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Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)
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Research In Distance Education (Research Exhibition)

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Exhibition about research sponsored or coordinated by the University of London's Centre for Distance Education.

Exhibition about research sponsored or coordinated by the University of London's Centre for Distance Education.

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  • 1. Practical matters We give priority to research that investigates issues of concern to teachers and learners. Please email cde@london.ac.uk with your requests and suggestions, or telephone +44 (0)20 7862 8404 Research into practice More than 42,000 people in 180 countries study with the University of London by various forms of distance learning. Within the University, an active research strategy stimulates and supports enquiries by teachers and researchers to improve pedagogy, technology and delivery systems for distance learning and to discover and test new ideas. An exhibition of recent and current research supported by the Centre for DIstance Education through its Teaching and Research Awards Scheme and other projects Research in distance EDUCATION The University of London External System promotes research in distance education alongside the development and delivery of programmes. Its research is multi-disciplinary in nature, engaging scholars from the arts and sciences, medicine and the humanities in exploration of teaching and learning at a distance. Most of the researchers are distance-learning practitioners working in the Colleges or the central University. The Teaching and Research Awards are a key element in a networked community of practice in the University of London. The awards provide small to moderate amounts of funding to encourage research and teaching development activities that can enhance knowledge about, and methods of implementing distance learning and teaching. The Scheme assists the introduction or development of educational innovations that individuals or colleges would otherwise be unable to fund, making it easier for practitioners to engage in research and development that may not have a priority for funding within their own discipline or institution. The Awards scheme now comprises one of the biggest research programmes on distance learning in the higher education sector, and has included the funding of 37 research projects (with average funding of approximately £18,000 per project). Findings have been widely disseminated at national and international conferences, and in some cases, projects have attracted further research funding from external sources. The Distance Education Teaching and Research Awards
  • 2. Communication and collaborative learning The internet is transforming distance education, particularly with Web 2.0 technologies that make it easier for teachers and learners to interact in the fluid and informal relationships and networks that are taken for granted on a traditional campus. Much of our current research focuses on the place of social software in global distance learning programmes. Different methods of online communication This study evaluated students’ preferences between three different methods of online communication: individual real-time tutorials, group real-time tutorials and asynchronous communication via discussion boards. A majority of a small sample of students preferred the more interactive real-time methods but a substantial minority felt inhibited in real- time discussion and preferred the discussion boards. Principal researcher Virginia Hubbard Queen Mary, University of London LASSIE: libraries and social software in education The LASSIE project involved an extensive review of the use of social software tools in libraries – including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and Facebook – to establish whether such tools would be a useful resource to support distance learners in information work. Tools studied were shown to help distance learners develop information literacy skills. Principal researcher Jane Secker London School of Economics Computer- mediated tasks and tutor inputs This project explored how students on a postgraduate distance learning course learned from each other through working together online, and how this is affected by the tutor’s approach and the choice of task. Asynchronous computer-mediated conferencing was shown to help students learn from each other and demonstrate higher-order thinking skills. Principal researcher Hugh Starkey Institute of Education Social software in a MSc in Structural Biology by distance learning This project explored the use of social software tools – a blog, a wiki, Instant Messenger conferencing, social bookmarking and Second Life – in an online, distance-only MSc course in Structural Biology. The blog, Instant Messenger, and, for some students, Second Life proved the most popular tools, although only the blog is yet in day-to-day use. Principal researcher Clare Sansom Birkbeck, University of London Designing online tasks for effective discussions This project reviewed the literature on the use of computer-based tools for asynchronous communication by learners and teachers involved in distance learning, with particular attention given to the role of the tutor in developing the discussion. The study was reported in the journal Open Learning and provided the basis for further action research. Principal researcher Hugh Starkey Institute of Education Weblogs as a dialogic tool for supporting communication, community, collaboration and social presence Students and tutors on an online MSc maintained blogs (weblogs) throughout the first course year. The level of engagement and the value that the students placed on their blogs was variable but in general positive. A tool to integrate blogging into a virtual learning environment was developed. Principal researcher Steven Warburton King’s College London MoSAIC: Models of synchronous audiographic interactive conferencing Synchronous Audiographic Conferencing (SAC) is a web- based tool that combines audio conferencing with visual interaction tools from text chat to interactive video and which can be used for distance learning. The use of SAC in teaching within the University of London