Research

Collection(s)

I study what I have always, in one way or another, studied. My interests situate themselves at the intersection education, technology, rhetoric, and equity. Viewed from this position, teachers serve as life-long students, technology use empowers selfhood, communication negotiates one’s values, and access inherently predicates learning.

My current research project, as it has allowed me to understand it, seeks to tackle the following questions:

  1. What practices and characteristics will aid open education in becoming a widespread means of instructional innovation rather than a tool of new educational colonization?
  2. What student needs (user literacy, cognition, experience, etc.) must be met for learners to make more effective use of and find more engaging interaction with the educational resources provided by their instructors?
  3. To meet these needs, how might practices in revising, remixing, and retaining open content either catch up with or even surpass the more common occurrences of educators reusing and redistributing generic open textbooks?
  4. What are effective, sustainable heuristics and workflows for educators of varied media skills to track, assess, and modify Open Educational Resources (OER) for continued innovation across new media.

The above questions will naturally evolve with changes and additions to the OERhizome. At the time of my writing this, however, the questions above identify gaps that have not fully or satisfactorily been addressed (at least throughout my reading and reviewing the work of other researchers). Assuming my inability to comprehend all of the implications or applications associated with the work I review, however, I encourage other researchers to challenge my interpretations and recommend revisions in the comments.

Whether I or someone else finds comprehensive solutions to the issues raised above is irrelevant. I have made the content of the annotated bibliography below public in effort to help any researcher with similar convictions, acknowledging that any problem worth solving demands the investigations of a diverse many.


Annotated Reading List

Basaiawmoit, R. V., Somos, E., Szalai, E., Szabo, K., & Deva, T. (2015). To game or not to game – a pilot study on the use of gamification for team allocation in entrepreneurship education. In-depth: eLearning Papers, 43, 1–12. Retrieved from www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/elearning_papers

Supporting the value of teamwork in educational as well as professional settings, this study wonders if gamification of team allocation can make the process easier for instructors/facilitators and more fun for students. Drawing influence from the growing prominence of serious games, the game at the heart of this study measured cognitive characteristics of students to serve as a base for team allocation. As opposed to questionnaires where students’ answers would be based on knowledge about themselves, play masked the assessment in game form.

36 Masters Level STEM students were randomized and split into two groups: one to be further divided by instructor and one to be further divided by machine. The game, however, was administered to all participants.

The study found game-allocated teams performed comparable to those that were instructor-selected. The significant difference was time saved and fun experience were both greater in the former. Further research should be done on this front, as teams were built holistically, rather than trying to stack the shared skills of certain individuals (a factor that often leads to a few broken hearts when picking teams).

Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (2015). Qwerty and the international knowledge building design community. Qwerty10(1), 29–36. Retrieved from http://www.ckbg.org/qwerty/index.php/qwerty/article/viewFile/220/184

This article analyzes the role of Qwerty–an open and interdisciplinary journal of technology, culture, and education–in establishing a knowledge building community. By looking critically at the trends in work published as well the publication’s editorial mission, certain inferences emerge about the Learning Sciences as a discipline.

The observation driving the authors’ reflection is that learning scientists necessarily aim to operate as a design community. Their work this will be measured for its successfully solving problems and challenging assumptions, not by the quality of their research and empirical explanation of phenomena. Citing other disciplined, the authors claim that design communities must innovate and do so collaboratively if they wish to thrive.

By way of further reflection and discussion, the authors position Qwerty as a valuable alternative to other learning sciences journals where submissions adhere to a traditional model of “research reports plus reflection/argumentation.” For this reason, Qwerty considers design-relevant issues, criticism, and ideas that seem more at home in less scientific venues. If anything, a piece like this further solidifies the Learning Sciences as a comprehensive discipline because it is capable of acknowledging and empowering any variety of research practice.

