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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

Luis-Alberto Casado-Aranda, Sandra Sofia Caeiro, Jorge Trindade, Arminda Paço, David Lizcano Casas and Ana Landeta

Universities are continually transforming its structure and governance in response to the new social, environmental and economic challenges. Particularly, there has…

1030

Abstract

Purpose

Universities are continually transforming its structure and governance in response to the new social, environmental and economic challenges. Particularly, there has recently been a growing academic interest for measuring sustainable practices of higher education institutions (HEI) aiming to monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, as well as transform them into more sustainable organizations. More recent studies began to focus also on the sustainable performance of distance education Universities. So it became crucial to evaluate their sustainability practices through sustainability assessment tools with the aim of improving their sustainability performance and boosting their role as agents of academic, social and economic change. The purpose of this study is to assess and compare holistically sustainability implementation in two similar distance learning universities and to evaluate their advantages and disadvantages.

Design/methodology/approach

One of the most rigorous and internationally used sustainability assessment tools was used – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, to evaluate and compare sustainability implementation in two distance universities, one from Spain and another from Portugal: the Madrid Open University and Universidade Aberta. Indicators of both universities were compared and ways of improvement in both universities were widely discussed.

Findings

The results of this research show that there is a similar pattern in both universities. Both have low performance in campus operations and low levels of community participation but good performance in sustainability courses and programmes offer. The results of both institutions were compared and allowed a learning process for improvement.

Originality/value

This research hopes to contribute to the continuous research about the usefulness of sustainability assessment tools in particular when applied to distance universities at the time that offers new paths to carry out improved sustainable practices in crucial areas of interest such as research, administration, education and resource-saving. This research also highlights the value of distance learning universities and their ability to be more sustainable after the advent of COVID-19.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Aminudin Zuhairi, Maria Rowena Del Rosario Raymundo and Kamran Mir

Quality assurance (QA) in open and distance learning (ODL) has always become universal concerns of stakeholders. The quality of ODL has been confronted with challenges in…

24002

Abstract

Purpose

Quality assurance (QA) in open and distance learning (ODL) has always become universal concerns of stakeholders. The quality of ODL has been confronted with challenges in terms of the diversity of inputs, processes, the complex supply chain management of ODL and recent paradigm shift into online learning. Assuring the quality of ODL are daunting tasks at individual, institution and system levels. Completed before the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, this study aims to better understand the implementation of QA system in three Asian open universities (OUs), namely University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative method was employed involving analysis of documents of the three Asian OUs and focus group discussions and interviews with management and staff. Data collected were then analyzed to draw conclusions and possible recommendations.

Findings

Findings of this study presented good practices, challenges and rooms for improvement of the QA system in the three Asian OUs. Focusing on students and stakeholders in their QA effort, this study has revealed that quality begins with inner self and is multidimensional. QA is principally viewed as continuous improvement, as mechanism and assessment and as effort at exceeding expectations of students and stakeholders. The recent challenge for QA is to embrace a delicate process of ODL transformation into online digital system. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has further implications and challenged QA implementation in ODL in higher education into the next level of complexity.

Practical implications

This study revealed the diversities in how OUs met the societal needs of their respective stakeholders and addressed the challenges ahead for QA in ODL.

Originality/value

These findings were expected to enhance the understanding of the theory and practice of QA in ODL and to contribute to quality improvement of ODL programs.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 August 2020

Sharon Thabo Mampane

This chapter contextualizes futuristic learning in a distance education (DE) context for empowering and transforming students. Futuristic learning involves a continuous…

Abstract

This chapter contextualizes futuristic learning in a distance education (DE) context for empowering and transforming students. Futuristic learning involves a continuous progress to higher levels of critical and creative thinking in a collaborative environment of academic freedom. Futuristic learning encourages classroom engagement and learning to students to use modern and advanced approaches of teaching and learning. The skills acquired should facilitate students’ intellectual, social, and emotional development. Futuristic pedagogy advocates the acquisition of systematized knowledge and skills and encourages the idea of engaging analytical and practical skills during learning. The chapter describes a practice that provides educational opportunities to a large section of students who study alone most of the time but get the opportunity of learning at organized tutorial sessions. This teaching approach may be the most viable option to mobilize futuristic learning in South Africa. A descriptive research methodology employed literature analysis of documents using data extracted from secondary sources of information, which entailed peer reviewed journal articles and books published between 2000 and 2018. A key finding is that the traditional form of education should pave way for futuristic pedagogy to allow schools to respond to the learning needs of students. The significance of the study is that it will offer opportunities for the change in learning approach to organize how student engagement will be carried out in the future. Informed by this finding futuristic learning should be committed to the provision of quality education to all DE students.

