Special Issue "The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Digital Competence of Educators"

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Computer Science & Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 12884

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Boni García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Telematic Engineering, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Madrid, Spain
Interests: software engineering; automated testing; cloud computing
Dr. Carlos Alario-Hoyos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Telematic Engineering, Univ Carlos III Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Interests: technology-enhanced learning; CSCL; virtual learning environments; MOOCs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Mar Pérez-Sanagustín
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute Recherche Technology de Toulouse (IRIT), Paul Sabatier University - Toulouse III, 31062 Toulouse, France
Interests: technology-enhanced learning; and in particular; learning analytics for supporting self-regulation in moocs and blended learning environments; curriculum analytics; learning programming
Dr. Miguel Morales
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
GES Department, Galileo University, Guatemala, Guatemala
Interests: MOOC; e-Learning; Learning Analytics
Dr. Oscar Jerez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Center for Teaching and Learning, School of Economics and Business, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
2. Department of Health Sciences Education, School of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
3. Center for Advanced Research in Education, IEAE, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
Interests: higher education; quality management and assurance; innovation; university teaching

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an undeniable impact on all aspects of society. Regarding teaching and learning activities, most educational institutions suspended in-person instruction and moved to remote learning during the lockdown of March and April 2020. Although many countries have progressively re-opened their educational systems at present, blended learning is a common practice aiming to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

This disruption has caused an unprecedented acceleration to the digitalization of teaching and learning. Teaching professionals have been forced to develop their digital competence in a short amount of time, achieving mastery in the management of information, the creation of audiovisual content, and the use of technology to keep their students connected. This Special Issue welcomes contributions regarding the adoption of distance learning strategies, experiences, or lessons learned in this domain.

Specific topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Digital competence of educators and students;
  • Online learning strategies;
  • Production of audiovisual content for education;
  • Strategies for engaging digital learners;
  • E-learning tools;
  • Remote evaluation approaches

Dr. Boni García
Dr. Carlos Alario-Hoyos
Prof. Dr. Mar Pérez-Sanagustín
Dr. Miguel Morales
Dr. Oscar Jerez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Article
Factors Influencing Students’ Continuous Intentions for Using Micro-Lectures in the Post-COVID-19 Period: A Modification of the UTAUT-2 Approach
Electronics 2022, 11(13), 1924; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11131924 - 21 Jun 2022
Viewed by 235
Abstract
Micro-lectures, i.e., short learning videos on a specific aspect of a topic, have become one of the most effective technology-based learning media approaches and were widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the post-pandemic era starting from early 2022, as K-12 students [...] Read more.
Micro-lectures, i.e., short learning videos on a specific aspect of a topic, have become one of the most effective technology-based learning media approaches and were widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the post-pandemic era starting from early 2022, as K-12 students have been allowed to resume going to school, it is necessary to evaluate students’ intentions to continuously use micro-lectures for learning mathematics. Therefore, this study aims to explore attitudes and continuous intentions of students towards the utilization of micro-lectures. To investigate students’ intentions of using micro-lectures, we utilized the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT-2). Data were collected from 321 junior high school students (14–17 years old) in Bandung, Indonesia, who used online classes and micro-lectures to learn mathematics during the pandemic. A structural equation model was also used to analyze the independent (performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating condition, hedonic motivation, and habit) and dependent (attitude and continuous intention) variables. Furthermore, online questionnaires were used to obtain data on students’ attitudes and continuous intention to utilize micro-lectures in the post-COVID-19 era. The results suggested that effort expectancy (EE) and hedonic motivation (HM) had a significant effect on attitudes, whose correlation with habit also influenced the continuous intention during this post-pandemic period. Despite these results, the habit variable was found to be the factor most influencing continuous intention. These results provide information to teachers, schools, and the government to continuously increase the use of micro-lectures based on improving student learning performances in the post-pandemic era. Full article
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Article
Will–Skill–Tool Components as Key Factors for Digital Media Implementation in Education: Austrian Teachers’ Experiences with Digital Forms of Instruction during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Electronics 2022, 11(12), 1805; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11121805 - 07 Jun 2022
Viewed by 332
Abstract
Although comprehensive digitalization (e.g., the provision of skills and resources) had already been placed on Austria’s education policy agenda prior to the emergence of COVID-19, there is evidence that educators had some difficulty ensuring digital learning opportunities for their students when schools closed [...] Read more.
