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新加坡南洋理工大学硕士85分dissertation英语论文代写范例

新加坡南洋理工大学硕士85分dissertation英语论文代写范例
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ABSTRACT

 

The process of finding, selecting and using digital learning is time consuming and overwhelming. Little research has focused on the use of digital learning material (DLM) in specific assignments in higher education, particularly on whether learning objectives are present. To describe the basic statistics associated with the use of DLM, the researcher conducted an online survey of a sample population of instructors at a university in the Southern United States. The researcher examines instructional practices with the goal of contributing to the literature on who is using digital learning materials in online assignments in higher education, pedagogical usability, and faculty motivations for using these materials. Data collected indicate that the use of DLM in online assignments is common among higher education instructors. All respondents agreed that a range of pedagogical usability principles must be present in order for them to utilize digital learning materials. This study may benefit higher education instructors and those who assist them with digital learning materials by helping them build upon the experiences described by study participants.

 

 

ABSTRACT. i

1. INTRODUCTION.. 3

1.0 Purpose of study. 3

1.1 Statement of problem.. 3

1.2 Nature of the study. 4

1.3 Research questions. 4

2. LITERATURE REVIEW... 5

2.0 Digital Learning Materials. 5

2.1 Pedagogical Usability Criteria. 7

2.3 Innovation Diffusion. 8

3. DATA COLLECTION.. 11

3.0 Introduction. 11

3.1 Population and Sample. 12

3.2 Research Design. 13

3.3 Statistical Methodology. 13

3.4 Data Collection Method. 14

3.5 Ethical Considerations. 15

3.6 Validity. 15

3.7 Reliability. 16

3.8 Limitations and Potential Impact16

4. DATA ANALYSIS. 17

4.0 Digital Learning Materials Data. 17

4.1 Demographic analysis.17

4.2 Faculty use of digital learning materials analysis. 20

4.4 Motivations and Pedagogical Usability. 22

5. Discussion and conclusion. 28

5.0 Discussion. 28

5.1 Conclusion and recommendation. 28

REFERENCES. 31

Appendix 1. 32

Faculty Letter32

Informed Consent35

Appendix 2. 38

Faculty Survey. 38

 

 

1. INTRODUCTION

Today’s learners operate in a world that is filled with technology. Learners are now able to interact with information, learning materials, and peers from around the globe. Educational paradigms are shifting to include new modes of online and collaborative learning and student-centered, active learning to challenge our students to connect curriculum with real life issues (Johnson, Adams & Cummins, 2012). Interestingly,  little research has focused on the use of digital learning materials in specific assignments in higher education. In this exploratory and descriptive study, the researcher examines higher education instructional practices with the goal of contributing to the literature on who is using digital learning materials in online assignments in higher education, whether learning objectives are used with the materials, pedagogical usability, and faculty motivations for using these materials.

1.0 Purpose of study

The researcher examined the digital learning materials being used by instructors in addition to their frequency of use. The perceived importance of pedagogical usability principles, motivations for use, and presence are the objectives of this study.

1.1 Statement of problem

The process of finding, selecting and using digital learning material is time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. These materials are used with a variety of instructional strategies in online courses, often without suggestions or information for the instructor on the most effective ways to use them, even when found in large repositories.

 

1.2 Nature of the study

The approach used in this research is descriptive and exploratory. The researcher conducted an online survey of a sample population of instructors in one university located in the southern United States.  Due to time constraints, the researcher chose easily accessible university to create a snapshot of a semester. The research is conducted without a collaborative team, also contributing to the use of an easily accessible participant pool.

Since the participants came from a pool of faculty who teach online, they have experience with online courses and the use of digital learning materials in some form, and the survey was designed to determine not only what but how they used the materials.  

1.3 Research questions

The researcher addresses the following questions in this study:

1.      What are the demographic characteristics of faculty who use digital learning materials in online courses, including gender, age, program assignment, faculty position, and level of education attained?

2.      What digital learning materials are used in online course assignments by participant faculty and what are motivations for use?