Bliss, T., Hilton, J., Wiley, D., & Thanos, K. (2013). The cost and quality of online open textbooks: Perceptions of community college faculty and students. First Monday, 18(1). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3972/3383

Over 125 students and 11 faculty from seven community colleges responded to an online questionnaire about the cost and quality of the open textbooks they used in their classrooms. The schools that participated in the study all participated in Project Kaleidoscope (PK), an initiative that uniquely supported the institutional adoption of ready-made OER, instead of encouraging the creation of new resources.

The instructor survey asked for demographic information about instructors, course details, student use of previous semesters’ texts, student preparedness, text quality, student feedback about texts, and the likelihood of continued OER use. Student survey questions asked for demographic information, academic history, typical textbook spending, average credit load, general textbook use, course-specific use, and perceptions of quality.

The majority of faculty and students indicated a positive experience using OER, an appreciation of the lower costs, and a perception of the texts as “high quality.” It should be noted that the term “quality” was not explicitly defined and was left to the individual interpretations of respondents. Also, the survey seems like it cast a fairly large net regarding data, which is valuable in provoking future research but makes current observations seem incomplete or surface level.

Bliss, T., Robinson, T. J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2013). An OER COUP: College teacher and student perceptions of open educational resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Spring. Retrieved from http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/article/2013-04/pdf

This study was developed in response to the lack of empirical research on Open Educational Resources (OER). Collecting data from eight community colleges that participated in Project Kaleidoscope (PK)–an initiative supporting faculty adoption of ready-made OER–teachers and students were surveyed about cost, outcomes, uses, and perceptions (COUP) associated with OER use.

Over 80 community college teachers who used PK texts in their Winter 2012 courses were asked to complete an online questionnaire regarding COUP. All instructors were then provided links to administer surveys to their students. 490 students from all eight PK institutions participated. This self-selected survey approach is naturally the weakness of this study.

Faculty and student perceptions of cost for traditional and open textbooks were aligned. In terms of outcomes, teacher preparation time was consistent between textbook types, the majority of teachers adjusted their pedagogy to fit the digital media of open texts, student preparedness was consistent between textbook types, and few students found that OER impeded their learning. No meaningful increase in student use of texts was indicated by faculty or students. And generally all respondents percieved their OER to be quality resources.

Clements, K., Pawlowski, J., & Manouselis, N. (2015). Open educational resources repositories literature review – towards a comprehensive quality approaches framework. Computers in Human Behavior51, 1098–1106. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.026 

Researchers systematically analyzed technology-enhanced learning literature as it relates to learning object repositories (LOR). LORs have been expanding in number and scale with the growing adoption of the OER they curate. LORs have struggled, however, to find sustainable business models for quality assurance, which previous studies have shown to be critical to predicting the success of a repository.

The literature review method used in this study was borrowed from Fink (2005) and Kitchenham (2004). During analysis, the researchers used synonyms for OER and LOR for identifying related studies, most of which addressed the last five years of research.

Findings suggest that while expert review might not be the most economic approach, it seems necessary to evaluating the “substance” of resources in a repository. Once a community is established enough, however, peer reviews and other user-generated collaborative quality assurance mechanisms may be trusted. Final recommendations formed what the researchers called the LOR quality approaches framework (LORQAF).

Farrow, R., Pitt, R., de los Arcos, B., Perryman, L.-A., Weller, M., & McAndrew, P. (2015). Impact of OER use on teaching and learning: Data from OER research hub (2013-2014). British Journal of Educational Technology46(5), 972–976. doi:10.1111/bjet.12310

The dataset behind this study is an openly shared asset of the OER Research Hub, an open research project based at The Open University (UK). The project has conducted surveys, focus groups, and gathered data about the use of open educational resources worldwide.

Looking to a dataset populated by more than 20 separate surveys of different sizes and samples but with common core questions, certain bands of information emerged through analysis: profiles of learners and teachers, behaviors toward OER, motivations behind particular OER use, challenges faced in OER use, the impact of OER on pedagogical practice, and so on. Unlike other studies, the scale of their dataset allowed for examples of OER beyond just basic textbooks (e.g. course elements, multimedia, lectures, lesson plans, assessments, datasets, and learning tools.

