Volume 13, Number 4, Winter 2015


Exploring online graduate students’ responses to online self-regulation training

Karee Dunn
University of Tennessee

Glenda Rakes
University of Tennessee at Martin


In this study, online graduate students participated in four brief online self-regulatory trainings for self-efficacy, achievement goal orientation, learning strategies, and attributional thinking. These variables are critical to success in learning environments, but perhaps even more so in the online academic environment (Rakes, Dunn, & Rakes, 2013). Self-regulation also plays an important role in curtailing dropout rates that tend to be high for online classes and programs (Lee & Choi, 2011, 2014). Trainings included brief explanations of these variables and self-reflection activities. After the completion of the course, students were asked to reflect upon the impact of the trainings on their self-regulatory abilities. Qualitative analyses identified student-perceived self-regulatory strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, findings revealed that these online students believed they improved with regard to these self-regulatory weaknesses after completing the four brief online trainings. The findings of the current study suggest that with limited effort, online instructors may help the understudied population of online graduate students improve upon these essential learning variables.

Peer Reviewing of OER in a Contested Domain – an Activity Theoretical Analysis

Anne Algers
Magnus Ljung
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Globally, we experience numerous initiatives to increase the adoption of open educational resources (OER), but quality concerns challenge the adoption. In this study we present an analysis of the peer review process of an OER. The OER under review is produced by the European Commission (EU). It has the goal to teach children about farm animal welfare. Following discussions with the EU about its quality, a panel review was conducted. The group of peers used a quality evaluation tool for initial individual assessment, which was then discussed in four consecutive meetings. Video recordings from the meetings and the final report constitute the research data. Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) was used as the analytical framework. The results indicated that the main areas of negotiations were the content quality of the OER and the adoption of the OER in teaching practices. The examination of these concerns using CHAT indicated that the peer review process neither leads to accuracy nor legitimacy. In summary, OER and in particular the quality assessment of OER challenge the boundaries of higher education. A combination of peer review and crowd source review is suggested to underpin the openness and thus increase adoption of OER.

Ideologies in Online Learning Environments: The Need for Multiple Stories

Sibylle Gruber
Northern Arizona University


This article uses the concept of the “single story” to address specific student stories in an online class environment. First, it discusses the known story of online students who engage in critical and analytical thinking while interacting with their peers and instructor. It then moves to another story that we often do not hear, namely the story of the student who engages in disruptive behavior that threatened the equilibrium of the classroom by injecting anger, fear, and mistrust of each other into an otherwise successful and highly acceptable online experience for students and the teacher. The article shows that we need to focus closely on how we apply learner-centered pedagogies to make sure that we foster multiple stories in our discussions of online teaching to make sure that our need for power does not limit our understanding of our own humanity and the humanity of those who we objectify—or those who we subject to the single story we created about them.

From Face-to-Face Classrooms to Innovative Computer-Mediated Pedagogies: Observations from the Field

Mohammad Issack Santally
University of Mauritius


In this paper, we present a case study concerning a Masters level course in Computer-mediated communications and pedagogy delivered at the University of Mauritius through e-Learning mode. We provide a brief overview of the program, its rationale and the pedagogical approaches that have been used to design the modules that are delivered in the first semester. There are currently 15 students enrolled on this course, and we relate our experiences and observations on the field in this article. We also expose our findings from a questionnaire survey that was done with the students towards the end of the semester to get the feedback on their perceptions on the program and on its pedagogical approaches. This is a very crucial step since this batch of students are supposed to be the agents of change in the reconceptualization of the teaching and learning process. We end up identifying some key factors that are perceived to be barriers to the actual wide-scale implementation of such approaches to education.

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