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Proposed Student Research Project Updates

Open Education in the Ontario post-secondary education system in the areas of institutional leadership perspective of OER and student development of OER

Brandon Carson, EdD Candidate (Program Completion anticipated by 2025)

In recent years, Ontario Tech University has become committed to OER by creating an OER lab, grassroots campaigns for OER adoption such as the #OERThankU and #TextbookBroke campaigns, and encouragement to use OER from Dr. Steven Murphy and Dr. Lori Livingston. I am interested in expanding Ontario Tech’s efforts in OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP) by completing research in the areas of OER and OEP. My Thesis in the MALAT program at Royal Roads University focused on the barriers that Ontario college business faculty face to using OER and approaches to overcome the identified barriers. I want to continue my research of Open Education in the Ontario post-secondary education system in the areas of institutional leadership perspective of OER, and student development of OER in courses that use the Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) model. I have gained several experiences in the OER community over the past three years. I was the Program Manager of Business OER at eCampusOntario for 15 months, supporting Ontario post-secondary business-related programs in shifting to OER use and presenting on the benefits of OER. From a research perspective, I presented at institutional, provincial and international conferences, and am a committee member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Open Education Conference. As a doctoral student, I would commit to continuing to present at education conferences, become a member of the Global OER Graduate Network, and to publish a minimum of two journal articles a year throughout my studies.

Queering the FOLC (Interactions of Queer Culture with the Use of Digital Learning Environments)

Jessica Trinier, EdD Candidate (Program Completion anticipated by 2025)

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Assessment as part of digital education lifeworlds: A metasynthesis

Graham Lean (Proposed M.Ed. Project)

Framed by Habermas’ (1987) concepts of system and lifeworld, this paper argues the function of assessment in higher education has historically been skewed towards system integration over social integration, and this is now reflected in online learning.

Assessment has often overemphasised reliable, reproducible testing methods. This has a “backwash” effect on curriculum design, lesson planning and teacher conduct, leading to teachers “teaching the test”. However, there has been a notable shift away from these modes of assessment towards “authentic assessment”. Despite this positive shift, the contemporary focus on authentic assessment is often narrow, limiting assessment to replicating the world of work. This leads to a different form of backwash suffered by purportedly less authentic modes of assessment. This backwash is indicative of the limiting of educational goals to those that fit in with prevailing neoliberal ideology or, in Habermasian terms, it demonstrates the colonization of the educational lifeworld by its coexisting system. This often leads to tensions between pedagogy and the systemic organisation of higher education. These problems also emerge in online and distance learning design, with top-down content dissemination often being preferred over collaborative, dialogic learning.

Using metasynthesis template analysis involving a combination of structured and emergent coding, this paper will aim to identify emerging themes in the literature on online assessment and college policy documents on assessment alongside curricula and course outlines. It will then analyze the impact of the systematic organization of assessment on curriculum design and development. Then, through the lens of Habermas’ system and lifeworld concepts, it will propose a potential framework for online assessment in higher education, encompassing a holistic approach to assessment, using dialogic methods, negotiation and engagement in collaboration.

E-learning in nursing education: Factors Affecting Its Use

Marvin Mnaymneh (Proposed M.A. Thesis Project)

Purpose and Background

The effectiveness of e-learning has primarily been studied amongst professionals in a variety of domains and recently in the medical area or in general healthcare (Cook et al., 2008, 2010a; Curran and Fleet, 2005; Cobb, 2004; Wutoh et al., 2004). Even though nurses make up one of the largest groups of healthcare workers, there is very little research on e-learning and its effectiveness among nurses or student nurses (Beckett, 2020). Due to societal demands and the changing nature of the professional environment’s crucial to concentrate on how e-learning affects this professional group because of the demands in society and in the health organization (i.e. EMR). Additionally, as Curran and Fleet (2005) and Curran et al. (2010) have noted, evaluative education studies frequently focus on participant satisfaction when, instead, more effort might be directed toward knowledge creation, skill development, and changes in practice following educational interventions. Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluating learning outcomes for educational training, such as e-learning, also highlights the significance of emphasizing various outcomes (Galloway, 2005). Kirkpatrick’s model includes four stages for assessing educational training: (1) reaction, or student satisfaction, (2) learning, or increased knowledge, (3) behaviour, or change in practice; and (4) results, or final outcomes, a summation of satisfaction, learning and behaviour? (Kirkpatrick, 1998; Galloway, 2005). The effect of e-learning on knowledge, skills, and satisfaction among nurses and nursing students will therefore be the main focus of this research.


The study will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1: Participants will be asked to complete a Basic Demographic Survey (BDS) and a Digital Competency Profiler (DCP) survey provided through the EILAB’s GREx dashboard. These surveys collect demographic data and create a profile of the participant based on the frequency and confidence of their technology usage. This phase will take approximately 20 minutes. See Appendix 0 for the GREx dashboard (SOP #000), Appendix 1 for the Basic Demographic Survey (SOP #001), and Appendix 3 for the DCP survey (SOP #003).
Phase 2: The selected 10-12 participants will engage in a one-hour online e-learning session hosted on Unity Health Toronto’s Learning Management System – “The Learning Centre.” Participants will be asked to “think aloud” their thought processes and decision-making while they work on four pre-chosen learning modules. Audio and video of all performances will be recorded. Video will be captured simultaneously from four perspectives, including the device screen, the participant’s face, the participant’s hand interactions and the participant’s body seated at the table. The facilitator will be on hand to provide answers to procedural questions. (See Appendix 8 – Phase 2 – Letter of Invitation and Consent). Participants will then be asked to complete a post-task semi-formal interview that assesses their satisfaction with and perceived usefulness of the object they created and asks them to identify any skills they feel they learned during the study task. The interview will also ask them to identify any barriers perceived during the study task (See Appendix 15 – Phase 2 – Interview Questions). Field notes will be recorded by the researcher of the participant while they are completing their modules.

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