Generally, the metrics that the OER Research Hub is capable of collaboratively uncovering posthoc seems an impressive argument in favor of open data. Because of variation in survey instruments and collection methods among resulting data, however, it seems imperative that large-scale data sharing efforts should prioritize the standardization of metrics as much as possible before collection.

Fejes, A. (2008). What’s the use of Foucault in research on lifelong learning and post-compulsory education? A review of four academic journals. Studies In The Education Of Adults, 40(1), 7-23. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=2e805f85-5fee-4f9f-9671-71cb2297da98%40sessionmgr4001&vid=0&hid=4102&bdata=#AN=33166454&db=tfh

This article takes up discussions centered on uses of Foucault’s theories on governmentality, genealogy, power, knowledge, discipline, subjectivity, and so on in relation to lifelong learning and post-compulsory education. The researcher conducted a qualitative analysis of four academic journals’ related publications between 1999 and 2006, finding 56 articles in total.

Analyses focused on the different uses of Foucault in the articles, categorizing in response to questions about the type, form, and extent of which authors draw on Foucault’s theories. Though the researcher strongly believes that researchers might productively use Foucauldian analyses in studies of lifelong learning, the application of such theories is the literature studied often seemed superficial. And so there is room to play in using Foucault’s work as a primary interpretive strategy.

Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, J. T., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education27(3), 159–172. doi:10.1007/s12528-015-9101-x

This study sought to uncover whether the adoption of open textbooks significantly contributed to students’ course completion, class achievement, and enrollment intensity during and after semesters of exposure to open educational resources (OER). Utilizing a quantitative, quasi-experimental design with propensity-score matched groups to examine the differences in outcomes between students who did and did not use OER in coursework.

4128 students enrolled in undergraduate courses from four four-year institutions (Chadron State College, Mercy College, Peru, and Pittsburg State University), and 12,599 students from six community colleges (Middlesex Community College, Middle Valley Community College, Onondaga Community College, Santa Ana Community College, Salt Lake Community College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College) comprised the  data set. In favor of clarity of prediction and persistence of outcomes, the researchers used propensity score matching to group like subsets of students in therms of age, gender, and minority status.

This is the largest study of its kind to date, which is important considering the consistency of outcomes found across traditional and open textbook populations. Findings also concluded a clear rise in enrollment intensity among OER classes. Further investigation into the role of instructional design seems like a necessary compliment to these findings.

Everard, A., & Pierre, K. S. (2014). A case for student adoption of open textbooks. Journal of the Academy of Business Education15. 66-76. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=01f44821-94ea-455f-a803-32bc8b892e45%40sessionmgr115&vid=1&hid=111

This study investigates the experience of 148 students who used an open textbook in their upper-level Management Information Systems class. OER was adopted in response to more common student options to rent, buy used, or not purchase textbooks at all. Flat World Knowledge published the textbook used, and faculty made some modifications to the text: deleting unnecessary chapters and pulling in content from other open textbooks.

Analysis of survey results found that users’ satisfaction with the quality and usability of the open textbook was comparable to those of a traditional textbook. Because open textbooks (a) have great potential to lower the cost of higher education while still (b) delivering reliable content, the findings provide empirical support for the viability and reliability of open textbooks as alternatives to traditional student resources. Where some students might struggle the digital media constituting most OER, the largest burden falls to faculty whose adoption is limited to the small number of resources available and whose time must be allocated to revising materials.

The authors place valuable stress on the importance of supporting and involving faculty if the OER movement seeks to enrich and enhance education beyond simply trading out materials.

