DEHub/Research Themes/Innovation and change

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Research themes
1. Theories and models
2. Globalisation of education and cross-cultural aspects
3. Access, equity, social inclusion and ethics
4. Professional Development & Faculty Support
5. Learner support and development approaches
6. Curriculum design
7. Interaction and communication in learning communities
8. Distance teaching systems and institutions)
9. Research methods in distance education and knowledge transfer
10. Quality assurance
11. Innovation and change
12. Costs and benefits
13. Management and organization
14. Educational technology
15. Learner characteristics
16. Open Education Resources (OERs)

Innovation and change

Educational innovation and change, as a research issue, examines the impact that digital technology, changes in teaching and learning, sustainability, employment and rural economic development have on distance education provision, staff and students.

Guiding question

What innovations and changes to the learning landscape have impacted on distance learning organisations/higher education institutions? How do innovations and change contribute to the development of rural and regional economies?

Research questions

  • What is the uptake of digital learning tools with institutions/ staff/ students?
  • What impact does the proliferation of technologies have on teaching/learning strategies and tactics?
  • What are the key attributes of distance teaching/learning that contribute to improving on-campus teaching?
  • What influence does a blended model have on on-campus students / off-campus students?
  • Sustainable learning requires a different paradigm, what is it?
  • What impact does access to institutional education have on rural economic development?
  • What impact does access to on-job learning have to rural economic development?
  • What impact does mobile ‘employment’ have on need for distance learning?
  • What impact does access to distance learning have on personal mobility?
  • What use is being made of social networking tools by higher education institutions for marketing, communications, building social inclusion with staff/ with students/with alumni/ with potential students/with general community?

Highly Recommended Priority Links

The Horizon Report

Horizon Report, 2009 by The New Media Consortium. Quoting from the Executive summary:
The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations.

The Observatory on borderless higher education

Innovative Adoption of Web 2.0 Technologies: Emerging Policies, Practices & Strategies for University Leaders, May 2009 by Tom Franklin, Jill Armstrong - Franklin Consulting and York St John University. This report is only available for £350.00.

This report provides a review of the use of Web 2.0 technologies in five countries (Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States), together with the drivers that are encouraging and promoting the use of Web 2.0 in higher education (HE) (including policy and pedagogic), and inhibitors that are slowing down the uptake of it.

International Student Mobility: Status Report 2009, June 2009 by Veronica Lasanowski - The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. This report is only available for £350.00.

International student mobility is gradually changing directional flow, with the demands of a now global economy affecting more ‘traditional’ patterns of student movement across borders. The rapid growth of international student mobility is part of a larger context in which tertiary education in general is expanding and indeed, as more and more students access tertiary education, more and more students access it overseas. Interestingly however, as overseas student numbers increase, market shares are stabilising, and in some cases decreasing, partly as a result of a diversification of market players.

Additional Reports and Articles on borderless higher education are available form this link.

Research Online (University of Wollongong)

New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education 2009, 138p. By Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors). The 13 chapers to this book are:

  1. Introduction: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning
  2. Professional development: Faculty development for new technologies: Putting mobile learning in the hands of the teachers
  3. Adult education: Using a smartphone to create digital teaching episodes as resources in adult education
  4. Early childhood education: Digital story telling using iPods
  5. Environmental education: Using mobile phones to enhance teacher learning in environmental education
  6. Information technology education: Incorporating mobile technologies within constructivist-based curriculum resources
  7. Language and literacy education: Using iPods to capture professional dialogue between early career teachers to enrich reflective practice
  8. Mathematics education: Role of mobile digital technology in fostering the construction of pedagogical and content knowledge of mathematics
  9. Physical education: Using iPods to enhance the teaching of games in physical education
  10. Reflective practice: Collaborative gathering, evaluating and communicating ‘wisdom’ using iPods
  11. Science education: Using mobile phone cameras to capture images for slowmations: Student-generated science animations
  12. Visual arts education: Art on the move: Mobility – a way of life
  13. Design principles: Design principles for mobile learning.

Tony Bates (Tony’s Papers)

Transforming distance education through new technologies,2008 in Evans, T., Haughey, M., and Murphy, D. (eds.) The International Handbook of Distance Education Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Press. The Chapter is available in pdf from this site. In his conclusion Bates argues that:

Distance education is now struggling to keep up with technological change, and as a result risks losing its unique identity and function. Nevertheless, distance education has developed procedures and practices which are valuable in ensuring the appropriate use of technology in teaching, and it would be a tragedy if this knowledge and experience is lost because of failure by distance and conventional educators to learn from one another.

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides, Vol 10, No 5 (2009), by Andy Lane. can be argued that this new openness, characterised mainly through the open educational resources movement, may actually widen rather than bridge the digital and educational divides between groups, both within and across national boundaries, through the increasing sophistication in technologies and the competencies expected of learners. This paper reviews some of the evidence supporting these different areas of interest and attempts to provide a synthesis of them.