Although comprehensive digitalization (e.g., the provision of skills and resources) had already been placed on Austria’s education policy agenda prior to the emergence of COVID-19, there is evidence that educators had some difficulty ensuring digital learning opportunities for their students when schools closed in early 2020. Against this backdrop, the present study, which drew on qualitative data from the large-scale INCL-LEA (Inclusive Home Learning) study, aimed to determine whether secondary school teachers (n = 17) from Viennese schools met the prerequisites for successfully implementing digital instruction, formulated in the Will–Skill–Tool model developed by Christensen and Kzenek (2008). Findings reveal that teachers primarily associated their sufficient digital skills with three factors: (1) basic interest and competence, (2) recently attended training, and/or (3) a positive attitude toward changing teaching practices. Interestingly, some educators recognized that digitization offers great potential for implementing individualized teaching approaches. However, the findings point to the didactic necessity of digital socialization in terms of social communication and inclusion when establishing emergency digital education. Full article
Article
The Effect of Graded-Reading Websites/Applications on EFL Undergraduates’ Reading Comprehension during COVID-19 Pandemic
Electronics 2022, 11(11), 1751; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11111751 - 31 May 2022
Viewed by 362
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many educational changes, especially the shift towards the use of technology in all subjects. This longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the effect of learning environments—blended and online, alone and with graded-reading websites/applications—on the reading comprehension of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many educational changes, especially the shift towards the use of technology in all subjects. This longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the effect of learning environments—blended and online, alone and with graded-reading websites/applications—on the reading comprehension of Saudi undergraduates majoring in English during COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, 130 participants were selected (control: male [N = 21], female [N = 54]; or experimental: male [N = 21], female [N = 34]). Although the four gender-based groups were exposed to the same learning environments—first blended and later online, which were either partially or dependent on technology—only the male and female experimental groups were required to use graded-reading websites/applications for approximately 10 months during the COVID-19 school lockdowns. All participants took four tests (pretest, posttest 1, posttest 2, and delayed posttest). Using the SPSS program, the results indicated that the learning environments alone had a limited positive effect on the control groups’ reading comprehension in the short term, which either decreased significantly (male control group) or remained unchanged (female control group) in the long term. There were significant differences between all control groups and experimental groups across all tests (p < 0.000). However, the experimental male group outperformed their male counterpart across all posttests except for the second posttest: experimental male group mean was 15.43 whereas it was 16.19 for the control male group. However, combining learning environments and graded-reading websites/applications yielded gradual positive effects on the reading comprehension of the experimental groups in the short term, which continued into the long term for the male experimental group. The experimental groups outperformed the control groups on at least two out of three posttests. The study concluded that the effect of technology on the reading comprehension of Saudi male and female undergraduates is bounded by the type of specialized technology (i.e., reading websites/applications) and the applied learning environments (i.e., blended and online). Additionally, the study indicated that there is a need to investigate other important factors related to technology used in Saudi institutes, as well as its effects on students’ learning processes in ongoing changes in the education sector in Saudi Arabia. Full article
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Article
Administrators and Students on E-Learning: The Benefits and Impacts of Proper Implementation in Nigeria
Electronics 2022, 11(10), 1650; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11101650 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 337
Abstract
The quest for better education and knowledge acquisition has triggered the introduction, acceptance and incorporation of e-learning into Nigerian learning. The introduction of the concept of e-learning to Nigerian learning can be dated back to the 1980s, when reputable Nigerians enrolled in several [...] Read more.