Filippou, J., Cheong, C., & Cheong, F. (2015). Designing persuasive systems to influence learning: Modeling the impact of study habits on academic performance. Retrieved from http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1100&context=pacis2015

Persuasive technology (e.g. social media) has proven efficacy in influencing the behavior of users. This study seeks to understand how persuasive technology might be used to improve student study habits. They hypothesize that positive change to a student’s study habits would lead to improvement in their learning outcomes.

An online survey was administered, consisting of two sections: (1) questions about demographic information and (2) the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) which is commonly used to evaluate study habits. Not only is participation self-selected, it stands to reason that a modifying a version of the MSLQ to address technology-based learning would have produced more appropriate results.

The researchers found that learning is complex. When study habits proved most impactful, they related to resource management, perceptions of task value, and learning expectations. By targeting these habits, the researcher suggests that designers stand to gain from targeting these habits.

Gallant, J. (2015). Librarians transforming textbooks: The past, present, and future of the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. Georgia Library Quarterly52(2). 1-6. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1863&context=glq

The Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) project seeks to provide faculty with support to reduce educational costs and make textbooks more affordable for students. As a result of this project, ALG is expected to save students over an estimated $9 million in course materials between the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years.

Textbook Transformation Grants are at the heart of the initiative, encouraging faculty, librarians, and instructional designers to explore the use of open educational resources (OER) and partnerships by way of load releases and financial compensation to accommodate any additional workload. For those instructors making use of ready-made OER, the strain is said to be no different than that which one encounters when adopting new course texts. In addition to monetary benefits of adopting OER under ALG,  faculty have valued this project as it allows them to rethink their courses and seek a new way to engage their students.

Though the details on this initiative are valuable, this article does little more than recount the rationale and execution behind this project.

Hilton III, J. L., Lutz, N., & Wiley, D. (2012). Examining the reuse of open textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning13(2), 45-58. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1137/2130

Prior research has found rates of revision and remixing to be relatively low among faculty using open educational resources (OER). To test this trend, the researchers study the revision and remixing practices of faculty who have adopted Flat World Knowledge FWK textbooks.

To examine the extent to which teachers reused, revised, and remixed FWK texts, the researchers assumed a multistep approach: matching corresponding course sections based on customized and original open texts, eliminating custom texts with no match, and pairing shared text for analysis.

Overall, they found that only 7.5% of textbooks had been customized. A strong relationship existed between user customization and the simplicity by which one was able to customize. FTW texts, as a particular brand of OER, have their own unique limitations to customizing content. This study could valuably be applied to other OER ecosystems for greater understanding of the findings.

Hilton III, J. L., Guadet, D., Clark, P., Robinson, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). The adoption of Open Educational Resources by One Community College Math Department. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning14(4), 37-50. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxVActnGQbuwZVgzT1ppOGxwUHM/view?usp=sharing

This study reports on one community college’s adoption of open educational resources (OER) across five different math classes. 2,043 students had access to OER during Fall Semester 2012. Surveys based on Bliss, et al. (2013) were administered to faculty and students during class time.

The study pursued three research questions: (1) How much money did students save because of the use of open textbooks? (2) Did the patterns of retention and student success change after OER was implemented? (3) How did students and faculty perceive OER quality, compared to other materials? The researchers also compared the previous two years’ retention rates as well as the number of students who passed their courses (C grade or better).

Findings suggest that there was little to no change in educational outcomes after switching to OER and that students saved a considerable amount of money. Both students and faculty held favorable perceptions of the materials. That said, questions about textbook quality are going to be rooted in understandings of what textbooks typically are and how they are expected to function. Hence the disagreement among faculty respondents about perceived quality.

Hilton III, J. L., Robinson, T. J., Wiley, D., & Ackerman, J. D. (2014). Cost-savings achieved in two semesters through the adoption of open educational resources. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning15(2). Retrieved September 15 from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1700

This study examined the cost savings benefits brought to community college students by way of faculty participation in the Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative (KOCI). This initiative supports faculty adoption of open textbooks under the hope that doing so will grant students broader access to educational materials and, as a result, greater student success. Additionally, improvements to course design as well as learning community collaboration and investment are all prerogatives of KOCI.

