The SAGE Handbook of E-Learning Research


Edited by: Richard Andrews & Caroline Haythornthwaite

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    The SAGE Handbook of e-Learning Research provides a state-of-the-art, in-depth account of research in the rapidly expanding field of e-learning. The first of its kind, it provides reviews of over 20 areas in e-learning research by experts in the field, and provides a critical account of the best work to date. The contributors cover the basics of the discipline, as well as new theoretical perspectives.

    Areas of research covered by the Handbook include:

    • Contexts for researching e-learning
    • Theory and policy
    • Language and literacy
    • Design issues
    • History of the field

    The editors' introduction and many of the chapters show how multiple aspects of e-learning interact. The introduction also provides a new model for researching the field. This book is relevant for everyone in higher education, from undergraduate to faculty, as well as university administrators involved in providing e-learning. It will provide a research background for higher education, including universities, training colleges, and community colleges. It will also be relevant to those involved in any research and developmental aspect of e-learning – corporate trainers and those involved in online programs at secondary school or in virtual high schools.

    Whether you are a lecturer, researcher, or program designer, this is an essential read.

    List of Contributors

    Richard Andrews is Professor in English at the Institute of Education, University of London and Visiting Professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, Culture and Human Development. He has edited Narrative and Argument (1991), Learning to Argue in Higher Education with Sally Mitchell (2000) and The Impact of ICT on Literacy Education (2004), as well as bestselling editions of Hamlet (with Rex Gibson) and The Comedy of Errors for the Cambridge School Shakespeare. His work in e-learning has included co-directing a series of systematic research reviews on the impact of ICT on literacy learning for the EPPI-Centre (Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre), part of the UK government's drive to develop the research evidence base for education. He is a member of the expert group for the OECD-CERI project ‘New Millennium Learners’ which first met in Florence at INDIRE in 2007.

    Sasha Barab is an Associate Professor in Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems Technology and Cognitive Science at Indiana University. He holds the Barbara Jacobs Chair of Education and Technology, and is Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Technology. His research has resulted in dozens of peer-reviewed articles, chapters in edited books, and he is editor of the book Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning (2004). His current work involves the design of rich learning environments, frequently with the aid of technology, that are designed to assist children in developing their sense of purpose as individuals, as members of their communities, and as knowledgeable citizens of the world.

    Janina Brutt-Griffler is Associate Professor of Foreign and Second Language Acquisition and Director of Polish Studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Prior to taking up her current position, she taught on the graduate faculty at the University of York, England. She has published widely in the area of bilingualism, sociolinguistics, and second language learning. Her current research programme examines the extent to which language curricula address the development of advanced levels of foreign/second language competence and how technology aids it. She is the author of World English: A Study of its Development (2002), winner of the Modern Language Association's 2004 Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize. Her other recent publications include English and Ethnicity (2002) and Bilingualism and Language Pedagogy (2004).

    Andrew Burn is Reader in Education and New Media in the School of Culture, Language and Communication and the London Knowledge Lab at the Institute of Education, University of London, and Associate Director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media. He has published work on many aspects of the media, including the use of horror films in schools, young people's production work with digital equipment, the semiotics of computer games, and the multimodal nature of media texts. He is especially interested in the use of digital video: he has pioneered work in schools with non-linear editing software and computer animation, and continues to be involved in the development of innovation in this area. He has previously taught English, drama and media studies in comprehensive schools for over twenty years. He has been a Head of English and was Assistant Principal at his last school, Parkside Community College in Cambridge, the first specialist Media Arts College in the country.

    Carol A. Chapelle, Professor of TESL/applied linguistics, is Vice-president of the American Association of Applied Linguistics. Her research explores issues at the intersection of computer technology and applied linguistics. Recent books are Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition: Foundations for Teaching, Testing, and Research (2001) and English Language Learning and Technology: Lectures on Applied Linguistics in the Age of Information and Communication Technology (2003). Recent books focus on language assessment and research methods: Assessing Language through Technology (with Dan Douglas, 2006), Inference and Generalizability in Applied Linguistics (with Micheline Chalhoub-Deville and Patricia Duff, editors, 2006), ESOL Tests and Testing: A Resource for Teachers and Administrators (with Stephen Stoynoff, 2005). She is former editor of TESOL Quarterly (1999–2004), and her papers have appeared in journals such as TESOL Quarterly, Language Learning, Language Testing, and Language Learning and Technology. She teaches courses in applied linguistics at Iowa State University and has taught in Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Spain, and Canada. She has lectured at conferences in Chile, Denmark, England France, Japan, Morocco, Scotland Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan.

