Virtual Papers

VP_003: Students’ Perceptions of Using WhatsApp as an Interactive Learning Tool for Open Distance Learning (ODL) and Full-Time University Studies
Presenting Author: Karen Ferreira-meyers

Part one

Part Two

WhatsApp is widely being used for social interactions across the globe. Its popularity as a cheap and instant platform of communication may facilitate the teaching and learning processes at the University of Eswatini. This research seeks to explore students’ (ODL and full-time) perceptions of using WhatsApp for learning purposes. Individual WhatsApp groups for a number of courses offered across the university were created for providing information relevant to the courses, promoting student-to-student interactions and exchanges with the lecturer outside of class during the second semester. Questionnaires will be administered at the end of the semester to determine the students’ perceptions on the effectiveness of this platform for teaching and learning. It is important to determine whether ODL and full-time students have similar expectations or not in view of differentiation in design and facilitation for learning. Recommendations for improved design and facilitation will be given in the conclusion of the presentation.
VP_004: Student Perceptions and Attitudes towards Moodle in the Teaching of Journalism in the Kingdom of Eswatini
Presenting Author: Carolyne Lunga
The advent of the internet and new media technologies has had an impact on various aspects of our lives including education. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are being used in higher education in order to transform and enhance teaching, learning and communication. Moodle, as the University of Eswatini’s preferred LMS, offers a variety of learner-centric tools and promotes online collaboration which empowers the teaching and learning process. This research focuses on the perceptions and attitudes towards Moodle of first and final year students doing Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) at the University of Eswatini (UNESWA). Surveys were conducted to clarify their perceptions of Moodle. Findings showed that the study participants found Moodle useful/helpful due to its accessibility. Students indicated that they could access it anywhere and use the materials online at a time convenient to them. Problems of connectivity (none or poor internet connection) were seen as a limitation when it came to full utilisation of the tools offered by Moodle, especially the discussion ones. Social and technological factors had an impact on how students perceived Moodle. A list of recommendations on how to improve the use of Moodle for future journalists concludes the paper. It is noted that these recommendations should inform future online pedagogies.
VP_005: Considerations and Findings from Glocalizing USA-Based Research-Supported Course Design Standards and Practices to Facilitate Student Success
Presenting Author: Yaping Gao

PDF File of Slide Presentation

Monday November 4, 10-11AM, Eastern Time, USA
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Tuesday November 5, 10-11am, Eastern Time, USA
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With all the pervasive technologies that institutions are making big investments to implement, what needs to be in place to guide and ensure that the integration of these systems provides a learning-centered environment in various delivery formats, such as MOOCs, online or blended learning, flipped classrooms, among other technology-enabled modalities, to help students achieve desired learning outcomes? What research-supported course design standards and best practices based on decades of experience by the educational community in USA are available for the international community to adopt and adapt? What needs to be taken into consideration in efforts to glocalizing (globalizing + localizing) them to facilitate the maximum return of investments for teaching and learning – student success? The author will provide an overview of the current educational technology landscape in USA before introducing 1) USA-based research-supported course design standards adopted by over 1200 institutions globally for higher education, K-12 education, as well as continuing and professional education; 2) considerations needed and strategies recommended in approaches to adopt and adapt these standards and practices to meet the local needs in culturally and pedagogically different learning communities; 3) findings from years of experience working with non-English speaking communities, Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish-speaking in particular, one of which is that core elements of teaching and learning speak to all environments regardless of language, culture, pedagogy, or student demographics.  The author will share a preliminary set of internationalized standards that can help any educational communities to start establishing a quality assurance process to facilitate student success.
VP_006: MentoruMS: a Digital Mentoring Program for Distance Education Students
Presenting Author: Marcela Paz González-Brignardello

