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Expansion in elearning

Jakobsdóttir, S. & Jóhannsdóttir, T. (2011). Expansion in e-learning: online technologies enabling access to the upper secondary level for a more diverse student group. Paper presented in A. Gaskell, R. Mills og A. Tait (Eds.), The fourteenth Cambridge International Conference on Open, Distance and E-Learning 2011: Internationalisation and social justice: the role of open, distance and e-learing (pp. 84-92). Milton Keynes, UK: The Open University http://www2.open.ac.uk/r06/conference/papers/authorsStoZ&Workshops.pdf

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Expansion in e-learning:
Online technologies enabling access to the upper
secondary level for a more diverse student group


           Sólveig Jakobsdóttir
           Þuríður Jóhannsdóttir
    University of Iceland – School of Education
Content

•   Background
•   Method
•   Results
•   Summary and consideration
Iceland




  From: Icelandic Met Office http://www.vedur.is
Iceland

Capital area: Reykjavík
Residents ca.:
200.000
almost 2/3 of the
total population.




                                    Akureyri
                                    Town w ca.
                                    17-18.000
Focus

• Why do learners at the upper secondary level
  want to take advantage of distance education
  (DE)?
• How do they estimate the value of having this
  opportunity?
• Is the advent of online learning enhancing
  equity in access to schools?
Background: VMA

• 1994 Akureyri Comprehensive College (VMA),
  located in North Iceland was a pioneer in
  offering distance education (DE) - online
  courses (via e-mail).
• Vision: enhance equity in access to secondary
  ed. for people in sparsely populated areas.
• For ca. 8 years the largest provider of DE at the
  upper secondary level in Iceland.
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Expansion in elearning