    Gráinne Conole is Professor of E-learning in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University. Previously she was Professor of Educational Innovation in Post-compulsory Education at the University of Southampton. She has research interests in the use, integration and evaluation of information and communication technologies and e-learning and their impact on organizational change. She serves on and chairs a number of national and international advisory boards, steering groups, committees and international conference programmes. She has research, development and project management experience across the educational and technical domains; funding sources have included HEFCE, ESRC, EU and commercial sponsors. She has published and presented over 200 conference proceedings, workshops and articles, including over fifty journal publications on a range of topics, including the use and evaluation of learning technologies, and is editor of the Association of Learning Technologies journal, ALT-J.

    Susan J. Doubler is co-leader of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC (an educational research and development center for K-12 mathematics and science learning) and Associate Professor of Science Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the Fulcrum Leadership Institute, a Math and Science Partnership with Tufts University funded by the US National Science Foundation. She led the development and implementation of a fully online master's programme in science education for K-8 teachers. Her work focuses on the interface of science education, teacher professional development and technology with the aim of improving inquiry-based science learning. Before going to TERC and Lesley University she was an instructional specialist and teacher in the Winchester, Massachusetts Schools.

    Leigh S. Estabrook is Professor of Library and Information Science and of Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also directs the Library Research Center. Her research on educational policy began in the 1970s with a study of the impact of school desegregation on parents' attitudes toward schools. Her experience with educational policy, particularly as it applies to e-learning, included fifteen years as dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (1986–2001). She is a past president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education and the recipient of the American Library Association Beta Phi Mu Award.

    Linda Harasim is a Professor in the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, and has been Network Leader and CEO of Canada's TeleLearning Network of Centres of Excellence. She also leads the Virtual-U research activities and has been involved in designing, implementing and researching Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) since 1983. Linda's focus has been on OCL pedagogical design, and on system design to support Online Collaborative Learning. She has also been active in developing a theory of online learning and a research methodology to study and assess effective collaborative learning. Pedagogical and technological designs to assist researchers and instructors in assessing and advancing collaborative learning and knowledge building are key aspects of her research and practice.

    Wynne Harlen has held several high-ranking positions, including Sidney Jones Professor of Science Education and Head of the Education Department at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Scottish Council for Research in Education. She is now semi-retired, has an honorary position as Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol and undertakes some consultancies. She was an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, in 1995 and a consultant and co-director of a research project, funded by the NSF, at TERC, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1999 to 2002. She was awarded the OBE by the Queen for services to education in 1991. She serves on the editorial board of three international journals. Her publications include twenty-five research reports, over 150 journal articles, twenty-six books of which she is sole or joint author and contributions to thirty-five books. She graduated from Oxford University with an honours degree in physics and obtained her Ph.D. through research in educational evaluation at the University of Bristol.

    Gail E. Hawisher is Professor of English and founding Director of the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her work probes the many connections between literate activity and new information technologies as reflected in her most recent book with Cynthia Selfe, Literate Lives in the Information Age (2004). In 2004 she received the Lynn Martin Award for Distinguished Women Faculty and the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2005 she was also honoured as a University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar.

    Caroline Haythornthwaite is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the way computer-mediated interaction supports and affects interaction for learning, community, information exchange, and the construction of knowledge. She is co-editor of Learning, Culture and Community in Online Education: Research and Practice, with Michelle M. Kazmer (2004) and The Internet in Everyday Life with Barry Wellman (2002). She has published widely, including papers in The Information Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, New Media and Society, Information Communication and Society, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, and in Steve Jones's Doing Internet Research and Jayne Gackenbach's Psychology and the Internet.

    Starr Roxanne Hiltz is Distinguished Professor, College of Computing Sciences, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her research interests include group support systems (virtual teams and online communities), asynchronous learning networks, and pervasive computing. In particular, with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, she has created and experimented with a Virtual ClassroomTM for delivery of college-level courses. This is a teaching and learning environment that is constructed, not of bricks and boards, but of software structures within a computer-mediated communication system. One of her earliest books was the award-winning The Network Nation: Human Communication via Computer, co-authored with Murray Turoff (1978, revised edition 1993). Her most recent book, co-edited with Ricki Goldman, is Learning together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks (2005).

