Special Issue "Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carina Soledad González-González
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Engineering and Systems, Faculty of Science, Avda. Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, s/n, University of La Laguna, 38200 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Interests: intelligent tutoring systems; intelligent interfaces; human centered design; UX; serious games; gamification; e-learning; digital culture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. María Soledad Ramírez Montoya
Website
Guest Editor
School of Humanities and Education, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Av. Eugenio Garza Sada 2501 Sur, Col. Tecnológico, C.P. 64849, Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
Interests: educational innovation; teaching strategies; technological resources for education; remote environments; formation of educational media; open educational movement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Technologies are omnipresent in academic institutions, and they are changing their offerings and their methodologies. In this sense, learning platforms have appended various technological extensions (video conferencing, video streaming, extensions for mobile, devices, digital repositories, learning analytics, blockchain, and others), and they are being integrated into both physical smart campuses and cloud campuses. New innovative methods and strategies are emerging from this technological revolution, such as flipped classroom or mobile learning. Further, there is currently a wide range of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by different institutions and providers around the world. This openness is raising the visibility of and providing open access to the cultural, scientific, and academic outputs of institutions and democratizing the access to the education of society.

This Special Issue aims to cover all aspects of open education, such as open educational resources (OER), open content, open access initiatives, open learning systems, emerging open learning technologies and innovative methods, as well as any innovation strategies and experiences of open education. Our main goal is to bring ideas about the challenges and future of open education.

We welcome submissions from all topics of open education, including but not limited to the following:

  • Open Educational Resources
  • Open content
  • Open access initiatives
  • Open learning systems
  • Emerging technologies and innovative methods
  • Experiences of Open Education
  • Massive Open Courses
  • Blockchain
  • Learning analytics
  • Legal issues and intellectual property

Dr. Carina Soledad González-González
Dr. María Soledad Ramírez Montoya
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Open Educational Resources
  • Open content
  • Open access initiatives
  • Open learning systems
  • Emerging technologies and innovative methods
  • Experiences of Open Education
  • Massive Open Courses
  • Blockchain
  • Learning analytics
  • Legal issues and intellectual property

