HBMeU professors win global innovation award
Abu Dhabi, November 12, 2013
UAE's Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has announced that a learning study published by two of its professors was honoured for Innovation and Best Practice at a global conference in China.
The 25th International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference was held recently at the Tianjin Open University in China.
Titled ‘Supporting Learning Through the Use of Self-Reflection Blogs: A Study of the Experience of Blended Learning Students in the UAE,’ the paper by assistant professor Dr Adrienne A Isakovic and associate professor Dr Allan McNaught was one of nine winners chosen from a highly competitive field of 169 entries, and was recognized under the ‘Impact’ category.
The paper will be published in ‘Open Praxis,’ a prestigious peer-reviewed journal on open access education. The educators also received a total cash prize of $2,000 during the awards ceremony on the opening day of the World Conference.
The paper discussed the increasing use of Web 2.0 technology in educational settings, especially in open and distant learning environments. While previous studies on the topic provided face value, they lacked evidence from practical classroom implementation that such technologies actually enhance the learning experiences, particularly from the student perspective.
This research was conducted over the course of one academic year with undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in a blended learning university located in the UAE to examine how the use of student-written blogs support student learning through their own eyes.
The blogs were introduced to the students to provide support in four distinct areas: as a medium for facilitating learning; as a medium for interactivity; as a medium for metacognitive thought and reflection; and as a learning tool. Students were required to publish weekly posts in their individual blogs while adhering to the guidelines.
Sources of data collection included observation and analysis of student blog contents and artifacts; teacher reflection; a short questionnaire to students; and follow-up focus groups. Results indicated that the use of blogs provided support in all four identified areas for the students, as well as in additional areas not expected by the instructor.
Dr Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor, said: “The honouring of Dr Adrienne Isakovic and Dr Allan McNaught will be an added-value to the university achievements as a leading proponent of technology and innovation particularly in the e-learning domain.
“This major distinction achieved by our professors is a source of great pride and concrete proof that we have the right people and practices in place to fulfill our vision of becoming an educational institution of choice in the region for technology-empowered education.”
Prizes were given in recognition of excellence under the seven themes of Massive Open Online Courses, Open Educational Resources and Intercultural Aspects, Learning Analytics, Mobile Learning, Impact, and Teaching Quality.
ICDE is the leading global membership organization for enhancing the quality of open, distance, flexible, and online education – including e-learning. – TradeArabia News Service