Details

Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-473-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2021

Ahmad Samarji

Distance education (DE) is neither a new concept nor process. Learning through postal correspondence can be traced back to more than 150 years. The avenues of DE have…

Abstract

Distance education (DE) is neither a new concept nor process. Learning through postal correspondence can be traced back to more than 150 years. The avenues of DE have evolved from postal correspondence, videotaped lessons, electronic communications, to distance teaching higher education institutes. Up until the start of 2020, DE was an educational process of choice or preference. However, when WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020, DE was no longer an option but rather the only choice and educational avenue for the majority of the universities worldwide; Lebanon is no exception. This chapter considered the case study of DE at Phoenicia University, Lebanon, studying instructors’ attitudes and perceptions about some of the quality attributes of DE such as interactivity, inclusiveness, and immediacy prior to and after their first online semester. A mixed methods approach was adopted, where pre- and post-test surveys were administered with 54 instructors in Spring 2020. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 instructors toward the end of that semester. This study found that the participants held a more positive stance when it came to instructor immediacy following their first online semester. On the contrary, instructors’ attitudes and perceptions toward interactivity and inclusiveness did not significantly change between the pre- and post-test results, maintaining a less favorable stance of DE for these particular attributes in comparison to physical classroom education. The study concluded that overall, participants perceived DE as an efficient approach given the unprecedented crisis; nonetheless, the effectiveness of such an approach was challenged by many obstacles and limitations due to internet connection issues and the unreliable power infrastructure.

Details

New Student Literacies amid COVID-19: International Case Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-466-3

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2009

Maximus Gorky Sembiring, Yan Haryanto and Johanna BS. Pantow

Partnerships, public relations and institutional development at Universitas Terbuka UT (Indonesia Open University) are discussed in this paper. The discussion is aimed at…

1074

Abstract

Partnerships, public relations and institutional development at Universitas Terbuka UT (Indonesia Open University) are discussed in this paper. The discussion is aimed at elucidating the way of Universitas Terbuka pursuing its vision, i.e. to be one of center of excellence in distance higher education institutions in Asia by 2010 and the world by 2020. Short history, development and the future of higher education system in general are also described; specifically the development, role and contribution of distance higher education, run by Universitas Terbuka, in Indonesia. Partnerships are designed to be the way Universitas Terbuka improves its delivery and instructional processes. Public relations are aimed at constructing institutional image not only in the national level but also in regional and even in the global context. Institutional development is intended to be the systematic and comprehensive ways to adopt the turbulence as a result of rapid change internally and externally. Besides, historical development of Universitas Terbuka, which now has more than 482.000 active students registered at the four faculties, is also explicated in relations to the need of discussions of the importance of partnerships, public relations and institutional development. The discussion on partnerships will be more elaborated on how to empower the 37 regional centers, almost 3000 exam sites in 527 cities and more than 8000 study groups all over the country to initiate and maintain partnerships with local state and some selected private universities in the use of common resources. The argument on public relations will be developed on how the central and regional offices build the institutional image in association with maintaining current student body and pursuing larger prospective students. The discussion on institutional development will be expanded specifically on how to develop strategic and operational planning documents with respect to maintaining and assuring academic and administrative quality at Universitas Terbuka. The paper finally explains where partnerships, public relations and institutional development aspects are positioned in the strategic and operational planning of Universitas Terbuka within its three main focuses, i.e. the improvement of academic quality, the expansion of students participation and service points, and the enhancement of internal management comprehensively.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 March 2022

Clayton dos Santos Lima, Debora Londero Kieling, Lucas Veiga Ávila, Arminda Paço and Vinícius Costa da Silva Zonatto

The purpose of this paper is to analyse through a systematic literature review the evolution of the theme of environmental social and governance (ESG) in universities…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse through a systematic literature review the evolution of the theme of environmental social and governance (ESG) in universities, correlating variables and presenting a panorama for Latin American universities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a systematic literature review approach. The Web of Science database was used for data collection, and a set of keywords (Environmental, Social and Governance × Universities) and a classification method were used, resulting in 111 articles classified in the Zotero software. After classification, these publications were analysed in the VOSviewer software.

Findings

The main evidence about ESG and universities shows that its relevance has been growing worldwide with an emphasis on England, the USA, Spain, followed by Brazil in fourth place regarding the number of papers published worldwide. The most representative areas identified were governance, sustainability, higher education, sustainable campus, environmental science, ecology, science and technology. The journals presenting more published papers under the topic are International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Journal of Cleaner Production and Sustainability. As for the most relevant authors, the Europeans Lozano and Leal Filho, Velasquez from Mexico and Brandli from Brazil were identified. As for institutions, the University Durham, State University System of Florida and State University of Campinas do Brazil stand out.

