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Cooperative Freedom as a Guiding Star for Online Education


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Cooperative Freedom as a Guiding Star for Online Education

  1. 1. Cooperative Freedom as a Guiding Star for Online Education Morten Flate Paulsen Professor of Online Education NKI Distance Education The slides are available via: http:// / A presentation (30 +15 min) Universität Hildesheim, Germany, November 8, 2007
  2. 2. Presentation Abstract <ul><li>The Theory of Cooperative Freedom claims that adult students often seek individual flexibility and freedom. At the same time, many need or prefer group collaboration and social unity. These aims are difficult to combine. There is a tension between the urge for individual independence and the necessity to contribute in a collective learning community. Thus, cooperative learning seeks to develop virtual learning environments that allow students to have optimal individual freedom within online learning communities. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The presentation is based on my Theory of Cooperative Freedom which is described in my book about Online Education Cooperative Freedom: An Online Education Theory. In Online Education and Learning Management Systems: Global E-learning in a Scandinavian Perspective . Page 39 . This presentation focuses on means to implement the theory
  4. 4. NKI Internet College: <ul><li>Operated by NKI Distance Education ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>One of Europe’s largest providers of online distance education </li></ul><ul><li>Online education since 1987 (About 90 000 course enrolments) </li></ul><ul><li>Broad spectrum of subjects from secondary to master level </li></ul><ul><li>About 460 distance education courses online </li></ul><ul><li>About 8800 online students in at least 35 countries </li></ul><ul><li>About 70 % women </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue of 9 million Euros in 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>You may start whenever you like </li></ul><ul><li>Individual progress plans </li></ul><ul><li>Always room for more students </li></ul><ul><li>Exams at local schools and embassies </li></ul><ul><li>Online students get better grades </li></ul>October 2007
  5. 7. The Megatrends project: A study of European Megaproviders in e-learning <ul><li>1. “E-learning initiatives that did not reach targeted goals” provides ten case study articles and analyses of nine prestigious European e-learning initiatives that did not reach their targeted goals.    2. “Megaproviders of e-learning in Europe” is a major, new book which includes 26 case study articles of European megaproviders of e-learning.   3. “The Provision of e-learning in the European Union” presents data gathered from Norway and the 25 members of the European Union as an introductory overview of the provision of e-learning in Europe.    </li></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>” In my view, the most interesting and challenging pedagogical challenge in our lifetime is how we can provide online education that combines individual freedom with meaningful cooperation. I have struggled with this challenge since I first introduced my Theory of Cooperative Freedom in 1992”. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 9. Learning could be Individual, Cooperative or Collaborative <ul><li>Individual learning provides much individual flexibility, but little learning community </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperative learning provides much individual flexibility and access to a learning community </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative learning requires participation in a learning community, but limits individual flexibility </li></ul>
  8. 10. Individual flexibility Affinity to learning community Individual Learning Environment Cooperative Learning Environment Collaborative Learning Environment
  9. 11. NKI’s Philosophy on Online Learning <ul><li>NKI Distance Education facilitates individual freedom within a learning community in which online students serve as mutual resources without being dependent on each other. </li></ul><ul><li>We build on adult education principles and seek to foster benefits from both individual freedom and cooperation in online learning communities. </li></ul>Cooperative learning is based on voluntary participation in a learning community
  10. 12. NKI’s LMS supports individual progression plans
  11. 14. Planning Status <ul><li>NKI introduced the planning system as a voluntary option in May 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>The number of students who have registered their individual progress plans is continuously growing. </li></ul><ul><li>In October 2007, 4400 students have active plans. </li></ul><ul><li>This is large number of students, but it still constitutes less than 50% of the online students. </li></ul><ul><li>Of those who have an active plan, 25% are more than 10 days late. </li></ul>
  12. 15. Imaginary student catalogue with information about next submission number and planned submission date
  13. 16. Evaluation of planning system How satisfied are you with the planning system? The system was referred to as simple and motivating. Some state that it makes planning easier and results in improved progression. A typical comment was: It helps me keep up a steady study progression so that I finish the work before my exam. In his master thesis, Fagerberg (2005) interviewed 15 online students who studied psychology about their evaluation of NKI’s online tools. He concluded that systems and tools for planning and supervision were perceived as more important than tools for collaboration and social interaction.
  14. 17. NKI’s system for supervision of individual progress plans <ul><li>When students log on, they see the number of days to next planned submission </li></ul><ul><li>Students receive reminders when they are delayed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>After 10 days: a standard e-mail generated by the LMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After 20 days: the teacher is prompted to send a personal e-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After 90 days: the individual plan is purged and the student is contacted via land mail. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student catalogues provide information about the progress plans </li></ul><ul><ul><li>incentive for maintaining up-to-date progress plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>incentive to contact and encourage peers who have problems following their plans </li></ul></ul>
  15. 18. How satisfied are you with NKI’s follow-up system?