3.      What is the perceived importance of pedagogical usability principles by the participating faculty?

 

 

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 Digital Learning Materials

Digital learning material has many definitions. Southern Regional Education Board([SREB], 2005) found that, digital learning materials in education may also be referred to as sharable content objects or learning objects. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2005) defines learning objects as any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used or referenced during technology supported learning. Ally (2004) discusses them as any digital resource that can be used and re-used to achieve specific learning outcome or outcomes. Another term used interchangeably with digital learning materials is web-based learning tools that support learning by enhancing, amplifying, and guiding the cognitive processes of learners(Kay & Knaack, 2008a, p. 447).  Liu (2007) defines them as web-based learning application. He argues it as any entity of instructional contents or activities delivered through the Web that intends to teach a focused concept.  Due to broad use of this terminology, it is important to place the definitions the researcher uses in this research within the larger context of related literature. Digital learning materials (DLM) consist of content that uses digital technologies for delivery, meets specific learning objectives aligned with the curriculum, and is designed on the basis of a learning strategy and pedagogical procedure.  

DLM are available to faculty from many sources that may be searchable and usable. At times, when the content is used there is not a clear relationship between the content and assignment learning objectives.  Research has been conducted on digital content use in K-12 schools in Australia (Reimann et al., 2009) with student input in order to measure variables such as learning and engagement.  Students were asked how helpful the use of DLM, in this case called learning objects, was in supporting their learning.  The results of this question were very positive, with 63.5% (n=120) of respondents stating they were “very helpful” or “extremely helpful.”  Students were also asked open ended questions about what they think are the best things about the digital content in the courses.  The main choices indicated were “increased student engagement” and “improved learning outcomes.”  Studies have suggested that many technologies have not been adequately adopted (Groves & Zemel, 2000) partially because of lack of knowledge about digital learning materials.  Some research shows that although many faculty need assistance learning to use DLM (Sayre & Wetterlund, 2005), use of the content can improve learning (Schacter & Fagnano, 1999). 

Given all the duties faculty must attend to, time to explore the options that DLM might offer is scarce. An individual faculty member’s beliefs about how the content might fit into his or her existing pedagogy may also hinder the integration process.  Proper integration of DLM requires a willingness to explore the options available (Rakes, Fields, & Cox, 2006).

Studies have suggested that many technologies have not been adequately adopted (Groves & Zemel, 2000) partially due to lack of knowledge about digital learning materials. Some instructors take advantage of the new opportunities and use them regularly, while others tend to rely on more “traditional” methods.  Research on how to create, catalog, and distribute digital collections and content (California Digital Library, 2001, 2011; National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage [NINCH], 2002; Theng & Foo, 2005; SREB, 2005) somewhat addresses the issues faculty encounter when trying to locate DLM but does not necessarily offer solutions to the barriers they confront when attempting to apply these materials in the classroom.  This research establishes that DLM are available to faculty from many sources that may be searchable and usable.  Riemann, Freebody, Hornibrook, & Howard (2009), for example, suggest that even though the materials are usable, they are under-used and that instructors are not familiar with them.  To date there has been very little content analysis completed on instructors’ actual use of DLM in online course assignments.  

2.1 Pedagogical Usability Criteria

The following list explains in brief the criterion of pedagogical usability as addressed by Nokelainen (2006).

  1. Understandability- Learning materials should provide a well-structured description of the subject information using an understandable language.
  2. Learner-control- Describes the student’s ability to control the order in which they would like to perform activities.
  3. Goal-orientation- Relates to the learning activity in terms of learning goals or objectives set by the instructor.
  4. Time- Must allow the student to learn the subject matter within a short, but acceptable, period of time.
  5. Interactivity - Supported through easy and user friendly accessibility of the subject information and task-based activities.
  6. Multiple representation of information- Should provide multiple representation of information using variousmultimedia elements, e.g. text, graphics, images, and sounds.
  7. Motivation - The material should contain intrinsically motivating tasks and examples.
  8. Differentiation - Fitting the subject information to the characteristics of the students, taking into account their abilities.
  9. Flexibility - Provide different levels of difficulty and contain diverse assignments and tasks that are tailored to the students.
  10. Autonomy - Students are able to work on their own, without being completely depended on the instructor.
  11. Collaboration - Students should be able to work together to reach a common goal, giving them a sense of how problem solving can be carried out in collaboration.
  12. Variation - Students are able to use other learning resources in combination with the digital learning materials.