Research limitations/implications

As the main limitation of the study is related to the sample of articles. This study is focused on the analysis of publications from the last decade, presenting only 111 results. However, this restriction in the timeline is justified as it is a new topic; this study was also limited to the use of a single database; in this sense, future research can carry out a more comprehensive review of the sustainability literature covering periods prior to a decade and an analysis in other databases.

Originality/value

These results provide a basis for improving sustainability in universities and ESG in Latin America. It also allows to explore and reflect on several indicators, enabling the evaluation and planning of actions to improve competitiveness.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 August 2020

Enakshi Sengupta, Patrick Blessinger and Mandla Makhanya

Educational pedagogy is concerned about student-centered learning that engages students and involves them in a meaningful manner to enhance critical thinking and…

Abstract

Educational pedagogy is concerned about student-centered learning that engages students and involves them in a meaningful manner to enhance critical thinking and creativity. Creative teaching and learning methods are a catalyst that can improve the learning experiences of students. Good teaching and the experience associated with it helps to connect students, faculty and the subject that is being taught to the students (Palmer, 2007). Many subjects till today are taught with a purely fact-based approach, and such traditional methods overlook the need to bring the subject to life and to make learning meaningful. Multi-dimensional methods are used to encourage students and convert them to successful learners with the ability to think creatively. The issue of student’s disconnectedness is a matter of much academic pursuit and using non-traditional methods such as plays, narratives and even humor are on the rise and have gained popularity due to their success in classroom teaching (Dunn, 2000). This book will help to highlight various case studies and interventions that have used innovative ways to improve the teaching-learning methods and engage students in the classroom. Academicians, through the chapters in this volume, have argued that education does not only mean teaching, learning and research but also the emotional connection and commitment that involves a dialogical process between the faculty and students. It is the responsibility of the faculty members to ultimately create an environment that provides the students with tools that are socially engaging, interactive and meaningful (Dunn, 2000).

Details

Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-473-6

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 September 2018

Buddhini Gayathri Jayatilleke, Gaya R. Ranawaka, Chamali Wijesekera and Malinda C.B. Kumarasinha

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development and testing of an innovative mobile application using design-based research.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development and testing of an innovative mobile application using design-based research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports on the process of transformation of existing printed course material into digitized content through design-based research where design, research and practice were concurrently applied through several iterations of the mobile application. For this transformation, one session each from BSc in Nursing, Bachelor of Pharmacy and Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences was selected. In the first phase of the design-based research, the main research question was formulated. In the second phase, a mobile learning application (OUSL MLearn) was designed and developed to address the research question. In the third phase, this application was evaluated by five groups of stakeholders: content experts to validate the content; educational technologists to check the alignment of technical and pedagogical features; novice users to check the overall effectiveness of the application; developer to develop the application, to check the ease of usage; and researchers to identify the impact of this innovation. These stakeholders were closely involved throughout the whole process which lasted over a period of four months. At the end of this development phase, the results were reflected upon and used for further enrichment.

Findings

It was observed that the developed mobile application was accessible, appealing and pedagogically constructive for users. However, optimization, development time, technical and organizational issues, workload of academics and production costs were identified as major challenges.

Research limitations/implications

This study was based on the findings of a small sample of potential users.

Practical implications

The findings have implications for designing culturally adaptive interactive mobile applications.

Originality/value

This study will benefit practitioners to design culturally sensitive mobile learning courses and researchers to conduct design-based research.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2414-6994

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 28 August 2020

Abstract

Details

Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-473-6

Article
Publication date: 9 August 2021

Wondwosen Tamrat

This study aims to assess the extent to which sustainable development practices are prevalent at the College of Open and Distance Learning (CODL), St. Mary’s University…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to assess the extent to which sustainable development practices are prevalent at the College of Open and Distance Learning (CODL), St. Mary’s University, Ethiopia. The assessment focused on identifying the college’s inclusion of the sustainable development agenda in its policy statements, various functions and practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed-method approach and used a case study in its design. Data were generated from a standard survey questionnaire, adopted from the unit-based sustainability assessment tool (Togo and Lotz-Sisitka, 2009), a semi-structured interview and documentary evidence.

Findings

The findings revealed that CODL has limited involvement in sustainability issues despite relevant policy directions set at national and institutional levels. Current engagement patterns are limited to teaching, course provision and a few areas of operations and management while a serious gap has been noted as regard the two core functional areas of research and community service which happen to be neglected.

Research limitations/implications

This study was based on a single CODL, albeit an institution with a long history of offering distance education in Ethiopia. Despite its contribution to an understanding of how sustainability issues are addressed in the context of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, the generalizability of the findings to other similar institutions is limited.

Originality/value

There is very little research in Africa as regard the involvement of higher education institutions in promoting the issues of sustainability in general and distance education providers in particular. In addition to addressing this gap, the study suggests the need for distance education institutions to improve their mapping strategies and respond to the greater concerns of sustainable development.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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