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Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research - CIDER

Owner: Terry Anderson

Group members: 58




Our new site at includes an archive of our past sessions and the most up-to-date details on CIDER.

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.


This study investigated how open and distance learning (ODL) reform was managed within the Institute of Extramural Studies (IEMS), at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). The reform was introduced during the 2017/18 academic year with first-year programmes in three departments: (a) Adult Education; (b) Business and Management Development; and (c) Research, Evaluation, and Media. The study employed interviews and analysis of institutional documents as data collection techniques. Interviews were held with eight programme coordinators, four department heads, and the director of IEMS. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants to the study given their strategic position in the management and implementation of the reform. Qualitative content analysis was used to interpret the data. The findings suggested that the ODL programmes were introduced without a policy and comprehensive plan. The implementation faced several challenges such as finance, as well as infrastructural and human resources. Evidence from the literature has suggested that compared to face-to-face strategy, ODL as an educational strategy requires special resources, support, and funding. Thus, curricular materials should be adapted for the ODL context, taking into account students’ characteristics. The study found that these pertinent requirements were not considered, and implementation continued as if the reform still constituted face-to-face or campus-based instruction.

Mon, 22 Nov 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of students to stay indoors and adapt to the new normal, namely distance learning at home, placing online learning in the spotlight. However, students’ motivation for online learning and its effectiveness in skill development during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been widely studied. This study examined the relationship between students’ fear of COVID-19 and students’ social presence in online learning while investigating the parallel mediating role of student psychological motivation and cognitive problem-solving skills related to online learning. The participants were 472 university students in Malaysia and Pakistan. An online data collection technique using Google Forms was employed. Faculty members of the universities were asked to share the survey with their students. Moreover, using a snowball sampling technique, students were requested to share the survey with their friends. SPSS Statistics (Version 21)  was employed to do preliminary data analysis, AMOS (Version 21) software was used to conduct confirmatory factor analysis using a maximum likelihood estimation, and Hayes’ PROCESS model was used to examine proposed hypotheses. The results show that only cognitive problem solving mediates the relationship between fear of COVID-19 and students’ social presence in online learning in Malaysian samples. In Pakistan, cognitive problem solving and psychological motivation mediate the relationship between fear of COVID-19 and students’ social presence in online learning. The study found that developing cognitive problem-solving skills and providing psychological motivation could enhance their engagement with online learning.

Mon, 22 Nov 2021

The study revisited the community of inquiry (CoI) instrument for construct revalidation. To that end, the study used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine four competing models (unidimensional, correlated-factor, second-order factor, and bifactor models) on model fit statistics computed using parameter estimates from a statistical estimator for ordinal categorical data. The CFA identified as the optimal structure the bifactor model where all items loaded on their intended domains and the existence of the general factor was supported, essentially evidence of construct validity for the instrument. The study further examined the bifactor model using mostly model-based reliability measures. The findings confirmed the contributions of the general factor to the reliability of instrument scores. The study concluded with validity and reliability evidence for the bifactor model, supported the model as a valid and reliable representation of the CoI instrument and a fuller representation of the CoI theoretical framework, and recommended its use in CoI-related research and practice in online education.

Mon, 22 Nov 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted society in different areas. In education, several reports show the deleterious effects of the disease on the physical and mental health of students, family members, and teachers around the world. Also, in Brazil, affect studies indicate the prevalence of anxiety, stress, and depression among students. The present research, of a qualitative nature, explores what it means, under the lens of affect and from the student’s perspective, to experience remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online questionnaire of 41 closed- and open-ended questions was given to 363 students from a public school in southeastern Brazil. This article analyzes the affective fields that emerged from the discursive textual analysis of the students’ responses (n = 100). Four affective fields were categorized: friends, classes, home, and teachers; intersecting emotions, attitudes, values, beliefs, and motivation. In general, students expressed more negative than positive affect but a positive disposition toward face-to-face classes. Boys focused their affect more on classes, while girls on teachers. The affective fields allow us to consider the friends–home–teachers tripod as fundamental to overcoming the phenomenon of affective fatigue that has been identified.

Sun, 21 Nov 2021

Post-Pandemic Future: Implications for Privacy The time has come for privacy to expand beyond compliance to include determinations about what should be protected and consideration of ethical implications, balancing institutional priorities with the rights of individuals. The intersection of issues including COVID-19, student success, and the emergence of the chief privacy officer (CPO) role highlights […]

The post Download Reports first appeared on
February 21, 2021 - 1:24pm

The study examines the effectiveness of adaptive learning technology as a supplemental component in online precalculus courses using data from vendor software and a public university system in the southeastern United States. Outcomes examined include final exam score and course completion with a passing grade. The results highlight that not all students utilize the technology […]

The post The Effectiveness of Adaptive Learning Software on Exam and Course Outcomes in Online Precalculus Courses first appeared on
February 21, 2021 - 1:12pm

This article presents a work-based learning and research approach to professional postgraduate education specifically in the case of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs. It highlights a prototype of the Cohort-based Advisory Team (CAT) model as a useful strategy. The authors propose that a design thinking approach that empathises with the student experience as the […]

The post The higher degree by research student as ‘master’: Utilising a design thinking approach to improve learner experience in higher degree research supervision first appeared on
February 21, 2021 - 1:05pm

The University of Southern Queensland’s online study environment continues to grow with over 16,000 students studying online. Pre-Covid-19, online enrolments typically represent around 67% of all students studying at USQ. This article usefully analyses quantitative data in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot of an online peer-assisted learning program for first-year Law students. […]

The post Using Peer Assisted Learning to improve academic engagement and progression of first year online law students first appeared on
February 21, 2021 - 12:55pm

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