has been monitored, case studies followed and its efficacy evaluated. Principal researcher Tim Neumann London Knowledge Lab Research in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 3. Course development and course design Good distance education relies on high quality course design that can support effective learning when the teacher is not present - providing motivation, sustaining interest and supporting active learning and critical reflection. Research questions address both the specifics of subject teaching and aspects of learning design that are of wider application. Guidelines for online learning in support of mathematics learning in a diverse group Web-based‘virtual tutors’ were created to help students who are taking mathematics courses by distance learning and who have no local tutor support. Twelve such ‘microsites’were created, each dealing with a specific topic, and each aiming to help students diagnose and solve problems, and consolidate their knowledge. Principal researcher Martin Anthony London School of Economics Developing course team approaches to online task design In this project, researchers are exploring how the course teams involved with the development and delivery of three different distance learning courses work on designing student tasks, in order to understand how team members work together and identify pedagogic and design issues. The project is still in progress and will report later in 2009. Principal researcher Adam Unwin Institute of Education An eLearning distance course in phonetics A course in phonetics – the study of the physical properties of human speech – was developed for delivery at a distance using electronic communication tools. Ways of using phonetic symbols within the constraints of the chosen computer platform were investigated, and a pilot course was delivered to 25 students, sixteen of whom completed. Principal researcher Michael Ashby University College London London Pedagogy Planner: a user- oriented planner for learning analysis and design The London Pedagogy Planner is an online tool that has been developed to help lecturers plan and design learning materials. It can be used to support face-to-face, distance or mixed-mode learning, but is designed explicitly to encourage lecturers to make increased use of learning technology, to collaborate and to test and modify their designs. Principal researcher Diana Laurillard London Knowledge Lab The RAMLINE project - a coherent structure for the delivery of music- based education An index of music and musicians has been developed and linked to online resources including scores, recordings and criticism. Its content can be searched and displayed by person, place, work, or date, using a formal but flexible vocabulary to link music, musicians and concepts effectively in different ways. The report presents a number of case-studies. Principal researcher Anthony Pitts Royal Academy of Music Online self-access course teaching reading skills for business Dutch An online self-access course in business Dutch has been developed and tested for English speakers with little or no knowledge of that language. The course consists of thirty lessons, including exercises and revision sessions. It aims to enable students to build up a working knowledge of business Dutch good enough to understand newspaper financial pages. Principal researcher Theo Hermans University College London Courses for all? improving access to online learning Methods for making distance learning materials and courses accessible to disabled students were evaluated through a literature survey, an analysis of disparate pre-existing guidelines and a focus group.The study showed that academics need time and guidance to comply with guidelines. Two courses using different platforms were evaluated to compare their compliance with accessibility requirements. Principal researcher Will Gibson Institute of Education Research in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 4. Distance education depends on the appropriate use of educational technologies of every form, both to provide learners with access to learning content and to support effective learning activity. Established and emerging technologies are changing rapidly to transform traditional relationships between teachers, learners, institutions and knowledge providers. A model for delivery and support that incorporates m-learning This study investigated the use of mobile phones, to support students in developing countries, in the distance learning courses run by the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy. Mobile-based multimedia activities and resources were developed and tested successfully in two course modules and will be introduced more widely. Principal researcher Jon Gregson University of London Improving student retention in postgraduate distance education A series of recommendations for improving student retention in the Centre for Financial and Management Studies were derived from literature reviews and surveys of practice at other institutions. The amount and quality of communication between tutors and students was highlighted as crucially important for retention. Principal researcher Sarah Jones SOAS Teachers as media producers in virtual classrooms The experiences of teachers in virtual classrooms, which combine live audio, conferencing, and text and image manipulation to replicate a classroom environment online, were explored and evaluated in a wide range of situations. The findings identified gaps in our understanding of how these are used, enabling future developments to be planned sensibly. Principal researcher Tim Neumann London Knowledge Lab CoMo: supporting collaborative groupwork using mobile phones in distance education A series of group-work activities using mobile phones were designed for students on distance learning courses in veterinary medicine, in collaboration with those students and their tutors. The students evaluated the activities in practice. Camera phones were shown to help document case studies and procedures and to aid group cohesion. Principal researcher Niall Winters London Knowledge Lab Organisational management eBenchmarking and quality enhancement The University participated in the UK Higher Education Academy eBenchmarking project, to assess and compare the embedding of good e-learning practice within higher education. The CDE