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Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Owner: Terry Anderson

Group members: 54


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.


Teachers in K–12 schools have shown an increasing desire for open educational resources (OER) to ensure all students can learn effectively. OER provide teachers with free access to open-licensed educational resources that they can retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute for personalized instruction. Open educational practices (OEP) have been considered a pathway to reinforce the acceptance and readiness of K–12 teachers to use OER. This research thus showcases a qualitative study that investigates teachers’ experiences with OEP. This research explains K-12 teachers’ perceived benefits of implementing OER and also discusses their perceived barriers hindering OER usage in K–12 settings. The study also discusses the practical implications of integrating OER in K–12 curriculum.

Mon, 08 Jun 2020

In this paper, we studied the implementation of a course on global history as a blended section of a massive open online course (MOOC) and the learning challenges faced by the students in three crisis contexts: Azraq refugee camp (Jordan), Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya), and Amman urban refugee center (Jordan). The results showed that poor Internet connection in the camps severely impacted both students’ and instructors’ experience of the course. In the context of chronic Internet connectivity issues, the instructors had difficulties assessing their students’ needs and challenges. The results also showed that in light of these intermittent connection problems, the collaborative learning environment helped students navigate the challenges of a blended course. Also, the onsite visit by the online tutors and the face-to-face interactions that resulted from it had a noticeable impact on the human dynamics of the course by allowing instructors to provide targeted solutions to students’ problems as well as by building rapport between the students and the instructional team.

Mon, 08 Jun 2020

The development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has proceeded through three generations, and in all three, online discussions have been considered a critical component. Although discussions in MOOCs have the potential to promote learning, instructors have faced challenges facilitating learners’ knowledge inquiry, construction, and management through social interaction. In addition, understanding various aspects of learning calls for more mixed-method studies to provide both quantitative, generalized analysis and qualitative, detailed descriptions of learning. This study fills these practice and research gaps. We designed a Chinese MOOC with the support of a pedagogical strategy, a learning analytic tool, and a social learning environment in order to foster learner engagement in discussions. Mixed methods were used to explore learners’ discussion patterns, perceptions, and preferences. Results indicated that learners demonstrated varied patterns, perceptions, and preferences, which implies a complex learning process due to the interplay of multiple factors. Based on the results, this research provided theoretical, pedagogical, and analytical implications for MOOC design, practice, and research.

Mon, 08 Jun 2020

In recent decades, there has been a steady growth in the population who enter higher education in both brick-and-mortar and, in particular, online universities. This has led to an increase in heterogeneous student profiles in a relatively short period of time. The purpose of this paper was to explore the student profiles at a university that gives all its courses online, namely the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), and analyse students’ perceptions of their university experience. With this goal in mind, we constructed a student typology based on their social conditions and backgrounds using multiple correspondence analysis. Subsequently, an analysis of variance (Kruskall-Wallis test) was run to detect whether there were any differences in students’ perceptions of the impact of their university experience (N = 1850). Although the prevailing profile of students in the online university continues to reflect students with responsibilities outside of the university (e.g., work and/or family), new profiles have been observed, made up of younger students without any work or family responsibilities. In turn, younger students’ distinct perceptions of their university experience has been observed, depending on student profiles, with older students having more intrinsic perceptions, focused on learning and the acquisition of theoretical knowledge.

Mon, 08 Jun 2020

Given recent findings on how research libraries can leverage emerging technologies to support research and learning, what approaches should research libraries take now, during the pandemic, to maintain the most essential and valuable aspects of their work? EDUCAUSE Review
2 hours ago
When the image of Sean Willems comes in over Zoom, he’s ebullient, sharp and engaging — not as much as he would be in person, but that’s not an option right now. edscoop
2 hours ago
Indiana’s University of Evansville is developing its online education and learning efforts thanks to a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment. The university will use the funds to “implement major initiatives that will enhance the campus as well as the online learning environment,” according to a news announcement. Campus Technology
2 hours ago
Policies to Support Teachers’ Continuing and Professional Learning: A Conceptual Framework and Mapping of OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] Data While teachers’ initial education is key to ensuring that new teachers are prepared for their work, it is only one piece in the continuum of teachers’ professional growth. Continuing professional learning is vital […]

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