Abstracts: Jan-Jul 2017

Here are abstracts of my recent papers in 2017 so far:

The effects of digital literacy on postgraduate students’ use of the internet for academic purposes
Several empirical studies have established an increasing use of virtual learning environments by higher institutions in delivering blended and online courses. In addition to managed learning environments, educators have since explored the use of personalised learning environments, Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) platforms, Web2.0 applications and mobile apps in response to the heterogeneous learner population who use an array of digital tools for academic purposes. The literature has shown that digital literacies play an integral role in their selection of tools. This paper is thus an investigation on how having different levels of digital literacies affect their selection and use of internet tools for learning. This qualitative study employed the use of mini focus group interviews to explore differences and similarities among a population of postgraduate learners. The first focus group comprised of multinational on-campus students (n=6) while the second focus group comprised of off-site students (n=4). Findings from the two datasets were inductively and deductively inferred through thematic analysis. Participants’ responses were measured based on the 7 aspects of digital literacies, viz. Access, Identify, Manage, Integrate, Evaluate, Create, Communicate. The study found that a higher level of digital literacy empowers a learner to take advantage of many types of technologies, thus having no particular preference but a preference for having options. In contrast, a low level of digital literacy restricts a user’s preference to only one or two main and most familiar internet technology.

Keywords: Digital literacy, blended learning, online learning.

[Link to conference website]
Investigating the Reciprocity of Interviews with the ‘Online Learner Profiling Questionnaire’ as an Instrument of Triangulation and In-Depth Data Acquisition: A Pilot Study

The purpose of this study is to pilot a bespoke interview method that comprised of an interview schedule, an interview process, and the method of analysis. It has been designed to complement a prerequisite questionnaire instrument called the Online Learner Profiling Questionnaire (OLP) with the main objectives of investigating its compatibility in 1) confirming information collected from the OLP and in 2) generating new data expanding from existing information. The interview method was performed on selected participants of the previous OLP pilot study. The information and theoretical framework from the OLP pilot study allowed for the use of abductive reasoning in negotiating knowledge from the OLP questionnaire, Bourdieu’s theory and interview data. The analysis followed Saldana’s Two Cycle Coding method and employed the processes of Holistic Coding, followed by Initial Coding inclusive of In Vivo and Process coding techniques, and eventually Focused and Axial Coding. Through the use of inductive, abductive and deductive coding, this pilot study revealed that the interview approach is capable of adding further profundity to profiling learners based on their learning and technology dispositions.

Keywords: online learning, two-cycle coding, Bourdieu’s theory

[Link to conference website]
The Implementation of Online Learning Systems in Brunei Darussalam

This paper reports on an on-going research pertaining to Brunei Darussalam’s pursuit of online learning. In the past, online learning has been viewed as an alternative approach to education when traditional learning is not practical. This is attributed to spatial and temporal limitations, which are not significant barriers to learning for a country the size of Brunei. However, the concept of online learning has changed and it is now more than an alternative or second-best approach; its new affordances becoming relevant to Brunei and its 21st century learners. One of the key constructs of successful online learning implementation is in understanding its potential learners. Using a sequential transformative mixed-method approach, the Brunei higher education and technical education learner population have been profiled through a self designed Online Learner Profiling questionnaire and a complementary interview procedure. A series of Exploratory Factor Analyses were performed on the quantitative data to generate different types of learners based on their learning dispositions, while the qualitative data was analysed using Saldana’s Two-Cycle Coding method to discern learners dispositions towards different online technologies, learning and learning online. The research draws upon Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice as its theoretical framework.

[Link to conference website]
Using Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice to Holistically Profile Online Learners

Educators and policy-makers have continuously employed several learning theories as profiling mechanisms in providing an effective online learning environment for learners. Learning styles, digital literacy, pyschometric personality tests, digital native scales – these are just several theoretical models that have been used in isolation by preceding research to profile online learners, resulting in different explanations to the same query. Preceding research has attempted to combine these models together to attain a holistic profile but was vitiated by overlapping variables. This research therefore adapted Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice as an overarching theoretical framework that 1) minimises the overlapping of variables, 2) eliminates the use of predetermined taxonomies, and 3) acknowledges the dynamicity of learner characteristics. Habitus, which according to Bourdieu comprises of capitals and dispositions, embodies the learners based on their characteristics, preferences toward learning, and learning online. Using a survey instrument framed around Bourdieu’s theory, 3 quantitative studies were performed on different learner samples (n=126, n=27, and n=407 respectively). Factor analyses identified discernible factors, establishing learners as representing distinctive habitus types and consequently inform educators on how to cater for their dispositions; a balancing act that Bourdieu refers to as hysteresis.

Keywords: Online learner, Pierre Bourdieu, Habitus, Learning Dispositions


[Link to publication (in press)]
A Review on Using Internet Discussion Boards to Supplement Collaboration in English Language Composition Writing

With the imminent role of ICT in education, schools are taking imperative measures to educate its learners by means of new technologies. This exploratory review elaborates on how existing computer facilities are being utilised to teach English, in particular the area of composition writing, to a class of Bruneian students where English is both a subject and a foreign language. This article focuses on the technology of Internet discussion boards and how they empower students through a socioconstructivist and collaborative approach towards composition writing.

Index Termscomputer assisted classroom discussion, computer mediated communication, collaborative writing.



I have 3 more papers due to be published this month but will withhold them until they are available for public distribution. For Aug-Dec 2017, I have lined up several papers for publications and conferences, including two group authored papers on the topics of mobile learning and teachers’ needs analysis.