Volume 49 (1)
Winter/Hiver 2023

Editorial / Éditorial Volume 49 Issue 1

M. T. Dabrowski, Athabasca University

M. Cleveland-Innes, Athabasca University

The spectre of COVID-19 and its global transformational legacy on all aspects of teaching and learning overshadows this issue of the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. The near-universal demand for remote learning and the reliance on learning technologies not only transformed the educational environment but also shifted many preconceived notions about the interplay between the dissemination of knowledge and technology. The surge in technology’s prominence in education and the quick pedagogical pivot impacted all aspects of teaching and learning with both short- and long-term consequences. This issue explores the impact of this shift, the slow recovery and the permanent transformation of the learning landscape from the institutional, teacher, and student perspectives. We invite you to review the content summary of this journal issue.

With our thanks to reviewer Brian Lamb and Book Editor Carole Sparks, the current Book Review considers the gamut of educational technology and its impact before and during the “great pivot” resulting from the global pandemic. Metaphors of Ed Tech, 2022, by the author of multiple books and articles on the topic, and professor of educational technology at the Open University, Martin Weller, surveys the encompassing complex field exploring its ebbs, flows, and sociocultural implications. The book touches on many topics, including cataloguing and curating knowledge artifacts, the importance of Open Educational Resources (OERs), and the financial consequences of increased legislative burdens placed on universities. In this comprehensive and engaging overview of the field’s current state, Weller underscores technology’s significant role in teaching and learning and its unique cross-disciplinary perspective while offering thoughtful insights into a wide range of practices.

The Notes Section of this issue provides insights into successful cases and experiences of distance learning hubs in China and Iran in recent years as shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. In, A Narrative Case History of Distance Education Before, During, and After COVID-19 in China and Iran, Mohsen Keshavarz and Li Yuan examine the phenomenon of educational hubs in higher education in the context of international education through online learning. The authors argue for the new opportunities presented by online and distance learning within the framework of educational hubs and propose three types of online and blended learning models that reflect the development of these hubs under COVID-19 conditions. Using insights gained from successful cases and experiences of distance learning hubs in China and Iran in recent years, they argue that educational hubs offer global perspectives, prepare students for an interconnected world, and facilitate connections between diverse regions.

Continuing the focus on the Asian continent from the Notes Section, Greg MacKinnon of Acadia University and Tyler MacLean of the Henan Experimental High School in China explore the emergency remote English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching response due to the surge in COVID-19 during the fall 2020-2021 academic year in Article 1; Emergency Remote Teaching: The Challenges Associated with a Context of Second Language Instruction. They explore the required pedagogical shift and the accompanying challenges as offshore school teachers shifted their ESL instruction of Chinese children online rather than face-to-face in China. Teachers and principals identified broad categories of factors impacting instruction delivery, including teacher lifestyle, technological hindrances, teaching practice, and pedagogical support. This study contributes to the existing literature by highlighting the importance of examining cognitive load, self-regulation, and attentional literacy in the context of ESL learning with technology, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of these factors.

Article 2, University Student Satisfaction and Behavioural Engagement During Emergency Remote Teaching, shifts the perspective from the educator to the student. Authored by Necati Taşkın, Bülent Kandemir, and Kerem Erzurumlu of the Vocational School of Technical Sciences at the Ordu University in Turkey, this article examines students’ online learning satisfaction in the context of emergency remote teaching during the same fall semester of the 2020-2021 academic year as the previous article. A concurrent triangulation design was employed to assess the online learning satisfaction of students enrolled in a state university in Turkey, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative instruments. The students expressed a moderate level of approval, and there was a notable correlation between satisfaction levels and academic achievement and behavioural engagement. The students frequently mentioned various themes, including a desire for face-to-face education, the inefficiency of online learning, concerns about assessment, the usefulness of the Learning Management System (LMS), technical issues, and a perceived lack of instructor support. As a recommendation, this study suggests that instructors, educational authorities, and policymakers should prioritize online student satisfaction to ensure a successful digital transformation in higher education.

With a continued emphasis on student satisfaction and success, Shelly Ikebuchi of Okanagan College takes advantage of the unique opportunity as Canadian postsecondary institutions transition out of pandemic restrictions to examine the impact of online education on learning. Article 3, Accessing Education: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Online Learning, analyzes open-ended comments from the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association 2022 Spring National Survey to explore how online and hybrid learning impacted EDI. The results paint a double-edged sword that can create barriers for marginalized students while promoting EDI through increased access and flexibility. The study emphasizes the importance of pedagogy, course design, support, and flexibility in ensuring that online and hybrid learning effectively supports EDI. It also discusses the challenges of access, pedagogy, and technology while providing recommendations to address EDI concerns in online and hybrid learning environments.

As a proposed tool to address EDI issues identified in the previous article, Article 4 looks to universal design as a remedy for multiple shortcomings in many current course designs. Using Google Classroom as Assistive Technology in Universally Designed Classrooms, is authored by Stephen Sharpe and Gabrielle Young of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Here, Google Classroom is positioned as assistive technology in inclusive classrooms. Findings from a single-case study methodology at one junior high school in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada offer information about the benefits and challenges, as identified by students and intructors, associated with the use of Google Classroom within the universal design framework for learning and as effective classroom technology in meeting the needs of each learner in the classroom.

The last article, L’apprentissage en ligne dans le contexte de la quatrième révolution industrielle : le cas d’un module connectiviste en contexte universitaire / Online Learning in the Context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Case of a Connectivist Module in a University Context is authored by Emmanuel Duplàa, Béatrice Crettenand Pecorini, Jonathan Weber, and Mario Blouin of the University of Ottawa. This article proposes a link between industrial revolutions, major learning theories, and online learning. The authors highlight a disconnect between learner-centred learning theories and the mass production and education systems that separate consumers from product design and learners from the design of their own learning experiences and curricula. They demonstrate the impact of incorporating a connectivist approach in a university course and discuss its potential for cultivating essential skills needed for the fourth industrial revolution.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

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© 2023 M. T. Dabrowski and Martha Cleveland-Innes
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