led a review of the use of e-learning within the provision of distance learning programmes in the External System, focused on two undergraduate and four Masters programmes from different Colleges. The programme teams found value in the opportunity that the process gave Technologies for learning Distance education creates unique management challenges for higher education institutions, to oversee programmes where the quality of teaching and learning relies on specialised and dispersed systems. for a complete survey of programme delivery, development, planning and policy. The review offered a structured opportunity to revisit and reassess work on e-learning in the light of experience and a view of future possibilities of e-learning tools and services. The eBenchmarking tool was considered a valuable tool for producing evidence to inform institutional strategy and for change. It is being further developed for use within the System to support self- evaluation by programme teams. Research in distance EDUCATIONResearch in distance EDUCATION Research in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 5. Learner experience and learning contexts The University's community of distance learners is one of the most diverse student populations in the world, spanning almost every age, academic background, life experience and cultural environment. Having a detailed understanding of differences and similarities amongst these students is key to planning and managing support services and academic guidance. Developing communities of practice: third party institutions in the Laws Programme Student and tutor interviews led to recommendations for improving the working relationship between the University and local providers. These recommendations should support development of a‘community of practice’characterised by ‘joint enterprise, mutual engagement and shared repertoire’. Principal researcher Vigneswari Thanapal Queen Mary, University of London e-Learners’ experiences in a mixed-mode professional degree programme The project evaluated subjective experiences of learning by students on the Master of Teaching course at the Institute of Education, which is taught both face- to-face and at a distance. A narrative of students’ progress through the course showed them reflecting on the process of e-learning, and learning to learn collaboratively. Principal researcher Caroline Daly Institute of Education The place of distance education within the student ‘life-world’: a study of international distance learners This project examined the experiences of students studying distance education courses from the External System. In-depth interviews with students from a range of countries and backgrounds, probed motivation for study, expectations, perceived learning outcomes and constraints on study, revealing serious structural inequalities in study experiences. Principal researcher Neil Selwyn London Knowledge Lab Eliciting learner narratives within a framework for embedded evaluation for learners online Narrative methods of evaluating students’ experiences were trialled with students on postgraduate programmes in media practice and primary health care. Evaluation methods found to be useful included telephone interviews, online discussion exercises and focus groups. Students reflected on evaluation and its effect on their learning. Principal researcher Caroline Daly Institute of Education Assessment for learning Student assessment is emerging as a new area for research in the External System as new technologies create new opportunities. Effective formative assessment practices and feedback processes Methods of formative assessment in distance learning – assessment designed to aid learning rather than contributing to final marks – were compared. The analysis found that the learning potential of this type of assessment can be enhanced by appropriate use of technology but also through dialogue and collaboration between students. Principal researcher Stylianos Hatzipanagos King’s College London The reflective and empowered learner: building student engagement with formative assessment This project is focusing on the value and role of formative assessment, in distance education. The researchers interviewed students to establish their experiences of formative assessment and the quality of feedback received. Data is still being analysed and will be published later in 2009. Principal researcher Stylianos Hatzipanagos King’s College London Research in distance EDUCATIONResearch in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 6. Teacher development The University's distance learning programmes involve an array of people in teaching capacities, as course designers, programme leaders, module writers, tutors and assessors. Many students also get support for their studies from third-party institutions adding a further level of complexity for course coordination. Peer observation of teaching in the online environment The paper established a UK-wide network of university teachers involved in distance learning and interested in observing each others’online teaching (peer observation). Discussions between the teachers involved highlighted both the inherent difficulties and the overall value of this approach. Peer observation was implemented within the UCL MSc in International Primary Health Care. Principal researcher Deborah Swinglehurst University College London ‘Reading for a degree’: a study of the information seeking behaviour of undergraduate students The information needs of undergraduate students on the External Laws programme, and the way those students search for information, were studied in a small pilot project. This fed into an analysis of the effectiveness of current library services and will contribute to new guidelines for information provision for these law students. Principal researcher Sandra Tury Senate House Library Tutor accreditation as a means of enhancing student support in distance learning Teachers and senior staff in London and overseas involved with the University of London’s External Laws Programme were interviewed in order to evaluate their response to a proposed teacher accreditation scheme. The positive response informed further development of the scheme. Principal researcher Beverley Brown External Laws Programme Wake-up calls for learning: an inclusive approach to supporting students in distance