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Home > Recent and Upcoming Events > Recent Events in the Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education (IROPINE)

Recent Events in the Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education (IROPINE)

Seminar on ‘Publication Trends in Open and Innovative Education Research’

A seminar on the trends in research publications in open and innovative education was given by Dr Billy Wong of the University Research Centre, OUHK, on 9 May 2016. In the seminar, Dr Wong first reviewed the global trend of increasing numbers of journals and articles, followed by an analysis of the publications in the field of open and innovative education during the past decade in areas such as keywords, affiliations, countries, authorship and citations. He highlighted the changes in research hotspots and publication practices, showing the emergence of topics such as mobile learning, massive open online courses and learning analytics which have gained considerable attention in recent years.

Dr Wong also discussed new developments in academic publishing, such as open access, new research metrics and reference databases, as well as their impact on open and innovative education research. For example, one notable development is the open movement, which has already involved many academic journals providing the choice of open access publishing. Another new development he considered is the advances in bibliometrics. Altmetrics, as an example, capture an author’s research impact based on indicators such as the number of downloads and number of times a publication has been mentioned on social media. Against this background, Dr Wong suggested ways of enhancing one’s research impact — (1) publish in an arena that can be easily searched and accessed; (2) promote your work on academic networks; and (3) monitor your work with various types of metrics.

Workshop on ‘Enhancing Computer-based Instruction in Higher Education with Applied Psychological Research and Theory’

IROPINE’s first workshop was given by Prof. Robert Tennyson from the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. An eminent scholar, Prof. Tennyson has been Editor-in-chief of Computers in Human Behavior, published by Elsevier, for 17 years in a row. In this workshop, he introduced the principles and theories of instructional psychology and technology as applied to higher education. The workshop was part of the Open and Innovative Education Week, during which events promoting the practice of, and research on, open education and innovations in education were held.

The roots of instructional theory can be traced to early efforts by educational psychologists, such as John Dewey and Edward Thorndike, to develop a connection between psychology and its practical application in educational settings. Using his own research on the linking model in instructional design and his experience in teaching online courses at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Tennyson explained the connection between the acquisition of knowledge and skills and the employment, elaboration and construction of knowledge, skills and strategies. He considered learner assessment to be critical in any instructional design. To put these psychological foundations into practice in designing a computer-enhanced course, workshop participants were guided by a worksheet and were asked to prepare an initial plan for possible use or extension of computer technology in a given course.

Distinguished Professor Lecture: The Story of ‘Open’

Open education has come a long way. Professor Alan Tait, Professor Emeritus of Distance Education and Development, and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the UK Open University, retraced the social and technological history of open education. On 8 July, in IROPINE’s inaugural Distinguished Professor Lecture, Professor Tait gave a presentation — entitled ‘The Story of “Open”’ – and raised questions and ideas about openness in education amid new tools, interfaces, cultures and paradigms of teaching and learning.

Openness has long been constructed and mediated by the social and material conditions that give the concept a more concrete shape. Prof. Tait used the examples of train travel and the telephone to illustrated how these developments brought about tremendous social change in Britain, and how new technology slowly but decisively revolutionized the idea of higher education. It was no coincidence that the University of London enrolled students from other parts of the British Empire and later the world by allowing them to take correspondence courses; and the UK Open University advanced the modern concept of open education. While many universities still use exclusivity as a measure of their quality, Prof. Tait argued for using inclusiveness instead.

Prof. Tait’s ‘Story of “Open”’ contained an anecdote about his parents who still felt uncomfortable with using the telephone many years after it had first become available for the general public — an apt story showing how times have changed. Indeed, he later discussed the impact of mobile phones on a new generation of learners, who have come to expect education to be even more open in the sense that learning should be flexible, low-cost and ubiquitous. The speaker pointed to other instances of ‘open’, such as open educational resources, open access publishing and massive open online courses (MOOCs). He challenged members of the audience to revisit the idea of ‘open’ in coming years and ask themselves — as open educators, open university administrators, and open education researchers — where to go from here as the phenomenon of ‘disembedding’ continues to take place at local, national and international levels. Prof. Tait concluded the lecture by stating his belief that open education will contribute to a future ’learning society’ in which education will be available to anyone who needs it as barriers to quality education are being gradually removed.

Dinner Talk – Developing a Research and Scholarship Profile for a Teaching-focused University

In addition to the Distinguished Professor Lecture, Prof. Tait also gave a dinner talk during the Open and Innovative Education Week about developing strategies for research and scholarship for a teaching-focused university. He began by discussing the relations between research and teaching, addressing issues such as whether a research priority improves or diminishes teaching. He then talked about various types of scholarships a university can include, and discussed how to set up criteria for scholarship which would be conducive to the university’s portfolio.



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