  • 1. Expansion in e-learning: Online technologies enabling access to the upper secondary level for a more diverse student group Sólveig Jakobsdóttir Þuríður Jóhannsdóttir University of Iceland – School of Education
  • 2. Content • Background • Method • Results • Summary and consideration
  • 3. Iceland From: Icelandic Met Office http://www.vedur.is
  • 4. Iceland Capital area: Reykjavík Residents ca.: 200.000 almost 2/3 of the total population. Akureyri Town w ca. 17-18.000
  • 5. Focus • Why do learners at the upper secondary level want to take advantage of distance education (DE)? • How do they estimate the value of having this opportunity? • Is the advent of online learning enhancing equity in access to schools?
  • 6. Background: VMA • 1994 Akureyri Comprehensive College (VMA), located in North Iceland was a pioneer in offering distance education (DE) - online courses (via e-mail). • Vision: enhance equity in access to secondary ed. for people in sparsely populated areas. • For ca. 8 years the largest provider of DE at the upper secondary level in Iceland.
  • 7. Background: More schools • Increased demand for DE – Reykjavík schools follow suit e.g. FÁ 2001, VÍ 2005. • Educational policy (2001, 2005): increase in DE– students to study regardless of location • 2009: 8 schools offer DE, 4-5000 DE students enrolled. • After 2008, heavy cuts, quality of DE under scrutiny – Evaluation report in 2010
  • 8. Method • Evaluation study initiated and supported by the Ministry of Education, focusing on 3 leading DE schools at upper secondary level: FÁ, VÍ, VMA* • Interviews with administrators, teacher & student surveys, 36 course webs analysed. • Focus in this paper on part of the student data gathered with surveys *FÁ=Comprehensive College at Ármúli VÍ=The Commercial College of Iceland VMA= Akureyri Comprehensive College
  • 9. Method – Participants, N, F:M, age School N of DE Gender Mean N of survey students ratios, age participants F:M (participation rate) FÁ 1816 70:30 25.1 517 (31%) VÍ 916 61:39 23.6 271 (30%) VMA 491 63:37 29.1 292 (41%) Total 3223 66:34 991 (31%)
  • 10. Method – Participants, age distribution
  • 11. Method - questionnaire • Online survey spring 2010 • 46 questions in 5 sections – General background – Study background – Experience and evaluation of DE courses – Comparison of DE program/courses and „regular“
  • 12. Results – courses and study • Overall, students usually registered for 6-7 courses in spring semester (DE+regular) – most (86%) taking 1-3 DE courses • 42% 1; 27% 2; 16% 3 DE courses • Mean number of total credits: 13.9 (full credit load= 17-18) – Mean number of DE credits: 6.4
  • 13. Results – registration data Additional type of study than the DE FÁ VÍ VMA Total course(s) % % % % DE course(s) at a different upper 8 9 8 8 secondary school Dayschool in the same upper 7 8 18 10 secondary school Dayschool in a different upper 25 27 23 25 secondary school University 1,2 2,2 0,5 1,3 Lower secondary/Middle school 13 10 0 10
  • 15. Results – students‘ residence • 6% abroad • In the Reykjavík schools in southwest Iceland FÁ, VÍ: ca. 58% live in or close to the capital • In the Akureyri school in Northern Iceland VMA: 52% live close to Akureyri+17% in close areas.
  • 16. Results – work employment • 35% did not have a paid job • Ca. 25% worked 1-20 hours per week • Ca. 25% worked 21-40 hours • Ca. 16% 41 hours or more Gender: More M‘s than F‘s 41 hours or more (25 vs. 12%); similar % wo paid job: 37 vs. 34%
  • 17. Results – work employment
  • 18. Results: Need and value vs. Convenience & comfort • Need: 61%: high/very high need for DE (51+, and youngest less than middle groups) • Value: 70% report DE study have high/very high practical value • Enjoyment: 52%: enjoyed DE studies much/very much (F>M) • How suited: 72% felt DE suited them well/very well, 22% OK; similar with convenience
  • 19. Results: main reasons for DE – big age differeces Age groups % choosing each reason Main reasons (in parenthesis for the most popular reasons) -15 16-20 21-25 26-40 41-50 51+ Advance credits 70 (1.) 31 (4.) 25 14 4 6 Need the credits 4 44 (1.) 56 (1.) 52 (3.) 39 (5.) 28 Flexibility in time 18 35 (2-3) 48 (2.) 55 (2.) 41 (3.) 46 (4.) Convenient 27 35 (2-3) 41 (3.) 43 (4-5) 40 (4.) 50 (3.) Can work with study 2 22 40 (4.) 57 (1.) 66 (1.) 66 (2.) Flexibility in location 3 28 38 (5.) 43 (4-5) 35 (6.) 32 (5.) Add knowledge 29 19 24 40 (6.) 57 (2.) 80 (1.) Study at home w 0 6 22 37 (7.) 16 4 family/children Number of main reasons 1 4 5 7 6 5 chosen by 30% or higher ratio
  • 20. Results: main reasons for DE – gender differeces • Gender differences in fewer reasons • Highly significant gender difference in being able to stay at home with children or family. – 19% of F‘s and 8% of M‘s identified that reason – In the age group 26-30: 48% of the women and 17% of the men. • More F‘s than M‘s: convenient to study via DE, flexibility in location, social reasons/problems
  • 21. Summary - discussion • Opportunities for taking courses at a distance have enabled access to schools for people that otherwise would not have been able to finish upper secondary diplomas. • ODEL has contributed to supporting groups that for different reasons are in danger of dropping out of regular schools and is in that way contributing to social justice.
  • 22. Conclusions • Students in the regular day-school can organize their studies to get ahead, catch up or make up for lost time due to various reasons. • People have access to school regardless of location or circumstances including physical or social problems or illness and can have more control of their own studies.
  • 23. Conclusions • The drop-out rate for the DE courses the schools involved in this study was reported to be fairly high or 24-40%. • However, DE can help students to graduate from regular programs (where drop-out is also high), so – DE option can help lower drop-out rate overall.
  • 24. Conclusions • Students who have dropped-out at this school level can pick up where they left off and enter the school system again even if they have increased responsibilities as adults regarding family and work. • Older adults have used the opportunity to acquire knowledge in different areas.
  • 25. Conclusions • However, ODEL is not a magic solution for everyone. • Text-based to more use of social media and multimedia. • A growing number of immigrants – how does DE work for them? – Opportunities for cross- border education.
  • 26. Acknowledgements • This paper is based on an evaluation of DE in Iceland for the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. We thank the Ministry for giving permission for the presentation of results in this paper. We thank all the staff and students participating in the evaluation study. • And thanks also to you dear audience!