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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2009

James O. Uhomoibhi

The purpose of this paper is to report on the Bologna Process in the light of globalisation and examine how it affects curriculum and engineering education developments.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on the Bologna Process in the light of globalisation and examine how it affects curriculum and engineering education developments.

Design/methodology/approach

The growing need for creative competitiveness and the striving for specific profiles of engineering qualifications that are of high quality whilst taking account of diversity, transparency have resulted in the declaration of the Bologna Process. The qualifications framework proposed involving the cycle systems are examined taking account of globalization, quality assurance, management and diversity of needs. The future opportunities are explored taking account of global expectations.

Findings

The present research reveals that the Bologna Process provides a means through which higher education institutions (HEIs) can be encouraged to provide more attractive curricula for the younger generation for differing cultures whilst catering for the broad range of engineering fields where they could become more active later. The point is made that it serves to re‐invent engineering to meet the needs of the twenty‐first century.

Research limitations/implications

The present investigation focuses on the Bologna Process and its implications on engineering education in Europe. Future work hopes to extend this to other disciplines and to examine global effects in diverse cultures and also from gender, economic and development perspectives.

Practical implications

This paper could provoke HEIs outside Europe to evaluating their policies, revise strategies and moderate existing provisions, thereby assessing impact of the Bologna Process on engineering education in different countries and cultures.

Originality/value

Account is taken of the diversity and transparency which have resulted in the declaration of the Bologna Process. The paper discusses and reports on developments, prospects and challenges faced in the engineering curriculum provision following the introduction of the Bologna Process in the culturally diverse European higher education area. The new field of process systems engineering is also reported.

Details

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-497X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

James O. Uhomoibhi

Aims to examine trends in the development of e‐learning in Northern Ireland, report on existing policies, practices and issues affecting its implementation across the sectors.

Abstract

Purpose

Aims to examine trends in the development of e‐learning in Northern Ireland, report on existing policies, practices and issues affecting its implementation across the sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study draws on e‐learning policies and strategies that have been developed for Northern Ireland. Examples were drawn from case studies in schools and institutions and analyzed. Resulting knowledge and technology transfer across the sectors were evaluated.

Findings

E‐learning and the use of ICT is playing key role in shaping teaching and learning in Northern Ireland. Its implementation is providing innovative and creative ways for knowledge and technology transfer. It is facilitating the establishment of a skilled community and workforce for a knowledge society. Associated with the positive changes and opportunities of the technological capabilities are some challenges and risks, some of which involve reaction of individuals and organizations to changes and dealing with the problem of increasing digital divide.

Practical implications

This paper critically evaluates some of the benefits of e‐learning in a society experiencing significant changes and assesses its potential in addressing the growing digital divide.

Originality/value

Highlights recent advances in e‐learning in the higher and further education sectors in the region and addresses some of the implications for the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2019

James Uhomoibhi, Clement Onime and Hui Wang

The purpose of this paper is to report on developments and applications of mixed reality cubicles and their impacts on learning in higher education. This paper…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on developments and applications of mixed reality cubicles and their impacts on learning in higher education. This paper investigates and presents the cost effective application of augmented reality (AR) as a mixed reality technology via or to mobile devices such as head-mounted devices, smart phones and tablets. Discuss the development of mixed reality applications for mobile (smartphones and tablets) devices leading up to the implementation of a mixed reality cubicle for immersive three dimensional (3D) visualizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach adopted was to limit the considerations to the application of AR via mobile platforms including head-mounted devices with focus on smartphones and tablets, which contain basic feedback–to-user channels such as speakers and display screens. An AR visualization cubicle was jointly developed and applied by three collaborating institutions. The markers, acting as placeholders acts as identifiable reference points for objects being inserted in the mixed reality world. Hundreds of participants comprising academics and students from seven different countries took part in the studies and gave feedback on impact on their learning experience.

Findings

Results from current study show less than 30 percent had used mixed reality environments. This is lower than expected. About 70 percent of participants were first time users of mixed reality technologies. This indicates a relatively low use of mixed reality technologies in education. This is consistent with research findings reported that educational use and research on AR is still not common despite their categorization as emerging technologies with great promise for educational use.