education This project aims to develop and evaluate materials to support distance students’ development of skills to support learning, particularly regarding academic writing. So far, three modules have been produced, covering writing, referencing and plagiarism. The project will report by mid-2009. Principal researcher Ursula Wingate King’s College London Teaching Framework Scheme: enhancing support for distance learning Guidelines have been produced for teachers in the External Laws Programme University of London, to help them promote student- centred active learning and make full use of the resources available. These include a teaching framework and a detailed teachers’guide; to enable teachers to work towards formal accreditation within the programme. Principal researcher Beverley Brown External Laws Programme E-learning and teaching: activity templates Activity templates are generic computer-based resources for use by teachers in all disciplines to prepare materials and work through lesson plans. This project created a number of templates in different formats for use by the University of London community via the web. Study skills aids and subject-based learning templates have been developed, and the background learning theory is reviewed on the website. Principal researcher Anita Pincas Institute of Education Individualised learning Research in distance EDUCATIONResearch in distance EDUCATION Distance learners take on many of the tasks traditionally performed by teachers - managing their own time, resources, progress and problem solving. Learner support must accomodate their independence and autonomy. University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 7. Learner experience and learning contexts The University's community of distance learners is one of the most diverse student populations in the world, spanning almost every age, academic background, life experience and cultural environment. Having a detailed understanding of differences and similarities amongst these students is key to planning and managing support services and academic guidance. Developing communities of practice: third party institutions in the Laws Programme Student and tutor interviews led to recommendations for improving the working relationship between the University and local providers. These recommendations should support development of a‘community of practice’characterised by ‘joint enterprise, mutual engagement and shared repertoire’. Principal researcher Vigneswari Thanapal Queen Mary, University of London e-Learners’ experiences in a mixed-mode professional degree programme The project evaluated subjective experiences of learning by students on the Master of Teaching course at the Institute of Education, which is taught both face- to-face and at a distance. A narrative of students’ progress through the course showed them reflecting on the process of e-learning, and learning to learn collaboratively. Principal researcher Caroline Daly Institute of Education The place of distance education within the student ‘life-world’: a study of international distance learners This project examined the experiences of students studying distance education courses from the External System. In-depth interviews with students from a range of countries and backgrounds, probed motivation for study, expectations, perceived learning outcomes and constraints on study, revealing serious structural inequalities in study experiences. Principal researcher Neil Selwyn London Knowledge Lab Eliciting learner narratives within a framework for embedded evaluation for learners online Narrative methods of evaluating students’ experiences were trialled with students on postgraduate programmes in media practice and primary health care. Evaluation methods found to be useful included telephone interviews, online discussion exercises and focus groups. Students reflected on evaluation and its effect on their learning. Principal researcher Caroline Daly Institute of Education Assessment for learning Student assessment is emerging as a new area for research in the External System as new technologies create new opportunities. Effective formative assessment practices and feedback processes Methods of formative assessment in distance learning – assessment designed to aid learning rather than contributing to final marks – were compared. The analysis found that the learning potential of this type of assessment can be enhanced by appropriate use of technology but also through dialogue and collaboration between students. Principal researcher Stylianos Hatzipanagos King’s College London The reflective and empowered learner: building student engagement with formative assessment This project is focusing on the value and role of formative assessment, in distance education. The researchers interviewed students to establish their experiences of formative assessment and the quality of feedback received. Data is still being analysed and will be published later in 2009. Principal researcher Stylianos Hatzipanagos King’s College London Research in distance EDUCATIONResearch in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk
  • 8. Research in distance EDUCATION University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk Many of the University's postgraduate students work in national or international development, and this has been a key activity area for the University over many decades. Several of our research projects focus on the particular challenges and opportunities of the education in the development context, and the Centre is working with other agencies to develop the research agenda in this area. Access to learning for development The University of London formed a partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning to convene the Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, one of the world's leading conferences on education for development The Forum was organised by the Centre for Distance Education and brought 700 educationalists from more then seventy countries together in London in July 2008 to explore the role of distance education in acheiving international development goals. Distance Learning for Development The Centre is part-funding a study to identify needs and explore possibilities leading to the improvement of existing and new distance learning courses. The project will also build an understanding of the