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Challenge of Teaching Mobile Journalism through MOOCs: A Case Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135307 - 30 Jun 2020
Abstract
Smartphones have become a key social tool: They have changed the way people consume, receive and produce information, providing potentially anyone with the opportunity to create and share content through a variety of platforms. The use of smartphones for gathering, producing, editing and [...] Read more.
Smartphones have become a key social tool: They have changed the way people consume, receive and produce information, providing potentially anyone with the opportunity to create and share content through a variety of platforms. The use of smartphones for gathering, producing, editing and disseminating news gave birth to a new journalistic practice, mobile journalism. Incorporating mobile journalism is, thus, the current challenge for journalism educators. Our article aims at discovering whether new models of education, such as massive online courses, can help mobile journalism training. The research focuses on the first pilot project of a massive open online courses (MOOC) on mobile journalism, the Y-NEX MOOC. By assessing structure, functioning and participants’ opinion, the objective is to discover if MOOCs prove to be useful tools in mobile journalism training. Results show that this model of distance open learning can be helpful for mobile journalism training, providing some recommendations for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Could MOOC-Takers’ Behavior Discuss the Meaning of Success-Dropout Rate? Players, Auditors, and Spectators in a Geographical Analysis Course about Natural Risks
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4878; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124878 - 15 Jun 2020
Abstract
Research interest in massive online and open courses (MOOCs) is rapidly growing, questioning who enrolls, why and how to conceive engagement, and success rates. This study is focused on MOOC-takers behavior obtained from a seven-week MOOC experience on natural risks. Data scraping principles [...] Read more.
Research interest in massive online and open courses (MOOCs) is rapidly growing, questioning who enrolls, why and how to conceive engagement, and success rates. This study is focused on MOOC-takers behavior obtained from a seven-week MOOC experience on natural risks. Data scraping principles have been used to collect data. Demographics, success-dropout rates, engagement periods, achievement and scoring, and behavior were analyzed through descriptive statistics, non-parametric correlation analysis, and statistical hypothesis testing. The results show that students who start earlier and those who finish earlier the course obtain better grades in some of the modules (motivation and background on natural risks could be the explanation). However, for ‘last moment students’, speed in passing the modules is either related to greater motivation, although in this case it is not related to better grades. Furthermore, students who complete tasks during the weekend take less time to complete the modules and obtain a better grade. In addition, a learning strategy is promoted by reconsidering who is learning: players (those who complete the course and earning a certificate), auditors (those who have completed a thematic unit or the whole module, earning partial knowledge), and spectators (those enrolled until the end of the course, who intend earning experience in e-learning). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Dashboard for Evaluating the Quality of Open Learning Courses
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3941; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093941 - 11 May 2020
Abstract
Universities are developing a large number of Open Learning projects that must be subject to quality evaluation. However, these projects have some special characteristics that make the usual quality models not respond to all their requirements. A fundamental part in a quality model [...] Read more.
Universities are developing a large number of Open Learning projects that must be subject to quality evaluation. However, these projects have some special characteristics that make the usual quality models not respond to all their requirements. A fundamental part in a quality model is a visual representation of the results (a dashboard) that can facilitate decision making. In this paper, we propose a complete model for evaluating the quality of Open Learning courses and the design of a dashboard to represent its results. The quality model is hierarchical, with four levels of abstraction: components, elements, attributes and indicators. An interesting contribution is the definition of the standards in the form of fulfillment levels, that are easier to interpret and allow using a color code to build a heat map that serves as a dashboard. It is a regular nonagon, divided into sectors and concentric rings, in which each color intensity represents the fulfillment level reached by each abstraction level. The resulting diagram is a compact and visually powerful representation, which allows the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the Open Learning course. A case study of an Ecuadorian university is also presented to complete the description and draw new conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of E-Proctoring in Online Teaching: A Study about Motivational Factors
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083488 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Most online teaching institutions still do not offer complete remote teaching, requiring the physical presence of the student in the evaluation process (for supervisory reasons), which could aggravate the evaluation and certification in massive open online teaching. Although, there are already e-proctoring tools [...] Read more.
Most online teaching institutions still do not offer complete remote teaching, requiring the physical presence of the student in the evaluation process (for supervisory reasons), which could aggravate the evaluation and certification in massive open online teaching. Although, there are already e-proctoring tools (electronic proctoring) that allow this process to be carried out remotely, without requiring that physical presence. For this reason, and in order for this complete remote teaching to be extended to institutions that do not yet believe in the success of its implementation, this study, through a bibliographic study and a causal study carried out by experts in online teaching, focuses on locating the determining motivational factors when accepting and implementing this evaluation system as a method of remote supervision and tries to encourage its use through them. The list obtained consists of the following motivational factors: Quality management, available information, external conditioning, trust, perceived compatibility, perceived usefulness, attitude and intention, and the most decisive factor in this whole process is trust (which would be the extent of security and privacy that institutions have in the use of this tool). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Protected Users: A Moodle Plugin To Improve Confidentiality and Privacy Support through User Aliases
