A case for a flipped learning continuum

      Louisa Tomas; Neus (Snowy) Evans; Tanya Doyle; Keith Skamp (SpringerOpen, 2019-03-01)
      Abstract In our first year science and sustainability education subject, how to best support pre-service teachers to meet the conceptual demands of understanding important socio-ecological challenges such as climate change is a key focus of our teaching practice. In this multi-method case study, we explore how a flipped classroom supported students’ engagement and learning by way of an end-of-semester student survey, and a narrative account of our experiences, as educators, enacting the active learning strategies in class. Analysis of survey data showed that while students reported a high level of engagement with the videos and believed that they supported their learning, opinions were divided as to whether a flipped classroom was preferred over traditional lectures. Additionally, our reflections on how students engaged with the active learning strategies revealed that significant time was required at the start of class to review key concepts, as students appeared reluctant to engage independently with the planned activities–particularly those that involved more challenging science concepts. Informed by these findings, we propose a flipped learning continuum that fosters different levels of student-centred learning and autonomy, depending on students’ learning needs and their readiness for a flipped learning approach. In the context of the first year experience, specifically, some teacher-led instruction may be appropriate in a flipped classroom to support students’ transition to learning in higher education.
    • Benefits of immersive collaborative learning in CAVE-based virtual reality

      Tycho T. de Back; Angelica M. Tinga; Phong Nguyen; Max M. Louwerse (SpringerOpen, 2020-11-01)
      Abstract How to make the learning of complex subjects engaging, motivating, and effective? The use of immersive virtual reality offers exciting, yet largely unexplored solutions to this problem. Taking neuroanatomy as an example of a visually and spatially complex subject, the present study investigated whether academic learning using a state-of-the-art Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) yielded higher learning gains compared to conventional textbooks. The present study leveraged a combination of CAVE benefits including collaborative learning, rich spatial information, embodied interaction and gamification. Results indicated significantly higher learning gains after collaborative learning in the CAVE with large effect sizes compared to a textbook condition. Furthermore, low spatial ability learners benefitted most from the strong spatial cues provided by immersive virtual reality, effectively raising their performance to that of high spatial ability learners. The present study serves as a concrete example of the effective design and implementation of virtual reality in CAVE settings, demonstrating learning gains and thus opening opportunities to more pervasive use of immersive technologies for education. In addition, the study illustrates how immersive learning may provide novel scaffolds to increase performance in those who need it most.
    • Beyond social chit chat? Analysing the social practice of a mobile messaging service on a higher education teacher development course

      Clare Tyrer (SpringerOpen, 2019-04-01)
      Abstract Mobile technology has become for many an essential aspect of everyday life. It has transformed how people interact and is widely adopted by social networks to facilitate communication, support engagement and build collaboration. With reference to Shove et al., (The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes, 2012) three element social practice model and Wenger (Communities of Practice: learning, meaning and identity, 1998) community of practice framework, this “insider” research study analyses the norms, behaviours and attitudes of users of a mobile messaging service over a two-year higher education teacher training programme. It also examines the socio-technical interaction between the trainee teachers and the relationship between the mobile messaging application and other communicative practices.. Overall, the findings from this research study suggest that although the concept of a community of practice is problematic, the WhatsApp practice positively shaped the experiences of the trainee teachers on their programme.
    • Big and open linked data analytics: a study on changing roles and skills in the higher educational process

      Martin Lnenicka; Hana Kopackova; Renata Machova; Jitka Komarkova (SpringerOpen, 2020-08-01)
      Abstract The concept of openness and information sharing (linking) together with increasing amounts of data available significantly affect the current educational system. Institutions as well as other stakeholders are facing challenges how to successfully deal with them and potentially profit from them. In this regard, this paper explores opportunities of big and open linked data analytics in the educational process intended to develop the new set of skills. A comprehensive literature review resulted in a framework of relevant skills, namely soft, hard, and data analytics skills. Their importance was evaluated using a Delphi method. In order to determine the relationships between involved stakeholders, their roles and requirements, a stakeholder theory is utilized. It resulted in the identification of current and emerging roles of stakeholders in the data analytics ecosystem. A structural classification of stakeholders’ influences and impacts then represents a necessary background for establishing strategies for the development of the right skills needed to gain the value from these data. This paper provides a comprehensive view on big and open linked data analytics in the educational context, defines and interlinks data-related with current roles as well as the skills required to perform data analytics.