Powerpoint Slides

Student dropout in higher education and, primarily, in distance/online higher education, occurs mainly during the first year of studies. The integration of the new student has to be an institutional endeavor to be addressed under a comprehensive perspective and multiple lines of action. One of them consists of the development of institutional induction programs aiming at providing new students with useful orientations and guidelines. In this sense, mentoring, a process in which experienced peers support new ones, has proved to be a useful and powerful tool. Mentors can support new students to integrate satisfactorily in the institution helping them to make use of strategies to achieve their learning objectives. Close communication is required between mentor and mentees; in this sense, the use of communication technologies (ICTs) becomes a key element for the development of mentoring in the 21st century. UNED is a mega-distance education university with +200.000 students distributed in 62 Local Centers along the country. In this communication, we present the design and preliminary results of MentoruMS, a digital mentoring model based on ICTs in online communities and social networks, developed for the new undergraduate students of UNED-Madrid-Sur Local Center.The main features of the program, the mentors’ training (blended methodology) and the monitoring and evaluation strategies of the mentoring process will be discussed. First results will be presented from the perspective of the mentors: the difficulties and strengths of the process, as well as the necessary improvements for the implementation of the program in the following years.
VP_007: Investigating the Association between Emotion, Cognitive Load and Achievement: The Case for MOOCs
Presenting Author: Maartje Henderikx
Our explorative study investigates the association between emotion (enjoyment versus boredom), cognitive load (mental effort and mental load), and ultimately achievement. Research on the effect of emotions on the learner’s perceived cognitive load has recently started but did not yet address the context of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs; see Hew, 2016). Cognitive load theory was proposed by Chen, Woolcott and Sweller (2017) to explain study success in MOOCs. Indeed, many learners do not always succeed achieving their personal goals regarding the knowledge they want to gain (Henderikx, Kreijns, & Kalz, 2017; Rohloff & Meinel, 2018). We hypothesise that enjoyment is negatively and boredom is positively associated with mental load. In addition, we expect enjoyment to be positively and boredom negatively related to mental effort. The MOOC platform from Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) is utilized for data collection. A survey containing the required measures for all variables is currently being administered but not yet completed. Given the sample size of 42 participants so far, we for now could only calculate correlation using Spearman correlation due to the small sample. Significant high correlations existed only between enjoyment and achievement and between mental effort and mental load. Definite findings will be reported after data collection is finished.
VP_008: Upgrading a MOOC through Conversion into Successively Higher Degree Courses
Presenting Author: Jack Koumi
PowerPoint Slides In Jan-Mar 2019, I ran an Online Course, Achieving the Pedagogic Potential of Video, for final-year Multimedia BA students of the Philippines OU. This evolved from my 2017 EMMA MOOC. 12 videos expounded the two fields, Potent Pedagogic Roles for Video and Pedagogic Design Principles: the 33 Roles and the 30 Principles are exemplified by 82 video clips from existing online courses.Graded Open-Ended Quizzes follow each video. Handouts further elucidate. Finally, small groups devise a video-screenplay that targets their chosen learning objectives. They produce, then peer-evaluate Draft 1. Then Draft 2 is teacher graded and critiqued through annotations. Most students of the Online Course were multimedia savvy and their grades count towards their degree. Hence the pedagogy of the MOOC was modified to accommodate students’ sophistication and commitment; for example, setting additional, tougher quizzes. For the subsequent Revamped Rerun, the content also warranted enhancements, provoked by the interactivity of the initial student cohort. For example, there was in-depth analysis of how video’s distinctive Pedagogic Roles can serve Learning Objectives. These refinements of my design theories are heartening. I have always sought constructive criticism, but previous audiences had little time, inclination or expertise. An Elective Course will be run from 2020, culminating in four weeks when graduate students execute their screenplays as videos. Evaluations will include time-coded clickable annotations. Finally, we aim to run a MOOC sponsored by the Asian Association of Open Universities. We are confident that this MOOC’s learning efficacy will exceed that of the EMMA MOOC.
VP_011: Moving Beyond Compliance to Empowerment: Promoting a Culture of Authentic Assessment in Counselor Education
Presenting Author: Amie Manis

PowerPoint Slides

Video Link

Higher Education institutions have a great interest in how their learners are performing against outcomes, though most of the evidence on performances is summative in nature, such as capstone experiences or internship and fieldwork related evaluations. An embedded assessment model promotes institutional assessment practices as a tool for student and faculty empowerment in real-time. It also positions assessment specialists and administrators with data to drive quality improvements to curricula. An example from an online, industry accredited doctoral program in counselor education and supervision is presented using a learning growth model at the learner and program levels. In this paper, we will share how we implemented a learning growth model within the Counselor Education and Supervision program at our institution.  Participants will have a view to learning growth models and competency-based assessment through a fully embedded approach to curricular design through an example from a doctoral level counselor education and supervision program.  The following will be emphasized: 1) Analysis of the elements of a learning growth model with a relevant example; 2) Discussion of the potential impacts of using a learning growth model at both the learner level and aggregate level.; 3) Identification of elements of a learning growth model that might be immediately applied to your programs or courses.
VP_012: Institutional Initiatives for Retention and Success in Online Learning: Case Study of Botho University on Good Practice to Inform Policy
Presenting Author: Ivy Rose Mathew
PowerPoint Slides