Research limitations/implications

Current research has focused mainly on cubicles which provides immersive experience if used with head-mounted devices (goggles and smartphones), that are limited by their display/screen sizes. There are some issues with limited battery lifetime for energy to function, hence the need to use rechargeable batteries. Also, the standard dimension of cubicles does not allow for group visualizations. The current cubicle has limitations associated with complex gestures and movements involving two hands, as one hand are currently needed for holding the mobile phone.

Practical implications

The use of mixed reality cubicles would allow and enhance information visualization for big data in real time and without restrictions. There is potential to have this extended for use in exploring and studying otherwise inaccessible locations such as sea beds and underground caves. Social implications – Following on from this study further work could be done to developing and application of mixed reality cubicles that would impact businesses, health and entertainment.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies in the unique approach used in the study of developments and applications of mixed reality cubicles and their impacts on learning. The diverse composition in nature and location of participants drawn from many countries comprising of both tutors and students adds value to the present study. The value of this research include amongst others, the useful results obtained and scope for developments in the future.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 37 no. 1-2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article
Publication date: 30 April 2021

Daniel F.O. Onah, Elaine L.L. Pang, Jane E. Sinclair and James Uhomoibhi

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have received wide publicity and many institutions have invested considerable effort in developing, promoting and delivering such…

Abstract

Purpose

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have received wide publicity and many institutions have invested considerable effort in developing, promoting and delivering such courses. However, there are still many unresolved questions relating to MOOCs and their effectiveness in a blended-learning context. One of the major recurring issues raised in both academic literature and in the press about MOOCs is the consistently high dropout rate of MOOC learners.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, we applied mixed methods as an exploratory case study, which prioritised the quantitative and qualitative approaches for the data collection processes. The data were collected using a MOOC Online Self-regulated Learning Questionnaire (MOSLQ) adapted and created from an existing measuring instrument. The quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version 22) tool to conduct descriptive analysis. The qualitative results obtained from the transcribed focus group interviews in this study revealed the various behavioural patterns of how undergraduate students self-directed their learning. This focus group interview was conducted to reveal the various ways students organised and strategised their learning patterns in order to derive satisfaction in their distinctive learning behaviours and encourage motivation within their study approaches. Quantitative data collected online included a 30 items survey of which 17 respondents completed the survey items in the blended-learning study. The online course survey included 19 items of which data were gathered from 11 respondents.

Findings

Across the data, it is noticeable and clear that time management and goal setting were among the dimensions that are highly rated close to high level among SRL skills investigated in this study. We found that goal setting and task strategies predicted much better attainment of individuals controlling personal course goals, while help seeking was associated with lower goal attainment among majority of the participants.

Research limitations/implications

The study also identified several challenges. For example, there were some challenges in learners completing the survey questions even when several reminders were sent out forth nightly. At this preliminary stage, learners participated as lurkers without engaging fully with other non-academic and academic interactive activities such as surveys, in course quizzes and forums. Most of the participants in this course said they enrolled to know more about the new trend MOOC, to make friends, to have fun and so on. Although, these are some of their intentions for participating, some of the participants at some points contributed to discussion forums.

Practical implications

Our platform currently allows learners to direct their learning within the course and also allow the choice of content prerequisite in order to recommend resources necessary for their learning. This study indicates the necessity to support SRL skills and directing development of self-determination skills among the participants. This study when applied to a larger sample will demonstrate effective measurement on areas of reliability and validity as results from this small sample has indicated some high SRL skill levels for individual learners within the research.

Social implications

However, the success of any e-learning or MOOC platform should consider the following best practices and objectives: the learners' entire learning experience, the strategies used in developing the course content, the planning of the course delivery and the methods of delivery. Therefore, all e-learning platforms should be designed with a primary focus on the way students learn to improve their own learning skills and help them regulate their own independent learning habits. In another related study, the success of any e-learning course implementation should be carefully considered with regards to the course's underlying pedagogy and how learners engage with the content.