According to the study, the 1727 students enrolled in KOCI classes saved a collective $104,253.57. This study cites the reality that students commonly refuse to buy textbooks when facing financial difficulties, especially when textbooks (an inevitably optional expense) can account for up to 59% of the total cost of attending community college.

This study does much to prove the financial benefits afforded to students through adopting OER textbooks; there is still a limited understanding of other student benefits (e.g. efficacy of using OER over traditional texts).

Hilton III, J. L., & Wiley, D. (2011). Open access textbooks and financial sustainability: A case study on Flat World Knowledge. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning12(5), 18-26. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/960/1860

Flat World Knowledge (FWK) both gives away and sells open-source textbooks as a business model, this article analyses the financial sustainability of such a model. The authors peruse data collected during FWK’s first year open to the public (fall 2009 – summer 2010) via the company’s internal reporting and e-commerce systems.

Findings show that the average cost for each of FWK’s first 10 textbooks was $150k. Since the publication of these initial 10, the average price has dropped to $120k. These costs include production and marketing but do not include administrative overhead. As it stands for the data set where revenue per textbook averaged $48k, it would take approximately three years for FWK to recoup expenses for the initial run of textbooks assuming they sold at least the same number of copies each year. Helpful to this cause, and cited by the authors, student enrollment in FWK courses grew from 790 in the private beta to 57,690 in the first year of operation. Ongoing study of FWK will help identify sustainable properties of its business plan and potentially promote a shift in publishing as we know it.

Jimes, C., Weiss, S., & Keep, R. (2013). Addressing the Local in Localization: A Case Study of Open Textbook Adoption by Three South African Teachers. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks17(2), 73-86. Retrieved from http://www.iskme.org/file?n=Addressing-Local-in-Localization-Case-Study-Open-Textbook-South-African-Teachers&id=931

Examining the use of open textbooks by three high school teachers in South Africa, this case study documents the results of when open textbooks feature content that is rooted in the cultural and geographic contexts in which they are used.

The South Africa initiative authored and licensed the open textbooks collaboratively, and faculty were allowed to use and modify the texts freely to fit their needs. After conducting interviews with faculty, the researchers found that teachers’ adoption of open textbooks were often tied to whether or not they were localized since teachers considered the local content of the texts to be more relevant and of higher quality. This study concludes that the impact of open textbooks can be maximized when they are created based on localized knowledge and contexts.

I have concerns about the scale and generalizability of the study’s findings. At what point is content so local that it becomes unethical to teach? Collective authoring practices helped mitigate and ensure quality in this study, but the dogmatic beliefs of certain communities could run counter to more empirical academic content. Alternatively, there may be value in customizing the media and interfaces of OER to local needs, but the results of effectively doing so and monitoring such practices are not discussed here.

Leinonen, T., Purma, J., Põldoja, H., & Toikkanen, T. (2010). Information architecture and design solutions scaffolding authoring of open educational resources. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies3(2), 116–128. doi:10.1109/tlt.2010.2

This article presents the research-based design process that have informed authoring and sharing via LeMill, an open learning object repository and collaborative authoring platform. As of October 2009, the platform supports 8,500 reusable learning resources and 7,500 members. LeMill’s licensing scheme encourages collaborative reuse and remix of content for quality. Accordingly administrators have made a special effort to address technical jargon, complicated forms, multicultural, and multilingual concerns for users.

The researchers refer to their method as “research-based design with software as hypothesis,” noting that users are capable of creating meaningful navigation of the tools among which they are immersed, and, furthermore, that these same users can seldom identify the software tools they need before use. Four iterative phases in a cyclical model define the research-based design method: contextual inquiry, participatory design, product design, and production of software as hypothesis.