Online learning has grown over the years because of its promise and appeal to increase access, address equity, provide flexible opportunities for study, and provide more cost-effective alternatives to conventional education. While the mode is gaining popularity around the world and equally in Africa, the biggest challenge is the retention of students. Retention strategies in online learning are not new concepts in research, however not much is documented on the evaluation of its success. This paper discusses the strategies instituted by Botho University to enhance retention in online learning. The research questions that guided the study are: 1) What strategies can be used to promote higher rates of retention in online learning? 2) What pedagogical practices improve the success rate of online learners? 3) What factors motivates a learner to complete the course successfully? Utilizing a qualitative phenomenological paradigm and using a purposive sampling, the study explored the experiences and perceptions of learners, administrators and lecturers in online learning programmes. This model uses conceptual framework presented by Angelino et al. (2007) and strategies focused on the learner-centred approach, student integration and engagement, learning communities and online learner support. The study revealed that strategies such as sound pedagogical practices, institutional support through proper organizational structures and lecturer time plays a significant role in ensuring the success of any online learning model. It is hoped that this model can provide a benchmark for other online learning providers to come up with pedagogical policies and practices that improve student retention in online learning.
VP_013: Using a WhatsApp model to support Quality Assurance subject learners in an engineering department at an open distance university
Presenting Author: Richard Naidoo
PowerPoint Slides The study addresses the pass rate of quality assurance students in an engineering department at an open distance learning university.  It has been observed that too few students are using the discussion forum. Due to the poor 2017 pass rates, a WhatsApp community of enquiry model was applied to augment web-based discussion forum.  Whatsapp  groups have the potential to be used as online tutorial and complements the current Unisa online system.   Learning anytime and anywhere were thought to be the top two advantages of learning through WhatsApp. Activity theory was used as a theoretical framework. A mixed method was used to analyse the data. The 2017 and 2018 student populations were considered as subjects. The quantitative data consisted of assignment and examination scores from 2017 and 2018 years of study. The quantitative results indicated a 39% pass rate for 2017 year and 55% pass rate for 2018-year WA sessions. The hypothesis tests indicated a significant difference in the 2017 and 2018 scores at a 95% level of significance. The pass-rate scores for 2018 were better than 2017 year. The qualitative data examined responses in the discussion platform forums and the WhatsApp with respect to three categories viz social presence, cognitive presence and the teacher presence.  The results suggest that the WhatsApp model-learning model produced more responses in terms of the three categories.  The results indicates that using WhatsApp in the teaching and learning of quality assurance improves pass rates and scores”
VP_014: Tamagotchi, Jenga, Lego and Transformer: New Pathways through Higher Education in 2030: A German Foresight Study
Presenting Author: Dominic Orr
PowerPoint Slides

