- “It is one of the most outstanding thesis I have examined” (Prof. Mike Keppell, Pro-Vice Chancellor – Learning Transformations, Swinburne University of Technology).
- “The framework is quite unique and makes a solid and original contribution to both scholarship and research in designing and improving the quality of educational programs” (A/Prof. Catherine McLoughlin, Australian Catholic University, ACT).
- “I found the thesis to be very well written…It is a pleasure to read. This is a scholarly work on an important topic” (Prof. Terry Anderson, Center for Distance Education, Athabasca University, Canada).
Doctorate of Education Thesis Title: Designing authentic online community of learning experiences for higher education.
Supervisors: Prof. Jan Herrington and Dr. Dorit Maor.
Examination report: All three examiners gave the highest recommendations (strongly agree) on all five criteria used to judge the dissertation.
Examiner comments include:
- 2016 School of Education prize for Doctor of Education, best Doctor of Education dissertation in the past two years.
Overview of Thesis
This research study employed a design-based research approach to explore how online learning could be improved to provide more interactive and engaging student centered learning experiences for higher education students. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an online professional development (PD) course based on authentic learning principles supported by new technologies. The purpose of the PD course was to assist higher education practitioners how to apply an authentic learning framework to a new or existing online course.
Design-based research approach
Phase 1 – Analysis
Literature reviews and consultations with practitioners in the field helped clarify some of the issues practitioners face for creating interactive and engaging online learning experiences. Creating an online professional development course where participants are given the opportunity to consider a variety of online pedagogies, explore a range of web-based technologies, experience online learning from a learners perspective and network with their peers was identified as a possible solution for assisting practitioners to develop the required skills and knowledge to create more engaging online courses.
Research question: Can immersing higher education practitioners in an authentic learning environment assist them to create more interactive and engaging online learning experiences within a learning management system?
- Conference paper: Parker, J. (2011). Practitioner practices for designing and delivering online higher education courses within a learning management system. In: 20th Annual Teaching and Learning Forum, 1-2 February 2011, Edith Cowan University, Perth.
Phase 2 – Design and develop
As participants progress through the course they learn a range of concepts and skills as they complete an authentic task. The task is to redesign one of their existing online courses, or an existing face-to-face course that they would like to put online, using the authentic learning model.
- Conference presentation: Parker, J. (2012). Authentic eDesign: An online professional development course for higher education practitioners. In: WAIER 27th Annual Research Forum: Transforming practice: The value of educational research, 11 August 2012, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia.
- Conference presentation: Parker, J. (2011). A design-based research approach for creating effective online higher education courses. In: WAIER 26th Annual Research Forum: Educational Possibilities, 13 August 2011, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, WA.
Phase 3 – Implement and evaluate
Three iterations of the course were implemented. After each iteration feedback from the participants and the facilitator was analysed and recommendations for improving the course were implemented before each subsequent iteration.
- 1st iteration January, 2012: Course overview video [9:24 mins]
- 2nd iteration June, 2012: Moodle LMS (Demo) and Companion website (Demo)
- 3rd iteration Jan, 2014: Moodle LMS (Demo) and Technology Toolbox for Educators (TT4Ed) website
- Conference paper: Parker, J. , Maor, D. & Herrington, J. (2013). Under the hood: How an authentic online course was designed, delivered and evaluated. In: 22nd Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 7-8 February, 2013, Murdoch University, Perth
Phase 4 – Report and disseminate
The research findings will endeavour to inform theory and offer a new perspective to the field of education for developing effective online learning environments across the university sector.
- EdD Thesis: Designing authentic online community of learning experiences for higher education (2015). Murdoch Research Repository, Murdoch University, Western Australia.
- Journal article: Parker, J.Maor, D., & Herrington, J. (2013). Authentic online learning: Aligning learner needs, pedagogy and technology. Issues in Educational Research, 23 (2). pp. 227-241.
- Conference paper: Parker, J. (2016). An authentic online community of learning framework for higher education: development process. In Edmedia 2016 – World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. 28-30 June, 2016, Sheration Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, Vancouver, Canada.