    Chris Hoadley is an Associate Professor of Education and of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University (split appointment). He designs, builds, and studies ways for computers to enhance collaboration and learning. Chris Hoadley has degrees in cognitive science, computer science, and education from MIT and the University of California at Berkeley. He is Director of dolcelab, the Laboratory for Design of Learning, Collaboration and Experience. He is affiliated with the Penn State Center for Human-Computer Interaction and the American Center for the Study of Distance Education. He has chaired the American Educational Research Association's Special Interest Group for Education in Science and Technology, and served as the first president of the International Society for the Learning Sciences. Hoadley was the Director of the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies Knowledge Network. He founded and leads the Design-based Research Collective, funded by the Spencer Foundation.

    Michelle M. Kazmer is an Assistant Professor at the College of Information, Florida State University. Her research focuses on social processes in online social worlds, especially online worlds that are designed to be temporary. Her research has examined the social world disengaging processes of distance learners and academic researchers, as well as community-embedded online learning. She is especially interested in how knowledge is shared among people who have left a social world, and in how individuals' local environment shapes their online experiences. She works with an interdisciplinary research team that uses a hermeneutics approach for studying virtual communities. She has worked with online learners as a teacher and researcher since 1997, in the LEEP programme at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at Florida State. Her research has been published in journals such as Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and New Media and Society.

    Terry Locke is Associate Professor of English Language Education and Chairperson of the Arts and Language Education Department in the School of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand. His research interests, besides e-learning, include the literacy/technology nexus, constructions of English as a subject, teacher professionalism, curriculum and assessment reform and pedagogies of literature. His most recent book is Critical Discourse Analysis (2004). He is co-ordinating editor of the international online journal English Teaching: Practice and Critique and is on the board of a number of journals, including L1: Educational Studies in Language and Literature and English in Australia.

    Jane Lund is the Online Teaching and Learning Manager in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, England responsible for online pedagogy in its broadest sense. A background in teaching IT brought her into contact with technologies around the time when the expectation was that CDs would revolutionize the way we teach and learn. E-learning has come a long way since then and Jane has had the privilege of working as a practitioner, developer and collaborator in the use of learning technologies with adults ever since. Her research interests include how groups develop into an online learning community (or not) and the role of the e-tutor.

    Angela McFarlane is Professor in Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol, where she is head of department. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Oslo. She was a founder of the TEEM project on evaluation of digital content in the classroom, and is on the board of the UK government-funded blue-sky Futurelab project. A former science teacher, she ran a software R&D unit at Homerton College, Cambridge, for over ten years and has experience of educational software development from concept to market. During this time she worked closely on computer-based assessment with the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, to which she remains an adviser. In addition, Angela has designed and directed national UK research and evaluation projects on ICT and Learning, and was part of the team that designed the longitudinal study of the impact of networked technologies on home and school learning - Impact2. She has also evaluated the £350 million Curriculum Online investment, and NCSL online, the first online learning community for school leaders. She continues to work with Learning2Go, Europe's largest hand-held learning project, in Wolverhampton, and WebPlay, the UK and US-based blended drama program for elementary schools. She was a member of the OECD expert group on quality in educational software and the first Evidence and Practice Director at Becta, the UK government agency for ICT. Current research interests include the role of e-learning in professional development, personal and mobile computing, computer games in learning and in particular the creative online learning communities they spawn. Professor McFarlane is a member of the board of the government-funded Teachers' TV and the Becta Board Education Committee. She has given keynote presentations at a range of international conferences in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Chile, Malaysia, Spain and Norway, and writes regularly for the UK Times Educational Supplement.

    Naomi Miyake is Professor in the School of Information Technology and Science, Chukyo University, and holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.Ed. from the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo. She is interested in collaborative cognition in general, in understanding both of its socio-cultural aspects like socially constrained, sustainable motivation, and its cognitive processes such as how each individual maintains her own intrinsic intellectual enthusiasm to go beyond the cultural boundaries while being constrained socio-culturally. She has been Principal Investigator for an eight-year learning science project to establish effective curriculum using collaborative activities as scaffolds for undergraduate cognitive science. Collaboration support applications developed through the project include ReCoNote (relational concept mapping tool for collaborative reflection), comment-sharing tools for lecture video clips and lecture notes and some assessment/observation tools using tablet PCs for mobility.