The AHEAD study was commissioned by the German government to forecast what the university landscape could look like in 2030. The study does not focus on technological developments as the sole driving force for future higher education. Rather, the study assumes that higher education will change by 2030 as a result of combined impact of 3 aspects:  – Knowledge and competence requirements from industry and social changes in an increasingly digitised world – New developments in didactics  – Digital technologies that enable new forms and environments of learning.  In a turn away from the usual practice, which often focusses on changes to the institutions of higher education, the study foresees and discusses instead 4 distinct learning pathways (named after common toys for ease of recall) through higher education that will shape future provision: – Tamagotchi: A closed ecosystem built around the individual student, who has just left school – Jenga: Higher education as a solid foundation of knowledge, which is built on and expanded through flexible modules later in life – Lego: A course of higher education determined individually by the student, who picks and mixes – with advice from universities and service providers – Transformer: Higher education for people, who come to higher education much later in life, bringing with them their own professional identity and life experience, which frames their studies. Link to the full study here:
VP_015: Online Teaching Aids
Presenting Author: Anantharamaiah Prabhakar
PowerPoint Slides In this paper, teaching a course is modeled as a collection of business processes. Three key processes are identified, viz., (1) Virtual Classroom, (2) Subject Forum, and (3) Multiple-choice Quiz Test. A Virtual Classroom is a process that “flows” from the faculty teaching a course to all students taking (or registered for) that course. The faculty can incorporate a variety of content in a Virtual Classroom, such as, textual material, images, links to video lectures, and downloadable documents. The faculty teaching a course can launch one or more Subject Forums for that course. A Subject Forum is accessible by the faculty, as well as all students taking that course. A student can post  (1) a question, (2) a comment, or (3) an answer to a question posted by a fellow-student. The faculty, on the other hand, can post (1) a comment, or (2) an answer to a question posted by a student. Whenever a post is made, all students taking the course, and the faculty teaching the course, receive email alerts. The faculty teaching a course can launch one or more Multiple-choice Quiz Tests for the course, which flow to all students taking the course. When a student submits his / her answers to a test, he / she, as well as the faculty, immediately receive a detailed report of his / her performance in the test, besides his / her test score. Online Teaching Aids has been implemented in the Google Cloud (Visit
VP_016: Assessing the Quality of Interactions in Discussion Forums Using the Interaction Analysis Model (IAM)
Presenting Author: Judy Pullenayegem
PowerPoint Slides Online discussion forums (DFs) are used widely in teaching and learning in the online environment as they offer opportunity for participants to interact, exchange ideas, and share knowledge. For effective learning to occur, the quality of discussions needs to reflect higher order skills;  negotiating meaning, clarifying understandings, and applying new knowledge. This study attempted to ascertain the quality of the discussions among participants in the DFs of a blended-learning advanced writing skills course which focused on developing the essay writing skills of 64 ESL learners studying in an Open and Distance Learning context in Sri Lanka.  A widely used model; the Interaction Analysis Model (Gunewardena, Lowe & Anderson, 1997), consisting of five phases proceeding from lower to higher mental skills, was utilized to ascertain the extent of knowledge construction reflected in the messages posted on DFs. Findings revealed that participants were most active in the initial phase of the model, with many community building messages creating a positive and encouraging learning environment. Furthermore, knowledge construction was evident in all five phases of the model. Learner responses to the post questionnaire and post interviews indicated that they viewed the DFs positively; as beneficial. A comparison of their pre and post test results further validated the benefits of engagement in the DFs. However, a noticeable decline in the messages posted in the latter four phases of the model, which required the exercise of higher mental skills was observed, which may be attributed to a lack of adequate English language proficiency.
VP_017: Our Story: Co-Authoring An OER History Textbook With Undergraduate Students to Enhance Student Success and Retention.
Presenting Author: James Ross-Nazzal
There are countless ways to engage and retain online students. One way that I have found successful and one way that students have found meaningful (and enjoyable) and one way in which I have been awarded for my student success and retention numbers is co-authoring an Open Educational Resources (OER) textbook for U.S. and Mexican America History with my students.  By allowing my students to research and write on topics that most interest them, and by working on their editing skills as they review and critique each other’s submissions: 1) we all learn how to work better as a group; 2) we teach each other various aspects of US and Mexican American history; 3) I have retained more students to the end of the course than when I have used other models, and; 4) those who do complete the course tend to do so at higher levels of comprehension, appreciation of History and overall enjoyment of the class than other models I have tried.  Currently, my US and Mexican American history classes are working on this OER book: My presentation will cover working with undergraduates who contribute and help to edit an OER that I also assign to be read in my US and Mexican American History classes to include the particular challenges such as coordinating synchronous group meetings in a traditional asynchronous environment. I teach at an urban, minority-majority community college.
VP_018: Applying the e-Learning Model in Educational Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Presenting Author: Dzenana Rustempasic