Results of this article primarily offer critical understanding and justification of LeMill design choice, which is certainly valuable and ripe for emulation. The method they use assists designers in scaffolding user behavior. Further study that compares byproducts of this design/research methodology with the interactive spaces brought forth by others would be interesting.

Lieberoth, A. (2015). What really works in gamification? Short answer: we don’t know, so let’s start thinking like experimenters. From the field: eLearning Papers43, 1–4. Retrieved from www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/elearning_papers 

Despite the ubiquity of games, this article suggests that researchers face evidence and method problems when it comes to isolating the design decisions and condition that work in favor of gamification. Based on lab and field experience related to gamification, the researcher recommends an experimental mindset and creative partnerships connecting data-driven research with real-world design practices.

In a randomized controlled trial, two groups of users were asked to play a social game but one group’s game had no mechanics: only assets like cards and playing pieces were provided. Researchers found that both groups shared equal intrinsic motivation, but one group could be measured with the unpredictable variables that commonly plague gameplay. In another large-scale field study, researchers partnered with a bus company to test a gamified bus pass system. The scale of data and anonymity of researchers were both improved as a result.

Overall, the article puts forward some interesting ideas for games-, Analytics, and UI-based research design.

Lindshield, B. L., & Adhikari, K. (2013). Online and campus college students like using an open educational resource instead of a traditional textbook. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching9(1), 26-38. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no1/lindshield_0313.htm

This study explores student use and perception of an alternative Human Nutrition textbook that they refer to as flexbook, which was developed in Google docs and used instead of traditional textbooks and e-textbooks at Kansas State University. Online and on-campus students were surveyed during the same semester. Not all surveyed students we flexbook users, so the survey used branching logic to ask follow-up questions about flexbook use and satisfaction.

The researchers found that online students used the flexbook more frequently and valued it for the high quality and flexibility they perceived. Campus students tended to use the flexbook once in a while, as a reference to study for exams. The results ultimately support the notion that students are willing to move beyond traditional print textbooks, but it is also important to understand what students want from this type of OER before instituting.

A longer survey period would benefit the validity of their findings. Also, surveying use and perception before and after the adoption of an alternative text would produce other valuable insight.

McKerlich, R. C., Ives, C., & McGreal, R. (2013). Measuring use and creation of open educational resources in higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning14(4). 90-102. Retrieved http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1573

By way of a quantitative survey administered to faculty and staff of Athabasca University in September 2012, this article pursues open educational resource (OER) use and creation with intent to identify factors that may increase both. The study was conducted in response to questions about staff and faculty use, the types of OER being used, the factors that support OER use, the creation of OER by staff and faculty, the types of OER being created by faculty and staff, and the factors that facilitate new OER creation.

1,300 participants were invited to participate in the survey. 154 respondents materialized, 90 of which offered complete responses. Researchers consulted both complete and incomplete responses in their analysis. Findings indicated that recognition did not drive faculty use and creation. Rather, the researchers liken faculty opinion of “emotional ownership” (Pawlowski, 2012) in that faculty and staff who design learning are more likely to want their students to succeed.

Self-selection is a major limitation to the study (and the elective participation  funding it). Because of self selection, there may be motives (administrators) or fluencies (tech-savviness) that sponsored certain populations to participate over others.

Palalas, A., Berezin, N., Gunawardena, C., & Kramer, G. (2015). A design based research framework for implementing a transnational mobile and blended learning solution. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning7(4), 57–74. doi:10.4018/ijmbl.2015100104

This article promotes Cross-Cultural Design-Based Researched (CC-DBR) a modified DBR framework. This modified framework arose from a longitudinal study that sought to determine and meet local Ghanaian educational needs.

In order to satisfy strong cultural and language diversity, this framework offers a holistic, culturally sensitive perspective on the DBR, calling for transparency, responsiveness, and agility across all the phases of the research study. A bottom-up participatory process is also encouraged as it is necessary for local stakeholders increase their contributions and gradually take on responsibility for the project’s outcomes. Researchers suggest that a heightened sense of local ownership and expertise will bridge certain cultural divisions.

