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Our Research on Distance Education and Learning Technologies

Recent publications

Lai, K.W. (2014). Supporting Collaborative knowledge building in a distance doctoral programme. Wellingtion, Ako Aotearoa.

In this publication the theoretical framework and procedures for supporting distance doctoral students to co-construct knowledge within an online community are described. Examples of learning outcomes are also provided in this publication. Video clips of students sharing their learning experiences are also included in this publication to provide a student voice.

Current projects

Blended learning: The impact of vocational and distance learning initiatives on students’ school experiences

This project follows earlier collaborations between members of the Centre and members of OtagoNet, and focuses specifically on the experience of students involved in a form of blended learning characterised by taking classes in multiple formats from multiple providers.

This project is funded by the Teaching and Learning research Initiative (TLRI).

Pratt, K. (2010). Who takes online classes and why: A New Zealand perspective. Paper presented at the16th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning - The Power of Online Learning, Orlando, FL.

Pratt, K. & Pullar, K. (2010). Blended learning: The impact of vocational and distance learning initiatives on students’ school experiences. Paper presented at the New Zealand Association for Research in Education Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Pratt, K. & Trewern, A. (2011). New Zealand students’ perceptions of blended learning. Paper presented at the Society for Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference, Nashville, TN.

Past projects

Digital horizons: Laptops for teachers evaluation

This research, funded by the Ministry of Education, evaluated the impact of the Laptop for Teachers Scheme (TELA) in Otago. Five rounds of interviews were conducted between 2005 and 2008 with teachers, ICT coordinators and principals of five primary schools.

Our research showed that while personal and school factors affected the impact of the laptops, they had become an invaluable tool for these teachers.

The full report can be downloaded from the Education Counts website

Community Trust of Otago Projects

Between 2000 and 2004 members of the Centre conducted a number of research projects, funded by the Community Trust of Otago, to evaluate the impact of grants from the trust to Otago primary and secondary schools. This included evaluating the OtagoNet initiative.

Reports for these projects can be found here:

Lai, K.W., Pratt, K. & Trewern, A. (2000). Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Community Trust of Otago’s Secondary Schools Technology Project. Dunedin, New Zealand: Community Trust of Otago.

Lai, K.W. & Pratt, K. (2002). Primary Technology Project: Evaluation of the Use of Technology in Otago Primary Schools. Dunedin, New Zealand: Community Trust of Otago.

Lai, K. W. & Pratt, K. (2004). e-Learning Initiative: Evaluation of the OtagoNet Project. Dunedin, New Zealand: Community Trust of Otago.

Lai, K.W., Pratt, K. & Trewern, A. (2002). e-Learning Initiative: Current state of ICT in Otago Secondary Schools. Dunedin, New Zealand: Community Trust of Otago.

Distance teaching and learning

As part of our objective to ensure world-class teaching in distance learning, we are continually evaluating the distance programmes offered by the College of Education, as well as conducting research more generally in this area.

Details of projects conducted in this area:

• Evaluating teaching and learning experiences of distance lecturers and learners (2009)
• Learning resources (2007)
• Literature review and synthesis: Online communities of practice (2005)
• State of art and trends in distance, flexible and open learning (2003)
• Learning and coping strategies of students (2001)