 

2.3 Innovation Diffusion

In the context of educational technology, innovation diffusion can lead to new concepts and teaching techniques, changing teaching and learning.  This changing landscape seeks to create a generation of learners whose learning is defined as “the ability to retain, synthesize, and apply conceptually complex information in meaningful ways” (Lambert & McCombs, 1998).

Rogers (1995) points out basic features of technology that affect its adoption:

·         has an advantage over previous innovations;

·         is compatible with existing practices;

·         is not too complex to understand;

·         shows observable results;

·         Can be experimented with on a limited basis before adoption.

As described by Moore (1991) in discussing the processes of technology adoption and innovation diffusion, users can be viewed as comprising successive waves of adopters: Early Innovators, Early Adopters, Pragmatists (early majority), Pragmatists (late majority), and Traditionalists. The majority of instructional technology users can be characterized as pragmatists. Many new technologies have encountered significant challenges in becoming adopted by the pragmatists. To do so requires providing an easy-to-use and enjoyable alternative, and demonstration of improved productivity in important areas (Moore, 1991; Recker, Doward & Nelson, 2004). As such, this research focuses on the pragmatist class of users.

 

 

3. DATA COLLECTION

3.0 Introduction

This exploratory research study attempts to describe how instructors use digital learning materials.  Data for the study were collected in an online survey (see Appendix 2) conducted through SurveyMonkey.com®.  Survey data were summarized using descriptive statistics.  Sample DLM were also collected from volunteers via the online survey software and formatted into descriptive tables.  Demographics of the study’s participant sample are presented first, followed by findings for each research question.

 A self-administered survey was used within the overall framework of the research to gather data and DLM experience information from faculty.  Faculty were asked how they value DLM as teaching tools, in terms of frequency of use, level of confidence, and motivations for using digital learning materials.  To establish a sample set for content analysis, faculty were asked to provide an example of DLM in an assignment in which they included learning objectives. 

The survey instrument was delivered using a secure, password-protected online tool.  The results were submitted electronically and archived.  Data from the survey posted were collected and summarized using descriptive statistics with support from the statistical tools in online tool.  The DLM provided by participants were collected and analyzed to gain insight about how instructors use them with higher education learners.  Statistical processing was done using the online survey summary data tool to obtain basic descriptive analysis. Charts included in this study are generated using the online survey chart tool. Answers to open ended survey questions are analyzed for word count and visualizations generated using IBM Many Eyes tag cloud and phrase net tools. Digital learning materials submitted to the survey are read, reviewed, noted and categorized manually by the researcher. The sample DLM are also described in tables compiled by the researcher relating to types of digital learning materials, presence of learning objectives, audience, and other factors.

3.1 Population and Sample

Higher education instructors with online teaching experience at one university (referred to as “the University”) in the United States constituted the research pool for this study.  Survey participants are drawn from a convenience sample elicited from a list of current instructors provided by the Office of Distance Education. Participants were asked to volunteer to send sample assignments that implemented digital learning materials.  Thirteen survey participants supplied assignment materials so that they could be analyzed.

The University from which the sample is taken integrates educational approach by linking classroom, online, and experiential learning to discovery, discipline, and creativity.  An emphasis on students’ participation in recreational, cultural, and student life and community service activities promotes individual growth.  The University also states that it is “committed to providing a wide array of student support services designed to help students reach their full potential and get the most out of their educational experience.

3.2 Research Design

This research study first collects descriptive quantitative data.  Next, sample DLM were collected and analyzed.  The descriptive quantitative data includes demographic information, how often and what types of DLM are used and actors that influence instructors’ decisions to use DLM.

The working population of this study includes all instructors (N = 301) who teach online courses in this single, racially diverse university in the southwestern United States. 

This research specifically gathered the following data:

Demographic information from faculty:

●                    Gender/age

●                    Educational level

●                    Position (Full-time, adjunct, etc.)

●                    Distance learning experience

●                    Perceived importance of pedagogical usability criteria

●                    Sample assignments

·         Identification of DLM use in assignments.

3.3 Statistical Methodology

The following table shows the research methods, data measurements and applied statistical methods.

Table 2: Research questions and statistical method

Research Question (RQ)

Data Collected

How analysed

Data Collection Method

RQ 1. What are the demographic characteristics of faculty who use digital learning materials in online courses, including gender, age, program assignment, faculty position, and level of education attained?