Originality/value

There are many e-learning platforms in existence globally, but little has been mentioned about the development of a MOOC platform in general that could allow independent learning and also adequately demonstrating the components and features used in these MOOC designs. This research's implication is to aid instructional designers to apply best practices in the development of an online course. The best approach in designing a good course is to consider the learners and how they could engage with the course resources independently and develop the ability to self-direct their learning. One of the main goals of e-learning platforms is primarily based on developing learning resources that would be suitable for linear course structure as directed by the course developer or instructor.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2021

Paul Joseph-Richard, James Uhomoibhi and Andrew Jaffrey

The aims of this study are to examine affective responses of university students when viewing their own predictive learning analytics (PLA) dashboards, and to analyse how…

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of this study are to examine affective responses of university students when viewing their own predictive learning analytics (PLA) dashboards, and to analyse how those responses are perceived to affect their self-regulated learning behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 42 Northern Irish students were shown their own predicted status of academic achievement on a dashboard. A list of emotions along with definitions was provided and the respondents were instructed to verbalise them during the experience. Post-hoc walk-through conversations with participants further clarified their responses. Content analysis methods were used to categorise response patterns.

Findings

There is a significant variation in ways students respond to the predictions: they were curious and motivated, comforted and sceptical, confused and fearful and not interested and doubting the accuracy of predictions. The authors show that not all PLA-triggered affective states motivate students to act in desirable and productive ways.

Research limitations/implications

This small-scale exploratory study was conducted in one higher education institution with a relatively small sample of students in one discipline. In addition to the many different categories of students included in the study, specific efforts were made to include “at-risk” students. However, none responded. A larger sample from a multi-disciplinary background that includes those who are categorised as “at-risk” could further enhance the understanding.

Practical implications

The authors provide mixed evidence for students' openness to learn from predictive learning analytics scores. The implications of our study are not straightforward, except to proceed with caution, valuing benefits while ensuring that students' emotional well-being is protected through a mindful implementation of PLA systems.

Social implications

Understanding students' affect responses contributes to the quality of student support in higher education institutions. In the current era on online learning and increasing adaptation to living and learning online, the findings allow for the development of appropriate strategies for implementing affect-aware predictive learning analytics (PLA) systems.

Originality/value

The current study is unique in its research context, and in its examination of immediate affective states experienced by students who viewed their predicted scores, based on their own dynamic learning data, in their home institution. It brings out the complexities involved in implementing student-facing PLA dashboards in higher education institutions.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2020

Clement Onime, James Uhomoibhi, Hui Wang and Mattia Santachiara

This paper presents a reclassification of markers for mixed reality environments that is also applicable to the use of markers in robot navigation systems and 3D…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents a reclassification of markers for mixed reality environments that is also applicable to the use of markers in robot navigation systems and 3D modelling. In the case of Augmented Reality (AR) mixed reality environments, markers are used to integrate computer generated (virtual) objects into a predominantly real world, while in Augmented Virtuality (AV) mixed reality environments, the goal is to integrate real objects into a predominantly virtual (computer generated) world. Apart from AR/AV classifications, mixed reality environments have also been classified by reality; output technology/display devices; immersiveness as well as by visibility of markers.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach adopted consists of presenting six existing classifications of mixed reality environments and then extending them to define new categories of abstract, blended, virtual augmented, active and smart markers. This is supported with results/examples taken from the joint Mixed Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (MAVRLAB) of the Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland; the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy and Santasco SrL, Regio Emilia/Milan, Italy.

Findings

Existing classification of markers and mixed reality environments are mainly binary in nature and do not adequately capture the contextual relationship between markers and their use and application. The reclassification of markers into abstract, blended and virtual categories captures the context for simple use and applications while the categories of augmented, active and smart markers captures the relationship for enhanced or more complex use of markers. The new classifications are capable of improving the definitions of existing simple marker and markerless mixed reality environments as well as supporting more complex features within mixed reality environments such as co-location of objects, advanced interactivity, personalised user experience.

Research limitations/implications

It is thought that applications and devices in mixed reality environments when properly developed and deployed enhances the real environment by making invisible information visible to the user. The current work only marginally covers the use of internet of things (IoT) devices in mixed reality environments as well as potential implications for robot navigation systems and 3D modelling.

