1/ Aspects of my professional practice
I’m related to TELIC in two roles: as a teacher at CVO and as founder of zelfstudie.be
As a teacher
As a teacher I use different TELEs. We are obliged to use Moodle as LMS (giving access to courseware, tutorials, screencasts, enabling collaboration by forums and blogs, settung up assessment and communicating to students) and Webex in one specific group for distance learning.
I choose to use some WEB 2.0 tools in the classroom to increase collaboration or improve presentation: Facebook group, dropbox, etc. As a teacher I didn’t have the opportunity to choose the implemented TELEs Moodle and Webex. So doing research to the implementation is irrelevant. Doing research to the implementation of Dropbox and the Facebook group can be relevant to evaluate the user friendliness, satisfaction and pedagogical value.
As founder of zelfstudie.be
I developed Zelfstudie.be in 2000 and published all courseware on the site. Since 2006 people need to subscribe to courses (they aren’t open anymore) and for the moment the site has more than 17000 members. While subscribing, people can choose to get access to a course, when chosen with support of the author of the course. Zelfstudie.be is an own developed TELE in have the following responsibilities: developing the content, the functionality of the site, the marketing and giving support. Since june I chose to team-up with external authors and decided to outsource the development to my colleague, which changes my position to giving support and coordinating the authors and web developer. As founder of zelfstudie.be doing research is important to evaluate user friendliness, satisfaction and pedagogical value.
2/ Information and techniques and methods of research in my area of work
I always have been wondering which is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, so I did some research.
Qualitative versus Quantitative Research
Qualitative research is by definition exploratory. It happens in an early phase.
The objective is to gain understanding of underlaying reasons and motivations. Usually small number of non-respresentative cases are used. The data collection happens by unstructured or semi-structured techniques (in-depth interviews, group discussions, etc) – mainly verbal data than measurements. Data analysis is non-statistical (analyzed in an interpretative manner, subjective, impressionistic or even diagnostic). The findings are not conclusive and cannot be used to make generalizations. It can be used to develop an initial understanding and therefor qualitative research happens in the beginning stage of the implementation of innovation or change.
According to Acaemia.edu, there are 3 common methods of data collection:
- unstructured interviews
- focus groups
- participant observation
Laerd.com states that”Classic routes that you can follow include autoethnographies, case study research, ethnographies, grounded theory, narrative research and phenomenological research”.
Pros and cons: orau.gov
Qualitative research is conclusive. It happens in a late phase.
The objective is to generalize results of a sample to the population of interest and to measure the occurrence of different views and opinions. The data collection happens by structured techniques (questionnaires, telephone interviews, etc) to a randomly selected public. The data analysis is in form of tabs (numbers and statistics). The findings are conclusive. It can be used to recommend a final course of action.
According to laerd.com, there are 3 types of quantitative research:
Replication-based, data-driven and theory-driven dissertations.
Pros and cons: orau.gov
Figure 1 – Jarrett Library
The examples of ethnographic research in the Hollan et al paper drew my attention. Ethnographic research is also known as participant observation, in which the researcher lives within the setting and among the people he studies. provides richly detailed, descriptive portraits of other cultures, groups and institutions. Researchers gather data through participant observation, interviews and documents. A misconception is that ethnography needs to be associated with studies of exotic cultures. It can also applied in other settings, including for example studies of education. More specifically to study the use of TELEs in my class of unemployed web designers or seniors (+60 year olds).
Some important subjects for research
On school level:
- which courseware do already exist? Digital versions or not?
- which TELEs do exist? Free or not?
- what functionality is needed, on different stages (school board, administration, teacher, student, etc)?
- will TELEs attract new students (people on large distance, people who aren’t able to engage on one specific moment due to work, etc)?
On student level:
- is the TELE easy in use
- how well is the TELE implemented in the course (amount of usage)
- do TELEs improve the student’s results (grades)?
Tools versus methods
Build in tracking tool in Moodle, Eye tracking tool, Google doc to gather information, interview of some students
Tools used in Quantitative research:
Quantitative research starts with a testable hypothese (a theory can give a goal to be evaluated). Surveys (mail, street, telephone, internet surveys) and questionnaires are central tools in quantitative research. Focused and directed questions are asked at people. Demographics (data about age, sex, etc) provide more data to be used in an analysis. It creates a context. The data from suveys and questionnaires and demographic research is compiled and analyzed in a deductive, objective manner.
According to NSU, there are three rules for quantitative Research Questions:
- They Begin with “How”, “What”, or “Why” and can NEVER be answered by a simple Yes or No
- Specify the independent and dependent variables
- IF your questions deal with connections among multiple variables, you will again – use relate or compare – just as you did in the purpose statement
Methods for Qualitative methods:
Qualitative research uses three methods of data collection:
- interviewing: in-depth, one-on-one, focus-group
- artifact analysis: written text, objects
In the interviewing and observation part, the researcher is the “tool”. Gathering all data is subjective and value-laden.
Some guidelines of NSU:
- Ask only a few general questions [no Yes/No questions] to permit participants to share information with you
- Ask questions that are neutral exploratory language that does not convey conclusions you expect
- Design and write 2 question types: Central Questions and Sub-Questions
- Questions often change between the Concept Paper and Proposal Stage… This is a “living” document.
Central Question Guidelines
- Begin with “How” or “What”. Avoid “Why” [this is a quantitative term that implies cause and effect]
- List the central phenomenon you plan to explore
- Identify the participants and research site
Figure 2: Examples of qualitative research - excerpted from Creswell (2005)
3/ The wider educational context for the TELE
I focused on the effects of TELEs on learning here.
4/ Reflection on the design and impact of a TELE in your workplace, including techniques of evaluation and testing
- Search tool: google scholar and SHU Library
- Data gathering: google forms, surveymonkey
- Overall: endnote
- Bookmarking: diigo, scoop.it
- How can the use of a Facebook Group improve collaboration?
- How can we implement Moodle for enabling 100% distance learning (project Vschool)?
- What are the benefits for the students by implementing Dropbox into lessons?
- How can mobile learning be promoted at zelfstudie.be and which features need to be added?
My research would start with Qualitative research by one-on-one interview with 5 students.
Questions: -> how/what (avoid why!) – no yes/no questions - There should be 3-5 questions.
End with Quantitative research by questionnaire in a Google Doc or SurveyMonkey (I wrote a tutorial in Dutch).
Questions: -> what/how/why - no yes/no questions
Design and impact of dropbox in course Drupal Project?
Intro: 3 classes with students who already took the course (same course!, but without Dropbox). Assessment by practical thesis: developing a website.
testen via google doc van tevredenheid
resultaten die verbeteren, ruimere kennis (meten?)