Age

Gender
Program
Position

Education

 

Written description; Descriptive Statistics of Part I, Survey questions #1-7

Survey

RQ 2. What digital learning materials (DLM) are used in online course assignments by participant faculty and what are motivations for use?

Type of DLM

Indication of DLM used; Descriptive Statistics of Part II, Survey question #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, Word Frequency Counts, Motivation Chi-square

Survey; Word Frequency Visualization Tools

RQ 3. What is the perceived importance of pedagogical usability principles by the participating faculty?

Faculty self-reporting of perceived importance

Descriptive Statistics of data from Part II, Question #8; comparison of pedagogical usability principles and motivations; pedagogical usability principle and their actual presence in assignments comparison

Survey

 

3.4 Data Collection Method

The faculty responded to questions, about age and academic ranking, as well as how they value DLM as teaching tools, in terms of frequency of use, level of confidence, and motivations for using of digital learning materials.

 The researcher used the following procedures to manage the data collected from the submitted assignments.

  1. Tabulated the data gathered using the survey software tools.
  2. Read information from the survey while making word processed notes.
  3. Transcribed responses from survey questions into word processed notes.
  4. Manually copied and pasted assignment submissions from faculty into word processed notes.
  5. Sorted and organized data from the survey using the survey software tools and word processed notes.
  6. Reviewed, revised and expanded word processed notes.
  7. Created categories, tables and figures using the collected word processed notes and survey data.

3.5 Ethical Considerations

Informed consent from participants who responded to the online survey was obtained through the online survey itself by way of a statement that explained that by taking the online survey, participants consented that the data they provided could be used in the research study.  The survey respondents remained anonymous unless they provided their email addresses in the online survey to receive research results.  To preserve privacy and confidentiality of participants’ data, names are not disclosed in this dissertation.  The data will be preserved on a portable computer drive for a minimum of two years before being destroyed using digital and physical shredding.

 

3.6 Validity

 Postal costs, missing data, and errors in transferred data to electronic format are eliminated (Gall et al., 2003).  A password-protected tool prevented outsiders from accessing the survey site and help maintain user confidentiality.

3.7 Reliability

The researcher ensured that threats to reliability are avoided by trying to avoid biased or leading questions, technical terms that respondent wouldn’t understand without providing definitions, and words resulting in possible participant bias, and by including explicit instructions (Gall et al., 2003).  The survey included definitions for words that may have had conflicting meanings for participants (Gall et al., 2003).  Careful question construction, specific definitions, and pre-testing of the survey instrument enhanced the questions’ readability and understandability.

3.8 Limitations and Potential Impact

This study has limitations in terms of the population studied and the sample size gathered.  Responses to the online survey were relatively low, giving a small sample to extrapolate from.  This means that it is difficult to apply data in terms of demographic profile, such as the age and educational level of faculty who use digital learning materials to a larger population.

 

 

4. DATA ANALYSIS

4.0 Digital Learning Materials Data

 Assignments were collected to analyze the types of DLM instructors used with students.  Survey answers also revealed characteristics of DLM, and assignment artifacts were examined to provide rich descriptions of digital learning materials used by participants.

The data is analyzed whereby theory is discovered by the analysis of data rather than developing a hypothesis prior to data collection.  As Glaser (1992) suggests, theory developed from the data should be judged based upon fit, relevance, workability, and modifiability.

4.1 Demographic analysis. 

The majority of respondents were female (77.27%), while 18.18% were male, and 4.55% did not specify gender. 

Table 3: Frequencies: Gender

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Female
Male

Did not specify

59

14

  3

77.27
 18.18

   4.55

77.27

18.18

4.55

77.27

95.45

100.00

Total

76

100.00

100.00

100.00

 

In terms of age, 68.17% of respondents were in the 46–65 age bracket, 22.73% were in the 26–45 age bracket, 4.55% were in the 66–75 age bracket, and 4.55% declined to specify age. 

Table 4: Frequencies: Age

 

N

Minimum

Maximum

Median

Age

73

26

75

37

 

Program assignments of faculty respondents leaned toward the humanities, with 22.3% in Library Science, 13.0% instructing English, 9.2% in Education (Teacher Education), 4.0% each in Nursing, Reading Education, Government, Nutrition, and Occupational Therapy, 7.9% Business Administration and 27.6% did not specify a program.


