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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL

Take a look at these articles, appears in EURODL.

E-Learning in Science and Technology via a Common Learning Platform in a Lifelong Learning Project
Publishing 16.03.2011

This three-year Virtual Measurements Environment curriculum development project for higher education within the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union is the result of intense collaboration among four institutions, teaching applied sciences and technology. It aims to apply the principles and possibilities of evolved distance and e-learning in originally traditional course materials and laboratory experiments during all the stages of the learning and assimilating process. One of the challenges for the consortium was the use of a common electronic learning platform. By filling in questionnaires the students at the partner institutions could contribute to the usefulness of the developed outcomes. Some students even volunteered to go abroad to a partner institution for a short time to execute and evaluate some tasks and laboratory experiments, and thus creating added value to the e-learning possibilities.

The project outcomes are diverse, ranging from physics to electronics. Subsequently, they can be integrated into a broad spectrum of topics. When taking all the developed modules and laboratory experiments the student is awarded a maximum of 20 ECTS credits.

On the whole, this Erasmus project was fascinating not in the least because of the possibilities of the blended problem-based learning model and the difficulties raised by the common electronic learning platform – both technically and pedagogically.
Read more... 

Technology Enhanced Learning: Virtual Realities; Concrete Results
Case study on the impact of TEL on learning
Publishing 12.03.2011

Technology Enhanced Learning is a feature of 21st century education. Innovations in ICT have provided unbound access to information in support of the learning process (APTEL, 2010; Allert et al, 2002; Baldry et al, 2006; Frustenberg et al, 2001; Sarkis, 2010). LMS has been extensively put to use in universities and educational institutions to facilitate the management of learning at more than one frontier (Weber et al, 2001; Kraemer et al, 2001). The second wave of computer mediated communication (CMC) made continuous communication possible and unrestricted to space or time (Simon et al, 2002; Nejdl et al, 2002).
With this surge, brought about by advances in technology, concerns relating to pouring resources into unpredictable venture (Baldry et al, 2000; Sykes et al, 2008), necessitated a review of the educational experience and outcome (Jonassen et al, 2003; Richards, 2004; Kress, 2003, Barab et al, 2004) to assess the direct impact of technology enhanced learning on learners.

The study examines the outcome of pedagogic practices in the digital age, in pre and post technology supported applications (Al-Khatib, 2009). The aim is to identify quantitative and qualitative indicators that relate to applying technology enhanced learning. Participants are senior students of linguistics doing project research and utilizing virtual forums to facilitate dialogue and debate on set tasks. Learners' performance was recorded quantitatively and qualitatively for the period of two consecutive academic semesters.

The outcome of the study identifies cognitive, reflective, analytic, synthetic, dialogic, technical and sociocultural benefits for the participants using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) practices.
Read more... 

Key Influencing Factors Behind Moodle Adoption in Irish Small to Medium Sized Higher Education Colleges
Publishing 12.03.2011

This research investigated Irish Small to Medium Sized Educational Institutions (SMSEs) involved in Higher Education (HE) that adopted Moodle, the OSS (Open Source Software) course management system (CMS). As Moodle has only been adopted in the Irish HE sector in the last 5-7 years, this research crucially studied the attitudes of the SMSEs that have invested in it to uncover the influencing factors (lessons learned, rationale) concerning OSS adoption in HE from the view point of the smaller colleges. A full population of Small and Medium Sized Educational Institutions, large colleges and universities in HE operating in Ireland that utilize Moodle were included in this research. A variety of Open Source Moodle service providers (large and small) operating in Ireland were also included in this research.

This research found a high degree of improved confidence in additional Open Source core system adoption and integration in SMSEs resulting from Moodle adoption. This confidence has been a direct result of the Moodle experience and the supportive community that has been found to encapsulate it. The Moodle experience in Ireland has, without doubt, challenged traditional preconceptions and fears concerning core OSS adoption. In addition, proactive SMSEs have benefited greatly in Moodle assistance from other colleges, particularly the universities. Quality external Moodle support service has been viewed very positively. This research also suggests that Moodle has helped to realize long term Managed/Virtual Learning Environment (M/VLE) aspirations of SMSEs as they continuously strive for competitiveness as the most financially vulnerable players in Higher Education.

This research adds to the advancement of what is known about OSS expansion in education that importantly extends beyond the Irish HE domain.