The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning <p>The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (<a href=""></a>) is a refereed, open access e-journal that disseminates original research, theory, and best practice in open and distributed learning worldwide. IRRODL is available free-of-charge to anyone with access to the Internet, and there are no article submission or access charges for publication in this open journal.</p> <p>The Journal targets both researchers and practitionares of open and distance education systems. It thus aims to improve the quality of basic and applied research while also addressing the need for this knowledge to be translated into polices and activities that improve educational opportunity for students and teachers.</p> en-US <p>This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution&nbsp;4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.</p> <p>This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.</p> <p>You are free to</p> <ul> <li class="show"><strong>Share</strong> — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format</li> <li class="show"><strong>Adapt</strong> — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.</li> </ul> <p>The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:</p> <ul> <li class="show">&nbsp;<strong>Attribution</strong> — You must give <a href="">appropriate credit</a>, provide a link to the license, and <a href="">indicate if changes were made</a>. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.</li> </ul> <ul> <li class="show"><strong>No additional restrictions</strong> — You may not apply legal terms or <a href="">technological measures</a> that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.</li> </ul> (IRRODL Manager) (AU Press) Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:31:37 -0700 OJS 60 Editorial Volume 20, Issue 1 Rory McGreal ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 An Analysis of the Journey of Open and Distance Education: Major Concepts and Cutoff Points in Research Trends <p class="3">In an effort to understand trends in open and distance education more comprehensively, this study aims to identify the research trends, major concepts, and cutoff points in the articles published between 2009 and 2016. From five major peer-reviewed journals, a total of 989 articles were analyzed through a systematic literature review process using content analysis. The articles were coded based on the following three categories: level, topics, and sub-topics. The results indicated the followings: (1) emerged main themes in the articles were foundations of open and distance education, instructional process, and effects of applications; (2) there was an upward growth in the publishing of the articles on massive open online courses, open educational resources, and students’ perspectives; (3) new pedagogical approaches and online learning design played a triggering role in the research topics; and (4) technological and pedagogical developments between 2011 and 2012 had an influence on the tendency of the articles. In addition, we explored cutoff points so that they may provide insights and valuable hints for researchers to design new studies in open and distance education field. Discussions about the gaps in the state-of-the-art trends and directions about future research were also included.&nbsp;</p> Ünal ÇAKIROĞLU, Mehmet KOKOÇ, Seyfullah GÖKOĞLU, Mücahit ÖZTÜRK, Fatih ERDOĞDU ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Can a Hands-On Physics Project Lab be Delivered Effectively as a Distance Lab? <p class="3"><span lang="EN-CA">In this article, we examine whether an inquiry-based, hands-on physics lab can be delivered effectively as a distance lab. In science and engineering, hands-on distance labs are rare and open-ended project labs in physics have not been reported in the literature. Our introductory physics lab at a large Canadian research university features hands-on experiments that can be performed at home with common materials and online support, as well as a capstone project that serves as the main assessment of the lab. After transitioning the lab from face-to-face instruction to a distance format, we compared the capstone project scores of the two lab formats by conducting an analysis of variance, which showed no significant differences in the overall scores. However, our study revealed two areas that need improvements in instruction, namely data analysis and formulating a clear goal or research question. Focus group interviews showed that students in the distance lab did not perceive the capstone project as authentic science and that they would have preferred a campus lab format. Overall our results suggest that the distance project lab discussed here might be an acceptable substitute for a campus lab and might also be suitable for other distance courses in science.</span></p> Firas Moosvi, Stefan Reinsberg, Georg Rieger ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Participation in Online Courses and Interaction With a Virtual Agent <p class="3"><span lang="EN">Online learning environments could be well understood as a multifaceted phenomenon affected by different aspects of learner participation including synchronous/asynchronous interactions. The aim of this study was to investigate learners’ participation in online courses, synchronous interaction with a conversational virtual agent, their relationships with learner performance, and the participation/interaction factor identification. To examine learner participation, we collected learning management system (LMS) log data that included the frequency and length of course access, discussion board postings, and final grades. To examine synchronous learner interaction, we collected learners’ conversation logs from the conversational agent. We calculated the quantity and quality of discussion postings and conversations with the agent. The results showed that the frequency and length of course access, the quantity and quality of discussion postings, and the quality of conversation with the agent were significantly associated with the learner achievement. This study also identified two factors that comprise online learning participation and interaction: interaction quality and LMS-oriented interaction.