The quest for better education and knowledge acquisition has triggered the introduction, acceptance and incorporation of e-learning into Nigerian learning. The introduction of the concept of e-learning to Nigerian learning can be dated back to the 1980s, when reputable Nigerians enrolled in several universities in London. In addition, the introduction of e-learning to a premier university in Nigeria, rooted in the college of Ibadan, led to greater interest, causing locals to seek extramural work and other studies at Oxford University. This study examines the impacts that proper educational administration, policy making and implementation, as well as the adoption of e-learning, can have to fix the dilapidated Nigerian educational structure. A quantitative method of data collection was used, through well-structured questionnaires for both administrators and students issued to the four universities sampled in this study. A total of 240 questionnaires were issued to respondents, with 60 each to the different universities and with 30 each for both students and administrators. A total of 180 were retrieved, and descriptive analysis was carried out with SPSS (23). Internal consistency was determined with Cronbach’s alpha, having an internal consistency of 0.78. The findings show that all the administrators were graduates with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. It was revealed that 32 (17.8%) of the students possessed smartphones as gadgets for e-learning and that administrators contributed to the enhancement of student performance, hence creating impacts in their examination grades, with a mean of 2.66, being rated ‘Good’ for their performance. Unfavorable government policies and unprofessionalism of administrators in e-learning implementations were the major constraints, with a mean of 4.6. The cost of the procurement of the needed resources (data) for e-learning also impacts e-learning. Internet resources used by the students contributed to huge success in e-learning for 28 (24.6%) and 24 (21.9%) students. Although the constraints limit the effectiveness of e-learning in Nigeria, it also impacts student advancement compared with the face-to-face learning process. The government’s proactive measures will improve e-learning. Full article
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Article
Smart Mobile Learning Success Model for Higher Educational Institutions in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Electronics 2022, 11(8), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11081278 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Smart mobile learning (M-learning) applications have shown several new benefits for higher educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which such applications were used to support distance learning. Therefore, this study aims to examine the most important drivers influencing the adoption of M-learning [...] Read more.
Smart mobile learning (M-learning) applications have shown several new benefits for higher educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which such applications were used to support distance learning. Therefore, this study aims to examine the most important drivers influencing the adoption of M-learning by using the technology acceptance model (TAM). The structural equation modelling (SEM) method was used to test the hypotheses in the proposed model. Data were collected via online questionnaires from 520 undergraduate and postgraduate students at four universities in Saudi Arabia. Partial least squares (PLS)–SEM was used to analyse the data. The findings indicated that M-learning acceptance is influenced by three main factors, namely, awareness, IT infrastructure (ITI), and top management support. This research contributes to the body of knowledge on M-learning acceptance practices. Likewise, it may help to facilitate and promote the acceptance of M-learning among students in Saudi universities. Full article
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Article
‘Should I Turn on My Video Camera?’ The Students’ Perceptions of the use of Video Cameras in Synchronous Distant Learning
Electronics 2022, 11(5), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11050813 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 799
Abstract
One of the challenges teachers and students face in online synchronous learning is not turning on their video cameras. The reasons are multitasking, being concerned about the background, psychological barriers, and poor internet connection. In this study, social presence theory (SPT) was employed [...] Read more.
One of the challenges teachers and students face in online synchronous learning is not turning on their video cameras. The reasons are multitasking, being concerned about the background, psychological barriers, and poor internet connection. In this study, social presence theory (SPT) was employed as the theoretical lens to understand the possible impacts of video cameras in synchronous online learning. Social presence allows individuals to make personal characteristics visible to the community. Students experience greater levels of trust and rapport because of verbal and nonverbal cues that occur when video cameras are turned on in video conferencing. The use of video cameras in synchronous distant learning creates intimacy and immediacy, leading to teacher–learner social presence, which leads to dialog. The phenomenographic study was carried out to analyze the students’ perceptions of the phenomena. The eighty-two first-year undergraduate and doctoral students took part in the study. It showed that students perceive a video camera as a tool for cooperation, as well as for self-discipline and self-control. The students relate the use of video cameras with quality studies, the ability to interact, and to be a part of the process. They feel less inclined to participate when their cameras are off. That leads to the weaker student–teacher relationship, which is achieved with a higher social presence. It is essential to see one other to strengthen students’ motivation, sense of belonging, and community in the courses for first-year students who are still developing learning habits and social networks. Full article
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Article
A Competency Framework for Teaching and Learning Innovation Centers for the 21st Century: Anticipating the Post-COVID-19 Age
Electronics 2022, 11(3), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11030413 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1460
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the globe moved towards “emergency online education”, experiencing a metamorphosis that advanced their capacities and competencies as never before. Teaching and Learning Centers (TLCs), the internal units that promote sustainable transformations, can play [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the globe moved towards “emergency online education”, experiencing a metamorphosis that advanced their capacities and competencies as never before. Teaching and Learning Centers (TLCs), the internal units that promote sustainable transformations, can play a key role in making this metamorphosis last. Existing models for TLCs have defined the competencies that they could help develop, focusing on teachers’, students’, and managers’ development, but have mislead aspects such as leadership, organizational processes, and infrastructures. This paper evaluates the PROF-XXI framework, which offers a holistic perspective on the competencies that TLCs should develop for supporting deep and sustainable transformations of HEIs. The framework was evaluated with 83 participants from four Latin American institutions and used for analyzing the transformation of their teaching and learning practices during the pandemic lockdown. The result of the analysis shows that the PROF-XXI framework was useful for identifying the teaching and learning competencies addressed by the institutions, their deficiencies, and their strategic changes. Specifically, this study shows that most institutions counted with training plans for teachers before this period, mainly in the competencies of digital technologies and pedagogical quality, but that other initiatives were created to reinforce them, including students’ support actions. Full article
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Article
Applicability of Collaborative Work in the COVID-19 Era: Use of Breakout Groups in Teaching L2 Translation
Electronics 2021, 10(22), 2846; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222846 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 689
Abstract
Social distancing became a must during the pandemic, which not only had implications for people’s social lives, but also for their learning. Collaborative work was almost impossible, especially in the classroom, despite a great need for this approach. For example, in their translation [...] Read more.