PowerPoint Slides E-learning is a type of learning by using electronic technologies to access an educational program outside of a traditional classroom. As conventional classrooms continue to be transformed into digital, it is necessary for teachers to deliver lectures through multiple learning modes. Digitally enriched content and personal learning should be the primary way of teaching, as well as collaborative and interactive learning. The paper deals with issues of education in a virtual environment, the role of virtual reality and artificial intelligence that is increasingly entering the classrooms of developed countries. The paper explores what application of artificial intelligence in the near future means for the development and wider application of electronic learning in virtual classrooms around the world, as well as in developing countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The paper presents the advantages and opportunities that contribute to the improvement of e-learning in educational institutions and the benefits for students and other involved parties in the educational process, such as teachers and parents. The paper covers question related to perceptions of students regarding the usefulness of distance education, various forms of   e-learning and educational platforms, and the advantages of using e-learning in secondary schools. Research results can serve as a basis for establishing a national-level strategy to support the introduction of e-learning as an equal form of education.The e-Learning Initiative implies ensuring the right to education and reducing costs to such an extent that it becomes accessible to the developing country and countries in transition.
VP_019: Building Justice for Teaching and Learning Law through Online in Open and Distance Learning: A Sri Lankan Perspective
Presenting Author: Janaha Selvaras
Usage of Online learning resources shapes learning and teaching in Open and Distance learning (ODL). Hence, institutions offering education through ODL have an emerging practice of shifting towards open, distance, and e-learning. Thus, the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), being the pioneer and premier institution to deliver education in open and distance mode in Sri Lanka, promotes online learning in addition to learning via course materials and a limited number of face to face interactions. Against this background, this paper focuses on  expanding access, openness, and flexibility in teaching and learning law online in Open and Distance Learning. Legal education in Sri Lanka is dominated by face to face interactions. The Department of Legal Studies of the OUSL is the one and the only institution in Sri Lanka to deliver legal education through ODL. Hence, this paper analyses the title in the context of legal education in OUSL. This paper is developed by a mixed methodology involving qualitative and quantitative methods. This methodology includes surveying selected students and interviewing selected teachers on the subject matter with subsequent analysis. Legal education of OUSL is not only delivered at the main campus but at the regional centers across the Island nation to ensure the openness, access, and flexibility. The core focus is to do the comparative study of the learners and teachers from the main campus and regional centers to understand the reality of teaching and learning law online. This paper concludes through its results that the legal education culture under ODL in Sri Lanka faces the transformation from learning and teaching by course materials and a limited number of face to face interactions towards  the online learning methods. Therefore, this paper puts forth recommendations for a successful adaptation and implementation of new methods by respecting the needs of learners and teachers. In essence, attention is drawn on designing, delivering, and enhancing the mode of education. Education should always be focused on the needs and available resources of learners and teachers in order to attain justice.
VP_021: Co-Constructing and Sharing of Open Education Resources in the Open Universities of China
Presenting Author: Tun Zhang
PowerPoint Slides The Open University of China shoulders the historical mission to provide massive, high-quality open learning resources for the whole country. This paper explores the deep integration of modern information technology and education to give solutions demo of global challenges in open education, especially in open education resources constructing and sharing. Since 2008, the Open University of China has piloted the co-constructing and sharing of 173 featured courses in the school system, put in a lot of manpower, material and financial resources, driving more than 650 teachers and teaching management personnel into the exploration. Based on the experience accumulated in the development of distance education, this paper analyzes the status quo of the co-constructing and sharing of the curriculum learning resources of the Open University of China. A sound management process and norms for the co-constructing and sharing of open education resources have been formed, the curriculum construction is constrained and standardized, ensuring the rationality of the construction of the curriculum resources. Through the experience gained on key points, the school system’s ability and level of curriculum construction are promoted. At present, the learning resources construction of a total of 105 courses have been completed and put into use. Among them, the cumulative circulation of printed textbooks reached 299,105 volumes, and the video learning resources accumulated to 84,350 minutes. 34 courses have won the honor of Excellent Courses in the nation and open university level, accounting for 20% of the total number of pilot courses. From the research, it gives some solutions in co-constructing and sharing of open education resources. Improve the co-constructing and sharing system construction and provide policy guarantee. Encourage the excellent teachers to take part in the resources co-construction, and lead the development of the construction team breaking of space and geographical restrictions. Standardize the resources design and improve its quality. And then puts forward a sharing model, in order to enhance the ability to construct and share the open education resources of the country to realize the globalization and fairness of education.