</span></p> Donggil Song, Marilyn Rice, Eun Young Oh ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Mid-Career Adult Learners in an Online Doctoral Program and the Drivers of Their Academic Self-Regulation <p class="3">Adult professionals enroll in online graduate programs and rely on social support and on their ability to self-regulate to be successful. The literature on academic self-regulation among emerging adults (traditional college age) is ample, but we do not know how social support interacts with academic self-regulation among adult graduate students at mid-career, particularly among those students who are first generation college goers. This study addressed the following questions: (1) To what degree do parental education level and cohort progression predict academic self-regulation? and (2) What sources of social support – family, friends, loved one (significant other), and classmates – are predictive of academic self-regulation for adult students in an online doctoral program? Findings include evidence that the influence of parental educational level on academic self-regulation persists through midlife. Also, that perceived social support from family, friends, and peers predicts academic self-regulation. We conclude with implications for the design of online programs.</p> Peter E. Williams, Natalie Wall, Wade Fish ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Online Education for Public Health Capacity Building in Low- to Middle-Income Countries <p>People’s Open Access Education Initiative (Peoples-uni, <a href=""></a>) aims to contribute to improvements in the health of populations in low- to middle-income countries by building public health capacity via e-learning at affordable cost. We describe experience over nine years of the initiative, including the development and delivery of a Master of Public Health (MPH) programme in public health and collaboration with a UK University. Courses rely on Open Educational Resources and volunteer tutors from over 50 countries to date. During 18 semesters since 2008, 1619 students from 92 countries (71% from Africa) enrolled. Of 128 students accepted on an MPH programme accredited by a UK University, 94 earned an MPH (73%) and a further 18 (14%) achieved a postgraduate diploma or certificate. Other developments include continuing involvement with Alumni, and a sister site for Open Online Courses to include topics not often found in MPH courses. We offer insights for further development of this and similar online capacity building programmes within low-resource environments. Our experience shows the feasibility of affordable, high quality online education and that there is scope for accelerating capacity building programmes through partnerships with higher education institutions and health(care) organisations.</p> Richard F Heller, Judith Strobl, Rajan Madhok ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Examining the Complexities of Parental Engagement at an Online Charter High School: A Narrative Analysis Approach <p>With the rapid growth of K-12 online learning opportunities, calls have come for more and better parental engagement to improve student engagement and reduce student attrition. In this article, we drew from a larger study to share rich narratives from three parents of students who required high levels of parental support for their online learning while enrolled at a charter cyber school. In the first narrative, a mother describes her experiences attempting to work with her son Ivan, who rejected her efforts and disobeyed rules while enrolled in the cyber school. The move from a brick-and-mortar school to the cyber school further strained their relationship and the mother was unprepared to manage Ivan’s learning. The second narrative focuses on how a mother attempted to support Matthew, who lacked self-regulation abilities. The mother who previously homeschooled Matthew, turned to the cyber school because she wanted “less on [her] shoulders” but underestimated the amount of support Matthew required and became frustrated at her lack of control over the pace and content of courses. The final narrative focuses on a mother who had two students enrolled in the cyber school. Each student exhibited different needs that required her to adapt the support strategies she used with Hannah, who procrastinated, and Karl, who lacked confidence. These narratives highlight some of the complexities parents navigate when engaging with their children’s online learning.</p> Jered Borup, Shea Walters, Meagan Call-Cummings ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Structural Relationships of Factors Which Impact on Learner Achievement in Online Learning Environment <p class="3">The purpose of this study is to identify relationships of learners’ achievement goal orientation, self-regulation, test-anxiety, self-efficacy, participation, satisfaction, and achievement in online learning environments in Korea. A total of 1,832 student responses from a Korean cyber university were used to find structural relationships of factors. Causal relationships among various variables are provided as results of this study. Achievement goal orientation –approach, self-regulated learning, test-anxiety, and self-efficacy, were positively related to participation; however, achievement goal orientation-avoidance was negatively related to participation. Test-anxiety was directly related to learning achievement and it was found that participation affected learning satisfaction and learning achievement. It was also revealed that learning satisfaction was related to learning achievement. Results of this study suggest that a comprehensive management of learners’ psychological variables, such as achievement goal orientation, self-regulation, test-anxiety, self-efficacy for designing, and managing online learning environments is important to online learning organizations, instructors, and administrators for better learner support.