The need for cultural adjustment to a general framework like DBR makes sense. I wonder how much of this is researchers bending to the will of their subjects though.

Pitt, R. (2015). Mainstreaming open textbooks: educator perspectives on the impact of OpenStax college open textbooks. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 16(4). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2381/3497

Collaborative research was conducted between OpenStax College (OSC)–an open textbook provider–and the OER Research Hub (OERRH). The study looks at data from two surveys conducted to gauge educator experience when they used a variety of OSC textbooks between 2013 and 2015.

These results indicated that educators were more capable of responding to student needs by using OSC textbooks. Faculty generally found that OER made teaching easier in some respects, and others modified their teaching practices to better address student needs with the new materials.

Though the research did not focus on educator perceptions of impact on the OSC students, some responses noted changes. In addition to the perception that students were grateful for saving money, many educators who responded to the survey perceived an increase in student satisfaction when using OSC. Self-reported impacts are problematic beyond the additional research questions they raised about student perceptions.

Tabuenca, B., Kalz, M., Drachsler, H., & Specht, M. (2015). Time will tell: The role of mobile learning analytics in self-regulated learning. Computers & Education89, 53–74. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.08.004. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/science/article/pii/S0360131515300245

36 graduate students from three different online courses participated in a longitudinal study, using their own mobile devices to track how much time they devoted to self-guided learning over a four-month period. The study responds to the challenge of recognizing and documenting the activities and contexts of learners in general and life-long learners in particular. The researchers deemed the presence of a mobile device the only likely constant to all of the scattered educational contexts and moments that a learner might encounter.

In addition to logging time on their mobile devices via LearnTracker, students repeatedly completed an Online Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire and a Validity and Reliability of Time Management Questionnaire during the study. Findings suggest that using mobile devices to log and track time did improve learners’ time management and planning skills. Findings also suggested that user interface considerations like access to analytics and tips may improve time management.

The article offers some interesting findings in support of like studies that follow larger populations over longer collection periods.

Valiente, M.-C., Sicilia, M.-A., Garcia-Barriocanal, E., & Rajabi, E. (2015). Adopting the metadata approach to improve the search and analysis of educational resources for online learning. Computers in Human Behavior51, 1134–1141. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.12.059

This study seeks insight as to how the emergence of learning resource collections being created primarily by way of metadata–data about data–harvesting and aggregation might be improved to further empower the searches of students and teachers alike. As it stands, descriptive programming of metadata is often inconsistent among platforms.

Looking at keywords authored under the Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard, researchers tracked the frequency of use and categorized the keywords under four different classifications: general keywords, classification keywords, entries, and coverage. Ideally, the sample learning objects would fit all four classifications yet none did.

Though their findings were not as successful as they had hoped, there is promise in English being well represented in metadata similarities. This enforces the idea that universal implementation of a meta data standard like LOM could greatly increase the breadth and accuracy of searches for educational resources online.

Wiley, D., & Hilton, J. (2009). Openness, dynamic specialization, and the Disaggregated future of higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning10(5). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/768/1414

This article reflects on societal trends toward openness and what growth in this area may mean for higher education. Coupled with workforce innovations like dynamic specialization, the authors posit that higher education institutions must innovate radically or struggle to meet the demands and values outside of the university.

The authors recognize a blurring line between higher education and the everyday supersystem in which it is embedded. Where higher education traditionally locates its learning practices within analog, tethered, isolated, generic, closed, consumer-centric spaces, habits and values outside of such environments have embraced the digital, mobile, connected, personal, open, and creative aspects that have increasingly taken hold of everyday life.

The researchers cite a few specific case studies and launch thought experiments about how the movements described might influence educational access, research, tutoring, socializing, and accomplishments. By the end, they introduce multiple frameworks from which further research could develop in assessing institutional responses to the described supersystem.

 

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