    Rae-Anne Montague is Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include multimodal education, learning technologies, and diversity. Rae-Anne has written several articles and given many presentations on innovative and effective practice for online and distance education. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Library and Information science - the M.S. was completed through the UIUC GSLIS online option, LEEP - as well as an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from St Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    Konrad Morgan is Professor of Human Computer Interaction and Director of the InterMedia research centre on Digital Learning and New Media at the University of Bergen. His research interests focus on understanding the human and social impact of information and communications technology. His scientific work includes a number of original contributions: the first empirical evaluations and explanations of why direct manipulation and graphical user interfaces are superior in usability terms; some of the first explanations of gender differences and attitudes in ICT use; revealing the role of personality types in computer-based behaviour; and finally, the influence of early parental encouragement in later technology competence and attitudes.

    Madeleine Morgan has a background in both law and information science. She co-ordinated the intellectual property division of a leading blue-chip technology multinational before forming her own highly successful new media organization MadBagus. Now living in her apartment overlooking the picturesque Mount Fl⊘yen in Bergen, Norway she works on her current research interests, including the impact of ICT on gender, personality and cross-cultural issues. She has been involved with national and European-funded research projects, including the IDEELS and MASSIVE EU projects. Author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles, and an invited contributor to numerous edited books, her work is both well respected and known internationally.

    Ellen Roberts is programme director of a number of online postgraduate programmes in public policy and management, delivered by the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. Ellen is seconded to York from the civil service, where she has worked in a range of policy and management roles. Posts have included Ministerial Private Office, the Cabinet Office and the development of career progression policies in the former Department of Social Security. Her interests are in enabling practitioners to connect theory and practice, and in the role of e-learning in fostering international learning communities in public policy and management.

    Cynthia L. Selfe is Humanities Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Ohio State University, Columbus. In 1996 Selfe was recognized as an EDUCOM Medal award winner for innovative computer use in higher education—the first woman and the first English teacher ever to receive this award. Among her numerous publications about computer use in educational settings are Literacy and Technology in the Twenty-first Century: The Perils of not Paying Attention (1999) and the co-authored Writing New Media (2004). With Gail Hawisher, Selfe continues to edit Computers and Composition: an International Journal.

    Mike Sharples is Professor of Learning Sciences and Director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Nottingham. He has over twenty-five years' experience in human-centred design of new technologies for learning, knowledge working and social interaction. He is the author of seven books, thirty journal articles and over 150 other publications in the areas of interactive systems design, artificial intelligence and educational technology. Through a series of projects funded by the UK research councils, the European Commission and industry he has developed a systematic approach to the design, deployment and evaluation of socio-technical systems (people and their interaction with technology).

    Ilana Snyder is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. Her research focuses on changes in literacy, pedagogical and cultural practices associated with the use of new media in local and global contexts. Her books that explore these changes include Page to Screen (1998), Teachers and Technoliteracy, co-authored with Colin Lankshear (2000) and Silicon Literacies (2002). Intrinsic to her work is the understanding that there are increasingly urgent social and economic imperatives to investigate the complex ways in which new technologies allow an expanded network of communication and intellectual exchange, but a network that is not equally available to all. She is working on a project investigating the digital literacy practices of Australian young people in home, school and community that will be contrasted with parallel studies in Brazil, Greece and South Africa. She is also writing a book, The Literacy Wars, to be published in 2008.

    Bronwyn Stuckey has been a classroom teacher, researcher, community facilitator, lecturer, educational technologist, instructional designer, trainer and teacher educator. She has worked in teacher education and professional development over ten years as a trainer, lecturer, researcher, and community and project developer, for education departments, universities, distance education organizations and vocational education providers in Australia and the US. She is a foundation member of CPsquare and coaches in the Etienne Wenger CPsquare Foundations of Communities of Practice Workshop. She has over the past four years designed for, facilitated and consulted to online community groups and communities of practice. She is collaborating as a researcher in the Learning, Cognition and Instruction/Learning Sciences at Indiana University with Sasha Barab in research issues surrounding a three-dimensional multi-user game environment, Quest Atlantis, in which students around the world learn together.

