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Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Owner: Terry Anderson

Group members: 54


OPEN CALL: If you have research that may be of interest to our CIDER audience and would like to join our growing list of CIDER Session presenters, please contact the Sessions host at Download our full call.

The Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research (CIDER) is a research initiative of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) and Centre for Distance Education (CDE), Canada's largest graduate and professional distance education programming provider, at Athabasca University, Canada's Open University.

CIDER sponsors a variety of professional development activities designed to increase the quantity and quality of distance education research. CIDER's professional development scope is broad, ranging from learning and teaching application, issues of finance and access, the strategic use of technology in distance education settings, and other factors that influence distance education in Canada.

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CIDER receives support from Athabasca University and UNESCO.


OPEN CALL: Presenters

Fostering a sense of belonging and a personal connection is seen as fundamental by many educational researchers, regardless of the learning environment. Online learning certainly provides flexible learning opportunities but comes with notable issues. For online learners, nurturing a sense of belonging may present a way of improving their experiences and attainment, as well as reducing attrition rates. Research specifically exploring sense of belonging and online learning is limited. This article addresses that gap and reports on a small-scale exploratory study using qualitative data-collection and analysis methods to investigate the importance, or not, of sense of belonging for postgraduates’ online education by exploring the origins and nature of their lived experience of online learning and their sense of belonging therein. Our initial findings emphasise its importance for them as online learners and have identified three significant themes: interaction/engagement, the culture of the learning, and support. These early findings highlight the importance of these three themes in promoting a sense of belonging and in ensuring that there are opportunities for meaningful group and peer interactions; they will be of interest to all engaged in online education.

Wed, 08 Apr 2020

This article investigates the results of a book sprint experience whose main objective was the development of instructional modules for an open textbook for the teaching of Spanish as a second language. Six graduate students at a public American university participated in the project for a week, working in pairs in the creation of activities that required the incorporation of the tenets of the dual pedagogical frameworks of performance- and literacy-based instruction (as realized through learning by design). Data were collected through both an opinion survey and the assessment of samples of the participants’ products. The results of the survey showed that graduate students felt that being part of the book sprint had been beneficial both at the professional and personal levels, but they had also experienced difficulties similar to those reported in previous studies. The products analyzed pointed to a lack of connection between the required pedagogical tenets and the materials developed, which has also been reported in existing works on pre- and in-service teachers as materials developers. The article discusses how these results could have been a consequence of the structure of the book sprint, and it offers recommendations for future activities of this kind.

Wed, 08 Apr 2020

Open educational resources (OER), are openly licensed text, media, and other digital and analog assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and research. Recent research has shown that in courses where open textbooks are assigned, students perform as well as or better than students in similar courses with commercially licensed textbooks. Despite cost savings and demonstrated effectiveness, perceptions about quality, relevance, ease of access, and other concerns persist. The objectives of this study were twofold: (a) to develop a practical and reusable measure for evaluating open textbook quality in terms of pedagogy, openness, accessibility, and relevance; and (b) to use the measure to rate the quality and relevance of open textbooks for use in higher education in The Bahamas. The study confirmed the viability of the quality measure as a practical tool to assess open resources and found that the open textbooks studied were accessible and well matched to course content, but of varying quality. More study is needed to explore ways to increase faculty adoption, use, adaption and production of OER.

Wed, 08 Apr 2020

In addition to conventional modes, teacher education programs in Pakistan are also offered through online and distance education. Teaching practice is a significant component of pre-service teacher education programs. Assessing the quality of teaching practice for pre-service student teachers is important, as these modules train the prospective teachers for their professional teaching careers. Virtual University of Pakistan (VU), an online university, offers pre-service teacher education programs. This research is an investigation into the learning opportunities and practices of VU student teachers in their teaching practice modules. Students enrolled in different teacher education programs served as the population of this study. Those in the fall 2018 semester who were enrolled in teaching practice modules were selected as a sample. Data sources included lesson plans prepared, lessons delivered, administrative and co-curricular duties performed by the students, as well as evaluation reports by supervisors, cooperating teachers, and school principals. There were improvements in the student teachers’ lesson plan formation and their overall learning. Data obtained through personal visits by VU faculty was used to verify and assess actual classroom teaching. Lack of regular attendance and punctuality by student teachers was observed as a result. Internal review of the VU system as it relates to the teaching practice modules was conducted to address any shortcomings in the course(s), its procedures, and its controls. Recommendations for improving the system, such as grading the modules, peer-assessment, and orientation workshops for student teachers are provided, as well as suggestions for developments in the teaching practice modules themselves. 

Wed, 08 Apr 2020

Emotion has long been a question of great interest in a wide range of fields. As a general rule, emotions are categorized as positive, which we seek, and negative, from which we turn away. However, empirically-backed connectivists claim that even negative emotions produce positive effects on student performance. What is less clear is how this process happens. This study had two primary aims. First, to assess the prevalence and distribution of emotions in connectivist environments. Second, to provide in-depth and experiment-based analysis that shows how and when negative emotions have their positive effect. Data for this study were mainly collected using an aided think-aloud protocol with nine participants, each of whom received ten tasks. Findings of the current study confirmed the dominance of negative emotions in connectivist learning environments and presented a model that could explain the variation of empirical results. Implications for researchers and teachers in distance education are discussed.

Wed, 08 Apr 2020

Latest CIDER Session

Learning is facilitated by participation and interaction and can be synchronously or asynchronously in online education. This study investigated the relationship between students’ academic success and online interaction and participation and explored their class attendance (synchronous virtual classes and/or watching the recorded virtual classes) in the online study mode of an enabling program at Southern […]
13 hours ago
Distance education across all levels of education is growing at a rapid rate. As institutions and governments attempt to guide distance education, working definitions and their meanings conflict. Perhaps this is in part because administrators and practitioners are working from definitions that are decades-old. This paper suggests new definitions are needed to help guide and […]
As more colleges announce their instructional plans, two simulations suggest some of the likely challenges to a physical return. Others see opportunity for experimentation around teaching and learning. Inside Higher Ed
Some people look at an equation and see a bunch of numbers and symbols; others see beauty. Thanks to a new tool created at Carnegie Mellon University, anyone can now translate the abstractions of mathematics into beautiful and instructive illustrations. Carnegie Mellon University
June 28, 2020 - 7:33pm

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