Social distancing became a must during the pandemic, which not only had implications for people’s social lives, but also for their learning. Collaborative work was almost impossible, especially in the classroom, despite a great need for this approach. For example, in their translation classes, the learners needed to collaborate with their peers, assisting each other in translating texts. Thus, the use of breakout groups is proposed in this study, although there is no guarantee that learners will accept this online approach. Consequently, the current research looks at learners’ acceptance of breakout groups on Blackboard in a translation class. To examine their acceptance, an existing scale was used, developed by Davis (1989) to measure two factors of technology acceptance: perceived usefulness and ease of use. A sample of 54 students on a Translation course at Al-Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, participated in this study. The results show that the learners found breakout groups on Blackboard to be useful and easy to use. Full article
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Article
Self-Assessment of Soft Skills of University Teachers from Countries with a Low Level of Digital Competence
Electronics 2021, 10(20), 2532; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10202532 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
The lockdown of March and April 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced relevant changes in the educational environment in a very short period of time, making it necessary to suspend in-person instruction and generating the need to implement virtual [...] Read more.
The lockdown of March and April 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced relevant changes in the educational environment in a very short period of time, making it necessary to suspend in-person instruction and generating the need to implement virtual learning mechanisms. In a future post-COVID-19 hybrid educational model, it will be necessary for university teachers to acquire an optimal degree of digital competence, as a combination of different competencies, namely, (i) technical, (ii) digital, and (iii) soft. Soft skills have been shown to have a decisive influence on the development of digital competence. The aim of this study was to analyze the degree of acquisition of soft skills in Latin American university teachers whose countries are less digitally developed. For this purpose, the countries with the lowest Global Innovation Index (GII) were selected: (i) Panama; (ii) Peru; (iii) Argentina; (iv) El Salvador; (v) Ecuador; (vi) Paraguay; (vii) Honduras; and (viii) Bolivia. To achieve this objective, it was necessary to develop a questionnaire on the self-concept of soft skills, based on the soft skills included in the Bochum Inventory of Personality and Competences (BIP). Results obtained from statistical analysis of the data collected from a sample of 219 participants show that university teachers are sufficiently prepared, in terms of their soft skills, for the increase in digital competence required as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, despite the low level of digital development in their respective countries. Full article
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Article
The Decision-Making Process and the Construction of Online Sociality through the Digital Storytelling Methodology
Electronics 2021, 10(20), 2465; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10202465 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 833
Abstract
Digital storytelling (DST) is a teaching methodology (and tool) that is very widespread in different types of training: formal and informal, professional, and for adults. Presently, education is evolving and moving towards digital storytelling, starting from the models of Lambert and Olher. Today, [...] Read more.