opportunities created by information and communication technologies for development in distance learning. Principal researcher Jeff Waage London International Development Centre Learning for development 300 papers provided the foundations for workshop sessions, presentations, debates, reviews and plenary sessions around seven themes: livelihoods• children and young• people governance, conflict and• social justice health• appropriate learning• technologies learner support• The presentations, papers and reports are avaialble online at www.col.org/pcf5 and provide a unique record of the 'state of the art' in this important area for education. Study skills This action research project is developing federal resources to support study skills development for use across the External System to help students improve their performance. The project is exploring the impact of study skills advice and the best ways to deliver advice to students at a distance. Research in distance EDUCATION The study skills project supports a generic approach to materials development, provided that materials can be closely integrated with programmes and related to the study context. The project has four main components: development of a• taxonomy and metadata to provide a planning framework for skills development assembly of a repository• of existing resources development of skills• curricula for four programmes evaluation and• dissemination The project has developed a common core of materials that can be adapted and used selectively to develop appropriate strategies for skills development. Exemplars have been developed by the undergraduate Laws and LSE programmes, and by postgraduate programmes at Royal Holloway and SOAS. The general conclusion of the project is that skills development is more effective when embedded in the learning process in a structured and progressive way throughout programmes of study, with opportunities to practise and develop skills in an iterative manner. The Study Skills project reports and resources are available online at http://elab.cde.london.ac.uk/.
  • 9. Continuing professional development online University of London Centre for Distance Education www.cde.london.ac.uk and cde@london.ac.uk The University is working in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, Derby and the Open University on a major HEFCE-funded study to explore how higher education institutions can best respond to the needs of professionals and employers for continuing professional development on demand. There are five strands to the project, which also has evaluation and dissemination activity built-in: Market and competitor analysis Working with professional bodies - Sector Skills Councils, employers and employees - to research what attracts employers and employees to CPD, and what HE-specific aspects appeal to them. This aspect of the project is led by the University of London working with the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) Institutional readiness Examining some of the barriers to cost-effective CPD at institutions - including the nature of current degree programmes, institutional culture, and processes - in order to identify solutions. Each of the institutions has conducted a readiness study. Outcomes-based credit vehicle Developing an innovative framework to assess CPD activities and award them with an academic credit. The Open University is leading this development. Course models and exemplar modules Developing learning design models for short online CPD courses and testing them with CPD modules that utilise them. Each university partner is developing two modules. In the University of London the Eastman Dental Institute is developing modules to support professional development for dentists and for dental health professionals. Other exemplar modules being developed by the project partners include CPD for teachers and managers. Prototype CPD portal Developing a prototype CPD portal using Web 2.0 technologies to bring together multiple CPD providers through a single resource. Derby, the Open University and London are working on the portal development. Researchers Katherine Bull Brian Sayer UoL External System Chris Louca Karen Widdowson University College Research in distance EDUCATION
  • 10. Excellence and innovation in distance education The Centre for DIstance Education provides a focus for professional development, scholarly activity and new ideas amongst those engaged in distance education in the University of London. cu The focus of the Centre’s work will be to: provide an expert resource to stimulate• and support distance education developments support an active community of practice• across the University, working with academic development units and centres in the Colleges contribute to continuing professional• development for a large and dispersed group of practitioners provide a hub and clearinghouse for• University research in transnational/ distributed learning CDE 2009-2012 The Centre organises research and development through a University-wide network coordinated by staff in the central University, working with a group of Distance Education Fellows who offer specialist expertise within a community of distance learning practitioners in the Colleges and Institutes. It is a unique resource designed for the distinct environment of the federal University of London and its External System for transnational, distributed learning. For more information Visit the Centre's website at www.cde.london.ac.uk email cde@london.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7862 8404 The Centre will work with: distance teaching practitioners in the• University and elsewhere teaching development centres in the• Colleges third-party institutions, students and• alumni . Priority activities will be to support self- evaluation and quality enhancement by progframme teams, and to engage with institutions supporting students registered with the University of London. It will also strive to continue to be an innovation centre through research and evidence-based practice. The Centre organises a rich programme of conferences, seminars, training workshops and symposia The fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning attracted 700 practitioners from seventy countries to the University to discuss Access to Learning for Development

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