</p> Tami Im, Minseok Kang ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 The Impact of Social Media Participation on Academic Performance in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students <p>The main objective of this study was to analyse the influence of social media participation on academic performance. The sample consisted of 1960 students taking one of two courses at undergraduate or postgraduate level, respectively (Faculty of Education, National Distance Education University, Spain), of whom 411 students carried out an activity based on social media participation. We used a mixed quantitative (descriptive analysis and ANOVA) and qualitative (content analysis) design. Our results showed that the students who participated in a social media-based activity presented better academic performance than those who did not carry out any activity or who took part in a more traditional learning activity. We conclude that regardless of educational level, social media participation exerts a positive influence on performance. Consequently, it is important to consider the variable of social networking site use because this can partially explain academic performance. We also found that the networks generated during the course did not constitute stable communities of practice. Our main recommendation is that three stages of instruction should be considered when designing a course based on social media participation: beginners, intermediate, and professional.</p> Sonia Santoveña Casal ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education <p>Does nonverbal communication exist in asynchronous, text-based online education? It is commonly believed that it does not due to the absence of body language and paralanguage. An examination of the definitions and forms of nonverbal cues suggests the possibility for some of them to be transmitted through asynchronous, text-based online human interactions. To explore the presence, type, and potential impact of <em>electronic</em> nonverbal cues (<em>e</em>NVC), I conducted this research using the Exploratory Sequential Mixed-Method Design. Phase 1 constituted the preliminary, qualitative stage of this research, during which participants completed an online questionnaire to identify what <em>actions</em>, if any, could <em>speak louder than words</em> in discussion-based courses. Thematic analysis of the questionnaire answers revealed the potential existence and influence of several <em>e</em>NVC categories. Phase 2 constituted the quantitative stage, and served to validate Phase 1 findings through the data collection and analysis of two versions of an online survey: one for professors and another for learners. The collated research findings confirmed that&nbsp;<em>e</em>NVC&nbsp;exist and communicate messages beyond those sent and received through printed words in the asynchronous, online learning environment. According to study participants, these types of <em>electronic</em> cues contributed to the social and teaching presences, and therefore carried the&nbsp;potential&nbsp;to influence&nbsp;students’&nbsp;levels of engagement and motivation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Rima Al Tawil ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 University Teachers and Open Educational Resources: Case Studies from Latin America <p class="3"><span lang="DE">The Open Education movement has made efforts to systematise experiences and to evaluate the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER). However, OER adoption is not part of the prevailing paradigm in higher education, both at the global level and in Latin America. This paper describes results of a study that analysed the social representations regarding the development, use, and reuse of OER by university teachers in their pedagogical practices. We conducted a study of 12 cases from Latin American universities using data analysis based on Grounded Theory. The results show that the use and reuse of OER lacks of public and institutional policies. The main agents are teachers organised in teams that support OER adoption. The reasons that encourage the creation of OER are mainly intrinsic, such as the pleasure derived from contributing and sharing, as well as external and related to professional development needs from the reflection on one’s own educational practice. Educators consider it essential to evaluate the resources created so that they can be reused in continuous improvement processes. Commercial use and misappropriation of the works are two of the main tensions identified. The community factor of teaching guides most behaviours in OER adoption in educational institutions and is presented as an inherent part of the development and transformation of the curriculum.</span></p> Virginia Rodés, Adriana Gewerc-Barujel, Martín Llamas-Nistal ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 On the Efficacy of Open Educational Resources <p class="3">Open educational resources (OER), which are free and openly licensed educational materials, have been a widely discussed topic in response to high textbook costs, the need for more pedagogical flexibility, and inequality in access to educational materials. In this study we examine the efficacy of OER through a quantitative analysis of the impact of OER on student final exam performance in a large calculus course. Our dataset affords us a relatively large sample size, allows us to classify students in both treatment and control groups, and includes a variety of covariates that allow us to control for multiple correlated factors. We estimate causal treatment effects using several econometric approaches. Our study adds the following insights into the research on OER efficacy: (i) OER materials do not, in general, lead to any significant change in student final exam performance; and (ii) OER materials have a significantly positive impact on both international students and Pell Grant eligible students.</p> Huimei Delgado, Michael Delgado, John Hilton III ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Meaningful Learner Information for MOOC Instructors Examined Through a Contextualized Evaluation Framework <p>Improving STEM MOOC evaluation requires an understanding of the current state of STEM MOOC evaluation, as perceived by all stakeholders.&nbsp; To this end, we investigated what kinds of information STEM MOOC instructors currently use to evaluate their courses and what kinds of information they feel would be valuable for that purpose.&nbsp; We conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 faculty members from a variety of fields and research institutions who had taught STEM MOOCs on edX, Coursera, or Udacity.