A conceptual framework for cloud-based collaborative online course provision.
Authors: Aldoayan, M.
Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and TechnologyAbstract:
The number of online courses offered worldwide by higher education institutions has been growing rapidly. There are a number of challenges and issues that may affect online course delivery and student learning such as the experience of academic staff and students with online courses, design of course structure, creation of suitable teaching resources, and the study culture.
Collaboration between universities for the design and delivery of online courses can have many benefits. They include enriched educational culture, fostering of a collaborative environment, resource sharing, cost reduction, and enhanced quality of courses.
Cloud computing can support collaborative environments due to its flexibility, scalability, reliability, availability and mobility, resulting in reduced IT costs. It can provide easy access to resources for both students and university staff.
A mixed methods research approach was adopted to collect the views of academics and students with respect to cloud-based collaborative online course provision. Semi- structured interviews were conducted with academics from different universities to explore the issues associated with the cloud-based collaborative online course environment. Two questionnaires collected the views of both academics and students in greater depth from a wider perspective. A number of challenges and issues were identified for consideration and incorporation into a cloud-based framework for a collaborative environment. Such issues related to security, confidentiality, ownership, contract agreement, quality assurance, finance, culture and course development. These issues and others were grouped together into five elements, which are quality, legal, security, operation and education.
A novel conceptual framework for a cloud-based collaborative environment was developed, which is based on five main elements, illustrating the relationship between them. A prototype was developed to test parts of the framework to illustrate some of its concepts and its utilisation in a collaborative environment. The framework and the prototype were evaluated by practitioners. The analysis of the views illustrated the appropriateness of the framework structure, grouping of the elements, relationship between the elements and the issues associated with each element.