  16. 19. Student interface for submission of assignments
  17. 20. Information from teacher’s start page:
  18. 21. Supervision System Results <ul><li>The system was introduced in May 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>It resulted in much discussion in the teachers’ online forum. </li></ul><ul><li>A few teachers voiced strong criticism, doubts and reservations. </li></ul><ul><li>The average response time during the last six months dropped month by month during the Fall of 2004. In October it showed 3,97 days, in November 3,06 days and in December 2,76 days. Since then, the average response time has been less than 3 days except during summer holidays. </li></ul>
  19. 22. Boldic Award 2006 NKI’s Learning Partners <ul><li>An innovative service for voluntary cooperation between students in a large online learning community </li></ul><ul><li>November 16, NKI Distance Education received the Boldic Award 2006. There were seven nominations to this international award from the Baltic and the Nordic countries. </li></ul><ul><li>The jury states that NKI’s Learning Partner Service: &quot;Furthers and develops the Nordic tradition in ODL. The learning partner concept adds a new, innovative dimension of student support to flexible distance education.&quot; </li></ul>
  20. 23. Learning Partners inspire each other <ul><li>NKI has developed a service that uses personal presentations for finding and connecting students who want learning partners. </li></ul><ul><li>The service was introduced March 16. 2006. October 20. there were about 400 students who had one or more learning partners. </li></ul>Read Norwegian article about student expectations Nettskoleavisen, april 2006
  21. 24. There is an online demo explaining in Norwegian how students may find learning partners <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Register your personal presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Decide who may access it </li></ul><ul><li>Search for potential learning partners </li></ul><ul><li>Invite somebody to become your learning partner </li></ul>
  22. 25. NKI’s suggestion for personal presentation Options for learning partners and privacy
  23. 26. The search showed 229 students in postal region 13 (Asker og Bærum) Sample search for learning partners Overview of learning partners
  24. 27. Elin Ulven Refsdal has established good relationships with her learning partners in Trondheim, Norway. <ul><li>She invited three students in her local area to become her learning partners. Two of them accepted the invitation. The three of them have had much contact via e-mail and text messages, and they have also met in person. Their cooperation is a strong motivational factor and, even though they started their studies at different times, they are now progressing simultaneously. </li></ul><ul><li>Having learning partners is almost like competing in study progress. It is very useful to discuss assignments and difficult concepts with others. Learning partners are more useful than online discussion forums, according to Elin Ulven Refsdal, as the main difference is that, in a discussion forum, there are many people and a lot of topics, while in a learning partnership, the students are dealing with the same topics. </li></ul>Source:
  25. 28. Learning partners have become important resources for Trude Nordbø. She has just finished her final exam in NKI’s economy and management programme. This summer, she continued her business administration studies with the ambition of passing the exam before Christmas. <ul><li>With the help of the learning partnership, she was able to advance. She says that she was stuck when it came to cost and income analysis, and searched NKI’s web pages for help. She found the information about learning partners, and also found some potential candidates, including students who were at the same stage in the course as she was and senior students. These learning partners discussed a great deal via MSN and e-mail. </li></ul><ul><li>Trude Nordbø enjoys distance education and likes to study alone, but her learning partners have added a new dimension to her studies. In some courses, this has been of enormous help both for her understanding of the topics and for her progression. She is so excited about it that she recommends additional services: graduate students could continue as learning partners for new students, which would also offer them an excellent opportunity to maintain their knowledge. </li></ul>Source:
  26. 29. The Learning Partner System could be used to: <ul><li>Establish informal contact between students who live in the same area or have matching progress plans </li></ul><ul><li>Establish formal groups to improve course completion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study-buddies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helpmates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Matching senior students with junior students in special assignments </li></ul>
  27. 30. Preliminary results October 2007 Out of NKI’s 8900 online students: <ul><li>3900 have registered a personal presentation and an increasing number includes a personal picture </li></ul><ul><li>3591 have indicated their privacy level and preference regarding having learning partners </li></ul><ul><li>About 700 have found one or more learning partners </li></ul>
  28. 31. NKI’s Quality Control and Evaluation System <ul><li>Needs to handle 200 teachers, 450 courses and 9000 students </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible tool to design questionnaires </li></ul><ul><li>Continuously updated reports </li></ul><ul><li>Tailor-made reports for students, teachers and administrators </li></ul>
  29. 32. Questionnaires with dynamic reports adapted to various users Questionnaires Database Individual reports for thousands of students Individual reports for hundreds of teachers Misc. reports for the administration Per class/ teacher Per course Other reports My class My course All courses My class My course All courses
  30. 33. Results after 403 answers, student survey fall 2007
  31. 34. Thank You! Questions? The presentation and contact information is available via: http:// /