Digital storytelling (DST) is a teaching methodology (and tool) that is very widespread in different types of training: formal and informal, professional, and for adults. Presently, education is evolving and moving towards digital storytelling, starting from the models of Lambert and Olher. Today, although DST is usually used in the training that students receive for narrative learning, experimentation on the psychological and social consequences of this online teaching practice is still scarce. The literature acknowledges the widespread use of DST online, from psychology to communication and from marketing to training, providing Lambert’s and Olher’s models as references. Thus, the purpose of experimentation in this subject has been to try to mix these two models by selecting the phases of the model that focus most on creativity and narrative writing. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the experimentation conducted in the initial training of teachers to monitor the processes of negotiating content, making decisions and building a group atmosphere through the use of a narrative technique in an educational context. The sample was offered comprehension activities on narrative categories, creativity and autobiographical writing. The process in the group choice phase (negotiation) of the story was monitored through a questionnaire that includes three scales (the Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire, Organisational Attitude, and Negotiations Self-Assessment Inventory). The study concluded that the standardised planning of activities that, to a greater degree of depth, promote participation and emotional involvement allows the creation of strong group thinking and affects the decision-making and negotiation processes of the activities being carried out by the participants. Full article
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Article
Using Artificial Intelligence to Predict Class Loyalty and Plagiarism in Students in an Online Blended Programming Course during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Electronics 2021, 10(18), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10182203 - 09 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
During the COVID-19 epidemic, most programming courses were revised to distance learning. However, many problems occurred, such as students pretending to be actively learning while actually being absent and students engaging in plagiarism. In most existing systems, obtaining status updates on the progress [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, most programming courses were revised to distance learning. However, many problems occurred, such as students pretending to be actively learning while actually being absent and students engaging in plagiarism. In most existing systems, obtaining status updates on the progress of a student’s learning is hard. In this paper, we first define the term “class loyalty”, which means that a student studies hard and is willing to learn without using any tricks. Then, we propose a novel method combined with the parsing trees of program codes and the fuzzy membership function to detect plagiarism. Additionally, the fuzzy membership functions combined with a convolution neural network (CNN) are used to predict which students obtain high scores and high class loyalty. Two hundred and twenty-six students were involved in the experiments. The dataset was randomly separated into the training datasets and the test datasets for twenty runs. The average accuracies of the experiment in predicting which students obtain high scores using the fuzzy membership function combined with a CNN and using the duration and number of actions are 93.34% and 92.62%. The average accuracies of the experiment in predicting which students have high class loyalty are 95.00% and 92.74%. Both experiments show that our proposed method not only can detect plagiarism but also can be used to detect which students are diligent. Full article
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Article
A Conceptual Model to Investigate the Role of Mobile Game Applications in Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Electronics 2021, 10(17), 2106; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10172106 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, educational mobile games may play a significant role to facilitate students’ learning. Several studies have indicated that these games using mobile phones may improve students’ learning motivation and effectiveness when they are equipped with appropriate learning strategies. However, investigating [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, educational mobile games may play a significant role to facilitate students’ learning. Several studies have indicated that these games using mobile phones may improve students’ learning motivation and effectiveness when they are equipped with appropriate learning strategies. However, investigating the impact of learning strategies in students’ utilization of educational mobile games has received little scholarly attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this research proposed two learning games scenarios to fill this gap. In the first scenario, students were offered an educational mobile game with a learning strategy called ‘scaffolding strategy’; while in the second scenario, the same game was offered without the strategy. To achieve this objective, an experimental design with a research model was developed to examine the role of scaffolding learning strategy in students’ use of educational mobile games. In this experimental study, 43 students from two classes participated in the two learning scenarios. The results indicate that educational mobile gaming with the scaffolding learning strategy significantly influenced students’ utilization of the mobile game. In addition, the adoption of the learning strategy significantly affected students’ perceived enjoyment, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and behavioural intention to use, compared with the same game without the learning strategy. The results also indicate that the introduction of the scaffolding learning strategy into the educational mobile game will increase students’ learning effectiveness and motivation. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Cooperative Skills Development through Relational Coordination in a Gamified Online Learning Environment
Electronics 2021, 10(16), 2032; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10162032 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 959
Abstract
One of the main problems of the sudden digital transition to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased isolation of students. On the other hand, one of the main goals of higher education is to develop students’ cooperative competence. This [...] Read more.
One of the main problems of the sudden digital transition to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased isolation of students. On the other hand, one of the main goals of higher education is to develop students’ cooperative competence. This experimental study presents an online learning environment, consisting of a set of web-based resources such as virtual laboratories, interactive activities, educational videos and a game-based learning methodology. The study also examines the influence of the combination of such resources with active and collaborative learning on the improvement of students’ relationships and the development of cooperative competence. To this end, an analysis was conducted based on the data collected from a core subject of the Computer Engineering and Computer Science Engineering degree courses. The answers of an online survey (n = 289) were examined by using the structural equation modeling technique (SEM). The results suggest that the proposed learning environment has a significant and positive impact on the two dimensions of relational coordination; communication and relationships, and plays a key role in the acquisition and development of cooperative competence. Findings also indicate that effective, accurate, frequent and timely communication, positively influences on students’ relationships. Additionally, this study addresses other important issues with significant theoretical and practical implications for higher education. Full article
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