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

Cloudworks: Social networking for learning design, 2009, 25(5), 763-782 by Gráinne Conole and Juliette Culver, The Open University. The Abstract states:

Can we apply the best of Web 2.0 principles to an educational context? More specifically can we use this as a means of shifting teaching practice to a culture of sharing learning ideas and designs? This paper describes a new social networking site, Cloudworks, which aims to provide a mechanism for sharing, discussing and finding learning and teaching ideas and designs. We describe the development of the site and the key associated concepts, 'clouds' and 'cloudscapes'. We provide a summary of recent activities and plans for the future. We conclude by describing the underpinning theoretical perspectives we have drawn on in the development of the site and in particular the notion of 'social objects' in social networking and a framework for 'sociality' for transforming user practice online.


Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas is a website of e-Agriculture.

Through this site, you can locate a wide range of materials on the challenges that rural communities face in enhancing the benefits of mobile telephony, and look at examples of interesting initiatives and good outcomes from around the globe.

The parent site e-Agriculture describes its purpose as: emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture.


Assessing Faculty’s Technology Needs, EDUCAUSE Quarterly Magazine, Volume 32, Number 4, 2009 by Tena B. Crews, Jessica L. Miller, and Christine M. Brown. Quoting from the Conclusion this study by survey found that:

Participants in this survey described their biggest challenges for implementing technology as:

  • Time constraints for preparing new lectures that integrate technology, or learning new technology in order to implement it effectively
  • Lack of knowledge about new and available technologies
  • Lack of new and available technologies at the institution
  • Engaging students using technology

While some challenges lie in redefining the role of the faculty and the use of technology, other challenges may surface from inadequate training and support on behalf of the institution.

Dewey Goes Online: Virtual Teaming on Campus, EDUCAUSE Quarterly Magazine, Volume 32, Number 4, 2009 by Robert Ubell. The key ideas in this short article are:
  • John Dewey’s ideas on progressive education have become newly relevant with the advent of online learning.
  • Collaborative online learning is an important example of Dewey’s intellectual legacy.
  • Virtual teams move instructors off center stage while increasing their students’ — and their own — engagement.
  • Most campuses already have all the software required to support virtual teamwork.

Other sites to explore


OLDaily by Stephen Downes. The author describes OLDaily as:

OLDaily - short for Online Learning Daily - is my contribution to the growing world of email newsletters. You might ask, does the world need another online newsletter, especially in the field of online learning? My answer - obviously - is yes.

What makes OLDaily different from other email newsletters, then? Three things: content selection, value-add, and website support.

This an excellent site to stay abreast of what is the latest developments in online learning.'''

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology

Relative levels of eLearning readiness, applications and trainee requirements in Botswana’s Private Sector, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, V35(1) Winter, 2009 by Paul T. Nleya. Quoting from the Abstract:

The growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), globalization and the digital divide likewise, have together put new pressures on developing countries to accelerate their development to meet these demands. This paper reports the results of a survey that sought to assess levels of eLearning readiness, applications and trainee requirements in Botswana’s private sector. Such baseline data can inform policymakers and researchers and promote the transformation required of private sector companies to become learning organizations. The findings suggested that eLearning readiness (eReadiness) levels were moderate to low, and that archaic technology (i. e., overhead projection) was used by more than half of the private sector organizations for training (with far less than half using digital eLearning applications).

Orange Grove Text

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning: 2nd edition edited by Terry Anderson covers:

  • PART I: Role and Function of Theory in Online Education
  • PART II: Infrastructure and Support for Content Development
  • PART III: Design and Development of Online Courses
  • PART IV: Delivery, Quality Control, and Student Support of Online Courses

As can be see from the headings to the four Parts of the book these are all vitally relevant to Distance teaching systems and institutions in the 21C.

European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities (ESMU)

Benchmarking in European Higher Education (Phase 1: 2006-2008, Phase 2: 2008-2010). This project:

supports HEIs with benchmarking as a modern management tool to progress with institutional reforms, increased operational efficiency and the capacity for innovative changes in order to adapt to new challenges in their environment.

The site provides Online tools, a Practical guide and Guidelines.

AU Press

Practitioners as Innovators: Emergent Practice in Personal Mobile Teaching, Learning, Work, and Leisure, by AGNES KUKULSKA-HULME and JOHN PETTIT. This is chapter 7 from the Book Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training

edited by Mohamed Ally. Quoting from the Conclusion the author describes:

Our research confi rms than amongst the participants of this study, mobile devices have indeed become commonplace tools serving a wide array of purposes that include teaching and learning alongside work and leisure. The education practitioners in this sample come across as active and sometimes experimental individuals who are taking advantage of the capabilities of mobile devices to meet their own needs and the needs of their colleagues, clients, and students. document downloads/media provides articles from the Boston Review, BBC News, The Africa Journal, FALMER the Sussex University Alumni magazine and podcast interviews on economic development, mobile technology and projects in Africa.


This area of research is so expansive you will find many more related sites that can be found at the DE Hub Delicious site.