As the fourth Special Edition of eLearning Papers will be published in a few days. We invited Tapio Koskinen, the board’s Director of eLearning Papers, to tell us about this first issue of the year, and to share his ideas on Open Education.
The fourth special edition of eLearning Papers is fresh off the press. What will we be able to read in it?
This is the third time I help prepare the special edition, which involves choosing the most interesting and popular articles published during the past 12 months, and then selecting a representative set of topics.
One of our most widely read issues in 2012 focused on Cyber Security, for example. For the special edition, we picked a Finnish article on “Children’s Experiences of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse on the Internet”, a problem that is more widespread than what we, adults, might think.
We also published an issue in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 from which we took a very interesting “From the field” article on mobility, international students and challenges of Lifelong Learning.
In the creative classrooms’ issue – probably this last year’s most important one – we had a wonderful article outlining the concept of creative classrooms (how they are developing and their future trends) from our frequent contributor Yves Punie and also from Panagiotis Kampylis and Stefania Bocconi.
So, would you highlight this particular article?
Indeed! It might just be the best one amongst last year’s articles. It is not only really important but also nicely linked with the European Commission’s policy priorities at the moment.
Also, from our issue on learning and work–which had many good articles–we choose a “From the field” article (although it could also be considered an in-depth article) about using serious games and apps for learning.
You mentioned the terms “From the field” and “In-depth” articles? What is the difference between the two?
It was never our intention to be strictly an academic journal. Since the very beginning we have been addressing practitioners and trying to bring them together with researchers, academia and policy makers.
We look at eLearning from a broad perspective, which is why we decided to include these two categories. With “From the field” articles people can share their experiences from projects and practical work without having to “compete” with very extensive research papers. In my opinion this model has been quite well received.
You have been director the board of the eLearning Papers for a long time, how do you see the portal’s evolution?
My predecessor and the first director of the board, Roberto Carneiro from Portugal, did a lot to get this initiative started. During my time in the position, we have managed to develop a dynamic and effective way of working remotely by using digital tools.
The portal itself also met a few changes to reflect the division between “From the field” and “In-depth” articles, and the improvements in the review and selection process, but the greatest change was definitely the publishing format. We decided a few years ago that since we are eLearning Papers, we should publish the material not just on the portal or paper-based formats but also as an online magazine. Since then, we have had three issues published as a downloadable PDFs.
Which topics will eLearning Papers address in 2013?
The first issue will address learning analytics, a very hot topic in all areas of ICT applied in education and learning. The following issues will be just as interesting, with topics ranging from learning spaces design, creative classrooms and personal learning environments, to an even hotter topic such as MOOCs, which will be the third issue. By the end of the year we will also have an issue focusing on digital literacy and e-competencies.
We keep hearing about "open education" and MOOCs lately. How do you think this will transform the educational world?
A couple of decades ago, when elearning first appeared, many people were saying that digitalisation was going to revolutionise the learning processes. In reality things have not changed that much and the same people became disappointed to see universities using the digital tools for administration rather than bringing them into the classroom and beyond.
I believe that open education as a concept, opening access to knowledge, content and learning is the main driving force of today. It’s actually the first time we see big changes coming to education and learning that are being enabled by digitalisation, for example, social and participatory media tools have made MOOCs and open learning resources possible and are opening a path to change as we speak.
Thank you for your time, Tapio.
Before we finish, I would like to emphasize the fact that we are the only journal in this field being published in Europe in 6 different languages. We are most thankful to our readers, contributors and guest editors, who inspire us and make it possible for us to keep on working and to continuously improve eLearning Papers.
The next issue of the eLearning Papers will examine the use of analytics to improve learning. How do we collect data on learner behaviours and transform it into useful information to improve learning experiences? A call for papers on this topic is now open. Submissions will be accepted until November 10th, 2013.
Increasingly, learning takes place in a digital environment. For students, this means new ways to access educational resources. For educators and researchers, the widespread use of new technologies in education has created novel opportunities to observe and measure learner behaviour. Collecting, analyzing, reporting and using this new source of data, however, is a complex process. It requires specialized skills such as data mining and information visualization.
The upcoming issue of the eLearning Papers seeks examples of how learning analytics can exploit the digital trail to better understand the learning process and improve learner experiences. This issue will look at practical ways to promote learning through the use of learning analytics and encourage critical reflection on this emerging research area.
Erik Duval is the guest editor for this issue.
The call for papers is open until November 10th, 2013. Papers can either be indepth full texts (4,000 to 6,000 words) or "from the field" texts (up to 1,200 words). Please see the writing guidelines for more information.
The massive open online course on 'e-learning' will cover the most important trends in e-learning. Participants will be analysing an existing educational offering on its strengths and weaknesses regarding the use of learning technologies and designing their own blended or online course.
This third conference on learning analytics will be designed to bring the many voices involved in leveraging the availability of data about learning with powerful computational, representational and visualization techniques into dialogue in a “middle space” under the overarching theme of “Dialectics in Learning Analytics”.
The first two conferences have established the range of issues and approaches of concern in leveraging the availability of data about learning with powerful computational, representational and visualization techniques. This third conference will be designed to consolidate the field by bringing these many voices into dialogue in a “middle space” under the overarching theme of “Dialectics in Learning Analytics,” which has these facets:
The Middle Space: The conference will explore the “middle space” within which Learning and Analytics intersect, and seeks proposals for papers and events that explicitly connect analytic tools to theoretical and practical aspects of understanding and managing learning.
Productive Multivocality: Learning analytics is multidisciplinary, drawing on theories and methods from diverse research traditions. Our community includes educators, learning scientists, computer scientists, administrators, and policy makers, among others. The middle space serves as a topical “boundary object”, enabling productive discourse between these many voices.
The Old and the New: We are facing a centuries old problem: to improve learning, but we are trying to solve it using a new set of tools, not available before. We address these problems in the city of Leuven: centuries old, lively new.
This article was originally published on the online Journal The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL, issue 1, 2012.
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have been growing in popularity with educational researchers, instructors, and learners in online environments. Online discussions are as important in MOOCs as in other online courses. Online discussions that occur in MOOCs are influenced by additional factors resulting from their volatile and voluntary participation structure. This article aims to examine discussions that took place in MobiMOOC in the spring of 2011, a MOOC structured around mobile learning.
This line of inquiry focused on language from the discussions that contained emotive vocabulary in the MobiMOOC discussion forums. Emotive vocabulary is words or phrases that are implicitly emotional (happy, sad, frustrated) or relate to emotional contexts (I wasn’t able to…). This emotive vocabulary, when present, was examined to determine whether it could serve as a mechanism for predicting future and continued participation in the MOOC. In this research, narrative inquiry approach was used in order to shine a light on the possible predictive qualities of emotive text in both participants who withdrew from the course as well as moderately or moderately active participants. The results indicated that emotive vocabulary usage did not significantly predict or impact participation retention in MobiMOOC.
Learning Analytics is a rapidly growing research field and commercial , with potentially disruptive potential. While educational researchers have for many years used computational techniques toanalyse learner data, generate visualizations of learning dynamics,and build predictive models to test theories — for the first time, these techniques are becoming available to educators, learners and policy makers.
Learning analytics promise is to transform educational research into a data-driven science, and educational institutions into organisations that make evidence-based decisions. However, critical debate is needed on the limits of computational modelling, the ethics of analytics, and the educational paradigms that learning analytics promote.