&nbsp; Four major themes emerged related to instructors' desires: (1) to informally assess learners as an instructor might in a traditional classroom, (2) to assess learners’ attainment of personal learning goals, (3) to obtain in-depth qualitative feedback from learners, and (4) to access more detailed learner analytics regarding the use of course materials.&nbsp; These four themes contribute to a broader sentiment expressed by the instructors that they have access to a wide variety of quantitative data for use in evaluation, but are largely missing the qualitative information that plays a significant role in traditional evaluation.&nbsp; Finally, we provide our recommendations for MOOC evaluation criteria, based on these findings.</p> Kerrie A Douglas, Mitchell W. Zielinski, Hillary Merzdorf, Heidi A Diefes-Dux, Peter Bermel ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Understanding Participant’s Behaviour in Massively Open Online Courses <p class="3"><span lang="EN-CA">As the offer of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to grow around the world, a great deal of MOOC research has focused on their low success rates and used indicators that might be more appropriate for traditional degree-seeking students than for MOOC learners, who, because of the openness of MOOCs, represent a more diverse clientele who exhibit different characteristics and behaviours. In this study, conducted in a French MOOC that is part of the EDUlib initiative, we systematically classified MOOC user profiles based on their behaviour in the open-source learning management system (LMS) — in this case, Sakai — and studied their survival in the MOOC. After formatting the logs in ordinal variables in order to reflect a continuum of participation central to the behavioural engagement concept (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, &amp; Paris, 2004), we incrementally executed a two-step cluster analysis procedure that led us to identify five different user profiles, after having manually excluded Ghots :&nbsp;Browser, Self-Assessor, Serious Reader, Active-Independent, and Active-Social. These five profiles differed both qualitatively and quantitatively on the continuum of engagement, and a significant proportion of the less active profiles did not drop out of the MOOC. Our results confirm the importance of social behaviours, as in recent typologies, but also point out a new Self-Assessor category. The implications of these profiles for MOOC design are discussed.</span></p> Bruno Poellhuber, Normand Roy, Ibtihel Bouchoucha ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 The PERLA Framework: Blending Personalization and Learning Analytics <p class="3">Personalization is crucial for achieving smart learning environments in different lifelong learning contexts. There is a need to shift from one-size-fits-all systems to personalized learning environments that give control to the learners. Recently, learning analytics (LA) is opening up new opportunities for promoting personalization by providing insights and understanding into how learners learn and supporting customized learning experiences that meet their goals and needs. This paper discusses the Personalization and Learning Analytics (PERLA) framework which represents the convergence of personalization and learning analytics and provides a theoretical foundation for effective analytics-enhanced personalized learning. The main aim of the PERLA framework is to guide the systematic design and development of effective indicators for personalized learning.</p> Mohamed Amine Chatti, Arham Muslim ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 OER Mainstreaming in Tonga <p>In the race towards achieving the Education 2030 agenda, open educational resources (OER) act as a key enabler for sustainable development goal 4 (SDG4). Leading to the 2014 Regional Focal Points Meeting, Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) Focal Point for Tonga had identified top priorities for the country where COL can further support the national agenda till 2021. Based on these needs, the Strategic OER Implementation Project in Tonga was initiated by COL in response to a request by the Ministry of Education and Training (MET) of Tonga. The project aims to assist MET in (a) developing a framework for fully utilizing the new fiber optic network infrastructure to deliver online learning to Tongans distributed in the&nbsp; 45 islands; and (b) improve the chances of sustainable livelihoods for Tongan youth by training them in life skills tailored to higher education and employment opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. This paper details the use of the horizontal framework for OER mainstreaming and the OER mainstreaming checklist within this project. The novelty of this project is its approach to mainstreaming OER at an institution in a systemic manner. The contribution this paper makes is to provide a proven plan for sustainable OER mainstreaming in a development setting.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Ishan Sudeera Abeywardena, Philippus Marthinus Uys, Seilosehina Fifita ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700 Training of Adult Trainers: Implementation and Evaluation of a Higher Education Program in Greece <p>This article presents the implementation and the evaluation of the blended learning program <em>Training of Lifelong Learning Adult Trainers</em>, which was organized by the Center of Training and Lifelong Learning of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, during the last two years (2016-2017). The aim of the training program was to give the opportunity to adult trainers to certify their educational competence and update their knowledge in the field of adult education, enhancing their employability. After the completion of the program, the trainees assessed the implementation methodology, the educational content, the microteachings, the quality, and the organization of the program. The results of the evaluation showed that the program was of a high level, flawlessly organized, and with excellent educational material, while the blended learning model worked effectively, receiving positive reviews by the participants. It was concluded that blended learning is indeed adequate in adult educational programs increasing the participation and facilitating adult trainees to better integrate their learning experiences.</p> Azarias A Mavropoulos, Aikaterini Sipitanou, Anastasia Pampouri ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:30:15 -0700