Practical implications

The use of these reclassifications enables researchers, developers and users of mixed reality environments to select and make informed decisions on best tools and environment for their respective application, while conveying information with additional clarity and accuracy. The development and application of more complex markers would contribute in no small measure to attaining greater advancements in extending current knowledge and developing applications to positively impact entertainment, business and health while minimizing costs and maximizing benefits.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies in the approach adopted in reclassifying markers. This is supported with results and work carried out at the MAV Reality Laboratory of Ulster University, Belfast–UK, the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste-Italy and Santasco SrL, Regio Emilia, Milan–Italy. The value of present research lies in the definitions of new categories as well as the discussions of how they improve mixed reality environments and application especially in the health and education sectors.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

Damasen I. Paul and James Uhomoibhi

The purpose of this paper is to systematically examine and draw attention to the potential benefits of solar power generation for access to and use of information and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically examine and draw attention to the potential benefits of solar power generation for access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) aimed at sustainable development in emerging economies.

Design/methodology/approach

Electricity plays a crucial role in the development and use of ICT and in the process of striving to achieve sustainable development in emerging economies. It has been shown that electrical energy is intrinsically linked to economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development. An extensive analysis of the major contribution of solar electricity in various sectors such as economic, social and environmental benefits is provided. The paper concludes with a discussion on current status of solar electricity in major emerging economies, their planning policies and strategies for promoting solar power generation for increased access to ICT by people and sustainable development of society.

Findings

The demand for electricity in residential, commercial and industrial sectors in developing countries (emerging economies) is likely to increase, both as a result of increase in population and expanding industrialization. It remains amongst others, a growing challenge for these nations to obtain and put in place reliable and secured electricity supplies, for accessing ICT and to work towards achieving sustainability. The important issues that must be considered and addressed for the successful implementation of solar electricity programs for sustainability and wellbeing in developing nations are pointed out.Practical implications – The paper shows that the problems of lack of qualified solar technicians and established Photovoltaic (PV) markets and business modes, renewable (solar) energy education have to be addressed. Other issues include appreciation of solar electricity as one of the major energy component, lowering initial cost of the PV technology, availability of finance mechanisms for customers, import tax exemption and regarding electricity as one of the basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Overhaul of existing systems needs to take place in order to provide the means to deal with some of these issues.

Originality/value

Availability of power remains crucial for development in emerging markets. Solar electricity is of major interest for the energy sector in developing or emerging economies because it offers the possibility of generating renewable electricity using sunlight – a resource that is widely and freely available in most, if not all, developing countries. This paper raises awareness about this in a unique way and identifies problems faced by the sectors. To address some of these challenges without compromising the goal of sustainability and development, it is important that low carbon emitting electrical energy sources such as solar electricity are given high priorities by policy makers, industries and research and development institutions in emerging countries. Some innovative suggestions are provided for achieving this.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2011

William Morton and James Uhomoibhi

This paper aims to report on the design and implementation of an e‐laboratory for enhanced science, technology and engineering education studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on the design and implementation of an e‐laboratory for enhanced science, technology and engineering education studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper assesses a computer‐based e‐laboratory, designed for new entrants to science, technology and engineering programmes of study in further and higher education to enable them complete proper “hands‐on” (not simulation) laboratory experiments off‐campus and also in virtual learning environments accessible remotely. The development of such a laboratory was in response to the inherent inability of web‐based learning environments to duplicate, off‐campus, the laboratory facilities and availability on‐campus. The measurement of effectiveness relates to whether a laboratory task can be accurately and completely achieved. Common parameters included percentage task completion, error rate and assistance required. Operations under different conditions were studied and observations made from comparison on implementations.

Findings

E‐laboratories were found to be more student‐centred with learners taking responsibility for their own learning.. The face‐to‐face pre‐computer scenario learners had a very low completion rate, a high error rate and required constant assistance. The computer‐based scenario resulted in a high completion rate, low error rate and a significant reduction in learner supervision.

Research limitations/implications

The technical constraints imposed by present online environments, the resulting impact on specific learning styles, and possible solutions to overcome these limitations are discussed.

Practical implications

Both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews established a positive impact on student learning, thus justifying development of similar systems. More research and applications could follow as this has the potential to impact positively on development and use of e‐labs for enhanced science, technology and engineering studies in terms of costs, time and space requirements.

