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EDU 811 Summaries Week 9

Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., Kou, X., Xu, S., & Sheu, F.-R. (2015). Understanding the self-directed online learning preferences, goals, achievements, and challenges of MIT OpenCourseWare subscribers. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(2), 349.

This mixed-methods study used closed and open-ended survey data to examine the preferences and goals of students subscribing to the MIT Open Courseware newsletter.  1,429 participants completed the survey, with 613 completing at least part of the optional qualitative portion.  Goals are discussed though the lens of various tenants of self-directed learning and self-determination theory, which are presented in the review of literature.  As might be expected, participants in MOOC formats vary widely, and results reflected the characteristics of this  interestingly heterogeneous group.

One strength of this study is the clarity in the reported results.  Quantitative data is reported in simple bar graphs.  I find this preferable to lists of percentages as is often seen in reporting.  The qualitative potions are also well-summarized, succinct and relevant.  Last, the literature review was useful in providing appropriate context.

I found this article personally relevant since I have previously explored literature on MOOCs and Open Courseware.  I have also completed several MOOC certifications.  Although they have fallen out of favor in the world of EdTech trends, I still believe they will prove a powerful platform into the future for democratizing education, especially if they leverage technology to incorporate collaboration incorporating philosophies of the early cMOOC formats.  The discussions of SDL and SDT were also useful as I continue to explore motivational theories in online learning.  These are two frameworks I see referenced often.

Croxton, R. A. (2014). The role of interactivity in student satisfaction and persistence in online learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(2), 314.

This article discusses three well accepted theories related to online interactivity and motivation in order to inform a proposed model integrating all three.  These are Interaction Equivalency Theorem, Social Cognitive Theory, and Social Integration Theory.  Croxton proposes that the three can be used to inform the characteristics of student satisfaction and persistence.

The primary weakness of this study is the lack of empirical evidence supporting the proposed framework.  While the article is not intended to provide evidence, a more developed study might present the framework, then evidence supporting it from an integrated research design.  However, the discussion of the three models, in terms of interaction and persistence, is interesting and relevant.  The proposed model is also well-articulated.

This article was relevant to me in its threading together of seemingly disparate theories into a unified whole.  I was familiar with Bandura (Social Cognitive Theory) and Anderson (Interaction Equivalency Theorem), but not Tinto (Social Integration Theory).  So, the general summaries provided were useful.  I am also generally interested in further exploring various models of interaction online.  I think that defining the complexities of interaction between students, teachers and content can inform a holistic portrait of online learning environments and how they can be improved.

Shea, P., & Bidjerano, T. (2010). Learning presence: Towards a theory of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and the development of a communities of inquiry in online and blended learning environments. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1721–1731.

This article also references the work of Anderson, this time in the context of the Community of Inquiry (CoI ) model.  This model consists of three elements: teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence.   The authors suggest introducing the addition of “learner presence” to the CoI model, built around the concept of self-efficacy.  The researchers use two established survey instruments (CoI and Motivated Strategies for Learning) to measure student perceptions and motivation. The sample was randomly selected (n=2418) from students in 2 and 4 year institutions in New York State.  Results showed self-efficacy to be strongly correlated to teaching presence and social presence, supporting the authors’ proposed framework.

There are several strong elements of this study.  The sample size is quite large.  The instruments utilized are established in the literature.  Statistical analysis is well-reported.  Most notable though, is the proposed concept of “learner presence” and its integration into the CoI framework.  This is a convincing example of a proposed framework with empirical evidence to support it.

I found this relevant to my work in that it further integrates the concepts SDL, Social-Cognitive Theory/ Self-Efficacy and the CoI framework into a holistic inter-connected group of frameworks representative of motivational theory overall.   As the study above, this work aims to assimilate these well-established frameworks to further describe the complex human problem of persistence in online learning.