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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…

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.

Content available
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…

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

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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

Content available
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…

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

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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

Content available
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.

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

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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

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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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 November 2020

Khalida Nasreen and Muhammad Tanveer Afzal

The purpose of the study is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education regarding distance learning system in Pakistan.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education regarding distance learning system in Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method research design was used in this study. The population of the study was all the previous students of research work and all the teachers of these students working at MPhil and PhD level in AIOU in Pakistan. Stratified random sampling technique was used in this study. This study used the questionnaire and interview technique to collect data. Data of questionnaire was in numbers and data of interview was narrative. So it was the need of the study that a mixed-method approach, i.e. both quantitative and qualitative techniques should be used in this study.

Findings

The findings of the study show that AIOU has also strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education related to distance education like all the formal and distance universities of Pakistan and World. This study reflected that AIOU is a great blessing for those who cannot acquire their education regularly because of financial/family problems or they are job holders. But this study also described that at higher level students are facing a lot of problems especially there is a delay in research process and provision of no scholarships to students. The teachers have a low salary package than the other public universities of Pakistan and a lot of responsibilities to attend meetings, seminars, conferences and workshops. So they have less time for research work. And AIOU provides them fewer opportunities to go abroad for further studies or to attend conferences/seminars. This study recommended that there should be adopted such policies in AIOU that students could get their study materials, assignments duration, workshops schedule and degrees in time, the teachers of the concerned departments should allow to take more in numbers the students under their supervision, the pay package for the teachers working at MPhil and PhD level should be raised and the opportunities for the faculty members to go.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to analyze the higher education system especially the distance learning system in Pakistan.

Practical implications

This study has indicated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education which the AIOU is facing recently and the policymakers can develop plans/strategies to make better the distance learning system especially at higher level in Pakistan. This study can be helpful for the stakeholders who are interested in distance learning system. This study was conducted at higher level in the distance learning system but it can open the ways for the other researchers to conduct research in other disciplines related to distance education, i.e. at matric level, F.A/F.SC, B.Sc programs, Master level and M.Sc programs at AIOU.

Social implications

Through this study, it can be acknowledged how the AIOU is providing the opportunity of education to a large number of people in the society who cannot study regularly in the formal institutions especially those who are job holders, some financial problems and women who have some family problems and above one million people are benefitting from AIOU in Pakistan and world.

Originality/value

This study is original in this respect because the data has been collected from the participants, i.e. students and teachers of AIOU. And it has also great value because this is the first SWOT analysis which has been conducted in this university to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing AIOU at present time. This study can also become a base for the stakeholders', i.e. policymakers, administration and higher education depart. of Pakistan in developing strategies to improve and amend the distance learning system of Pakistan especially at higher level in AIOU.

Details

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 20 July 2005

Odin L. Jurkowski

Higher education, and in particular libraries, have changed significantly over the last decade due to the adoption of technological advancements such as the Internet and…

Abstract

Higher education, and in particular libraries, have changed significantly over the last decade due to the adoption of technological advancements such as the Internet and the World Wide Web. The multitude of ways patrons can interact with librarians and library resources has been only the latest step in a very long process which started with traditional snail mail and the phone. As educators, librarians have always been interested in using new tools to improve services. These services are increasingly being made available to patrons who do not physically enter a library building. This paper looks at what library services are currently being offered to students at a distance in order to better plan for the future.

Details

Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-338-9

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