    Josie Taylor is Professor of Learning Technology at the Open University, and Co-director of the UserLab in the Institute of Educational Technology, a group of researchers investigating pedagogy and learning in technology-enhanced environments. Major projects include the European Commission-funded projects MOBIlearn and GUARDIANS, both looking at pedagogically sound tools to support learning. She has advised on strategies for e-learning and effective pedagogy nationally and internationally, and on evaluation methodology. She was funded by EPSRC to conduct a UK-wide consultation process to establish priorities for research in e-learning in the UK to inform funding policy, and is leading the CRC/BCS Grand Challenge in Computing on ‘Learning for Life’.

    Melody M. Thompson is Assistant Professor of Education and Co-ordinator of Doctoral Programs in Penn State's adult education programme. In that role she teaches and advises Masters and doctoral students, with much of her teaching being done online through the Penn State World Campus. She is also the Faculty Satisfaction editor for the Sloan Consortium's Effective Practices database. Her primary research interests are faculty satisfaction and the institutional policy environment for online learning, as well as diversity issues in adult education. Dr Thompson received her bachelor's degree in English from Bryn Mawr College and both her M.Ed. and her D.Ed. from Penn State. Her past positions include Director of Planning and Research for the World Campus and Director of the American Center for the Study of Distance Education (ACSDE). Dr Thompson is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, as well as coauthor of the McGraw-Hill Handbook of Distance Learning.

    Murray Turoff is a Distinguished Professor in the Information Systems Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has been engaged in research and development of Computer-Mediated Communication systems since the late 1960s. He was the designer of EMISARI (Emergency Management Information System And Reference Index) which was the first group communication-oriented crisis management system and which was used for the 1971 wage price freeze and assorted federal crisis events in the US until the mid-1980s. He is co-author of the award-winning book The Network Nation: Human Communication via Computer that predicted all the current Web-based communication systems in 1978. He is a co-founder of ISCRAM (Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management) and he was programme chair of their third international meeting in 2006. He has published a number of papers on the design of information systems for all aspects of crisis planning and emergency management.

    Virgil E. Varvel is a finishing graduate student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who has an M.S. in biomolecular chemistry and an Ed.M. in science teaching. He is also a Computer-Assisted Instruction specialist for University Outreach and Public Service for the University of Illinois, working with online education, throughout the state of Illinois, and is a certified grades 6–12 instructor in Illinois. He researched the use of wireless networks in education, evaluated online programs, and researches various issues related to online education including policy, understanding instructor-student relations, and online research methods. He was part of the Illinois Online Network program to receive the award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development from the Sloan Consortium in 2002. In 2005 he won a WebCT Exemplary Course Award, the first one awarded for a faculty development course.

    Giasemi Vavoula is a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, and a research fellow at the Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University. She has worked as a research fellow on the EU project MOBIlearn, and the EU Kaleidoscope NoE JEIRP Mobile Learning in Informal Science Settings, conducting literature reviews and diary studies of informal and mobile learning practices. She has co-authored a literature review in mobile technologies for learning for NESTA Futurelab.

    Andrew Whitworth is Programme Director for the Masters in ICT in Education at the University of Manchester, England. After some years working in the ICT industry he completed a degree then a Ph.D. in politics at the University of Leeds, studying critical theory as applied to the study of micropolitical interactions in organizations. His ICT background and the newly emerging World Wide Web kept pulling at him, however, and he subsequently taught Web design and the politics of ICT at Leeds until moving to Manchester in 2005. His research and teaching now stand at the intersection of technology, education and the organization of higher education.

    Zhao Yuan is a Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Studies at the University of York. Her study focuses on the impact of computer technology on teaching and learning English listening and speaking as a second language in UK higher education. The fundamental theoretical basis of Yuan's research is the interaction among students, teachers and computers, and the primary aim of the research is to investigate the impact of computer technology on learning in the context of language classrooms. Specifically, Yuan has extended her research to how computer technology expands the opportunities of learning, how computer technology increases the communication across various contexts, and how different types of information and communication technology stimulate and improve learning.

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