Table 5: Frequencies: Program

Program

Frequency

 

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Library Science

17

22.3

22.3

 English

10

13.0

35.3

Teacher Education

7

9.2

44.5

Nursing

3

4.0

48.5

Reading Education

3

4.0

52.5

Government

3

4.0

56.5

Nutrition

3

4.0

60.5

Occupational Therapy

3

4.0

64.5

Business Administration

6

7.9

72.4

Did not specify

21

27.6

100.0

Total

76

100.0

100.0

 

With respect to respondents’ highest level of educational achievement, 50% had attained a PhD, 9.09% held an EdD, 13.64% held a Master’s degree, and 27.27% did not specify a level of education.  Broken down by sex, 52.94% of female respondents held a PhD, 11.76% held an EdD, and 17.64% held a Master’s degree, while 17.66% did not specify their education level.  Of the male respondents, 25% held a PhD, while 75% did not specify an education level.  In terms of faculty position held, 47.37% were full-time faculty members and 31.57% were adjunct faculty, while 21.06% did not specify a position.  Of the total full-time faculty members, 75% held a PhD, 16.66% held an EdD, and 8.33% held a Master’s degree.

 

Table 6: Frequencies: Level of Education

Level of Education

Frequency

Percent

Cumulative Percent

PhD

EdD

Master’s
Did Not Specify

38

7

10

21

50.00

9.09

13.64

27.27

50.00

59.09

72.73

100.00

Total

76

100.00

100.00

Table 7: Frequencies: Position

Position

Frequency

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Full Time Faculty

Adjunct Faculty

Did Not Specify

36

24

16

47.37

31.57

21.06

47.37

78.94

100.00

Total

76

100.00

100.00

 

As explained in the limitations for this study, the population of faculty for this study is about 75% female.  Further data from institutions with a more balanced gender profile is required in order to acquire any gender-based data of statistical significance.  Additionally, this study’s sample size is relatively small and slanted toward faculty who work within the humanities programs, reflective of the programs on offer at the University, with 50% being centered in the humanities.  Further study could include a breakdown of whether programs in differing areas are more or less likely to use digital media in online assignments.

 

4.2 Faculty use of digital learning materials analysis

With regard to frequency of use of digital media in online assignments, 36.36% of respondents used digital media every week, while 18.18% used a form of digital media in online assignments every day; 4.55% responded that they used digital media a couple of times a month, 4.55% responded “less often,” and 36.36% did not respond to this question.

The data neither suggest nor negate the possibility that frequency of digital materials use may differ between male and female instructors or among levels of education.  Further study should also consider whether types of programs affect frequency of use of digital media in online assignments.

In terms of the correlation between the ages of respondents and frequency of use, 75% of those who responded “every week” were in the 26–46 age bracket.  Perhaps surprisingly - particularly given stereotypes of technology use by “millennials” (Pew, 2010), those who answered “every day” were aged between 56 and 65.  Data on those who responded “a couple of times a month” or “less often” are limited, due to the small sample size, and therefore are not generalizable.

Amongst all respondents, use of video clips were the most popular form of media, with 59.09% using them, followed closely by PDF files and “Other” text documents, with 54.54% each.  PowerPoint was also popular, with 50% of all respondents using the program; 36.36% used images, while audio clips, e-journals, and blogs were used by 31.81%.  The least popular modes were applets, digital course packs, animations, and simulations.

Table 8: Responses indicating use of DLM in a recent assignment

Type of Digital Learning Material

Frequency indicating use of DLM in recent assignment

(Number =76)

Percent

PDF Files

36

47%

PowerPoint slides

33

43%

Text documents other than PDF including reference resources, materials from exhibits, digital documents

26

34%

Images including static photos, clip art, charts, etc.

24

32%

Video clips

39

51%

Audio clips

21

28%

Applets

3

4%

e-books

12

16%

e-journals

21

28%

Flash interactions

12

16%

Other multimedia interactions

9

12%

Simulations

3

4%

Animations

6

8%

Historical documents, maps, and primary sources

12

16%

Data, news/media, and governmental resources

18

24%

Blogs

21

28%

Digital Course packs

6

8%

Other

15

10%

 

 

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