Originality/value

The recent interest and advances in the development of remote and virtual labs has shown that students of today, who are digital natives, especially those in the fields of science, technology and engineering, find the use of e‐laboratories very useful in enhancing their studies, encouraging them to use familiar technologies to access and do experiments either remotely or virtually online, thereby enhancing their learning. The approach adopted is unique and original, blending both virtual and hands‐on approach to experimental studies.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

K. Aleksic‐Maslac and M. Magzan

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in building social capital and human capacity, in terms of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in building social capital and human capacity, in terms of knowledge sharing, targeted training and developing education initiatives in higher education institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The critical organizational form in the information age is networking. This new organizational principle is manifested through the processes of internationalization and global academic cooperation, which have become inevitable strategies for every higher education institution in order to be competitive in a global education market. The focus of this paper is on such positive practices implemented at Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM). Since its foundation in 2002, a systematic use of new technologies in education has been encouraged, which in turn has provided the basis for major advances in development. Today ZSEM has around 1,400 students and about 150 courses with an integrated e‐learning system, while currently 7 per cent of students take part in various types of international exchange.

Findings

The effective use of ICT, such as synchronous and asynchronous methods of distance learning, enables higher education institutions to reach out students, teachers and researchers in foreign countries without physically moving them. Besides improving communication and exchange of information followed by opportunities for cross‐cultural learning, effective ICT implementation enables expansion of social and economic networks and strengthens institutional and academic ties by thus building social capital. Availability and use of new technologies in education process is closely linked with globalization of education markets and student and professor mobility.Research limitations/implications – The current work has involved one institution utilizing a wide range of courses. Implications are that the approach could be positively transferred and used with other institutions and across countries.

Originality/value

This work is one of the few that has examined ICT as a tool from the perspective of its application for building social capital in higher education. The work presented investigates in‐depth this provision in a specific institution.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Damasen Ikwaba Paul and James Uhomoibhi

The purpose of this paper is to examine and discuss, in-depth, how solar electricity can be developed and used to tackle grid electricity-related problems in African…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and discuss, in-depth, how solar electricity can be developed and used to tackle grid electricity-related problems in African countries suffering from unreliable and inadequate grid electricity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses in depth the current status of grid electricity in Africa continent and suggested solar electricity as an alternative cost-effective method to the existing grid electricity problem in remote areas. An extensive analysis of the major contribution of solar electricity in various sectors such as economic, health, communication, social and environmental benefits is provided. The paper concludes with a discussion on how solar power generation can be developed.

Findings

The paper shows that in developed countries where ICT has been applied extensively, ICT offers increased opportunities for sustainable economic development and plays a critical role in rapid economic growth, productive capacity improvements, education, government, agriculture and international competitiveness enhancement. The paper has pointed out that ICT has yet to make significant impact in most African countries due to lack of reliable and adequate electricity. Solar electricity has been seen as the most cost-effective way of generating electricity, especially in remote rural areas, for ICT devices. For the widespread of solar power generation in Africa, various strategies have been identified which include training of qualified solar engineers and technicians, establishing PV markets and business modes, introduction of solar energy education in schools and universities, political leaders appreciating solar electricity as one of the major energy component, lowering initial cost of the PV technology, availability of finance mechanisms for rural communities, import tax exemption and African countries regarding rural electricity as one of the basic needs.

Practical implications

The paper shows that the problems of lack of qualified solar technicians and established PV markets and business modes (especially in remote areas), lack of solar energy education in schools have to be addressed before the benefits of ICT in Africa can be seen. Other issues include African countries appreciating solar electricity as one of the major energy component, lowering initial cost of the PV technology, availability of finance mechanisms for customers, import tax exemption and African countries regarding rural electricity as one of the basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Overhaul of existing systems needs to take place in order to provide the means to deal with some of these issues.

Originality/value

Availability of reliable electrical energy remains crucial for development of ICT in rural African countries. Solar electricity is clearly one of the most promising prospects to the grid electricity problem in African countries because most African countries lie in the sunshine belt. The paper raises awareness about this in a unique way and suggests some novel measures about increasing the availability of solar systems for solar power generation. It is anticipated that the increases in solar power generation, especially in remote areas, will increase the use and application of ICT in various sectors.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

Keywords

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