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2548; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062548 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The privacy policies, terms, and conditions of use in any Learning Management System (LMS) are one-way contracts. The institution imposes clauses that the student can accept or decline. Students, once they accept conditions, should be able to exercise the rights granted by the [...] Read more.
The privacy policies, terms, and conditions of use in any Learning Management System (LMS) are one-way contracts. The institution imposes clauses that the student can accept or decline. Students, once they accept conditions, should be able to exercise the rights granted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, students cannot object to data processing and public profiling because it would be conceived as an impediment to teachers to execute their work with normality. Nonetheless, regarding GDPR and consulted legal advisors, a student could claim identity anonymization in the LMS, if adequate personal justifications are provided. Per contra, the current LMSs do not have any functionality that enables identity anonymization. This is a big problem that generates undesired situations which urgently requires a definitive solution. In this work, we surveyed students and teachers to validate the feasibility and acceptance of using aliases to anonymize their identity in LMSs as a sustainable solution to the problem. Considering the positive results, we developed a user-friendly plugin for Moodle that enables students’ identity anonymization by the use of aliases. This plugin, presented in this work and named Protected users, is publicly available online at GitHub and published under GNU General Public License. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Technological Ecosystems in Citizen Science: A Framework to Involve Children and Young People
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1863; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051863 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Young people are distinguished as a social group with the capacity to drive new behaviours and understandings in today’s society. However, most young people consider that people in charge of decision-making processes are not addressing their concerns. The WYRED project proposes a framework [...] Read more.
Young people are distinguished as a social group with the capacity to drive new behaviours and understandings in today’s society. However, most young people consider that people in charge of decision-making processes are not addressing their concerns. The WYRED project proposes a framework for citizen science based on a technological ecosystem to promote the transfer of perspectives, ideas, and knowledge among young people and decision-makers on issues related to the digital society. The work goal is to analyse the model proposed through a citizen science case study centred in identifying the ideas and opinions of children and young people between 7 and 30 years old, concerning gender stereotypes on the Internet. A total of 69 children and young people from Belgium, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom have interacted for two weeks in a private space guaranteed by the defined ecosystem. The results of the analysis of the interaction between young people and facilitators (with different profiles: educators, researchers and decision-makers) demonstrate that the use of technological ecosystems to sustain the development of citizen science projects allows for the improvement of knowledge transfer processes between children and young people with stakeholders, as well as the analysis of these processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Unveiling the Relationship between the Use of Open Educational Resources and the Adoption of Open Teaching Practices in Higher Education
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205637 - 13 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to advance the understanding of the way university educators currently adopt open educational practices (OEP) by analyzing the relation between the use of open educational resources (OER) and the implementation of open teaching practices. The results are [...] Read more.
The goal of this paper is to advance the understanding of the way university educators currently adopt open educational practices (OEP) by analyzing the relation between the use of open educational resources (OER) and the implementation of open teaching practices. The results are based on data collected through an online survey among 724 university educators. Depending on the actual use of OER and open teaching practices by the survey respondents, we have categorized them along a scale that goes from “novice” to “expert”, and we analyzed the data to evaluate their use of OER and their adoption of open teaching practices, looking for relationships between the two phenomena. The main finding of this paper, which confirms the latest research findings from the open education community, is that a strong relationship exists between the two dimensions: The more an educator uses OER, the more he will probably adopt open teaching practices, and vice versa. These results are discussed with a view to use this virtuous circle between the use of open content and adoption of open teaching as a way to build generalized open education capacity among universities’ teaching staff. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Open Educational Resources and Practices in China: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184867 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The concepts of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP), regarded as two pillars of the broader open education movement, have been evolving since the concept of OER was first coined in the 2012 Paris Declaration. Several research studies have been [...] Read more.
The concepts of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP), regarded as two pillars of the broader open education movement, have been evolving since the concept of OER was first coined in the 2012 Paris Declaration. Several research studies have been conducted to investigate the impacts of OER and OEP adoption and implementation in universities. However, most of those studies have focused on western and developed countries, and little information is known about developing countries, especially Asian ones. Particularly, China was one of the first Asian countries to adopt open education and its related strategies following the MIT OpenCourseWare conference in Beijing in 2003. This study conducts a systematic literature review to investigate the current state of the art of OER and OEP in China. The findings show that several governmental, organizational, and institutional initiatives have been launched to facilitate OER adoption in China. They also show that while several OEPs have been implemented, there is still a continuous need to work on these practices and further investigate their impacts on learning outcomes and behaviors, as no current reviewed study has done so. Finally, a generic framework of OER and OEP challenges is presented along with recommendations to further enhance the adoption of OER and OEP in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
E-Mentoring in Higher Education: A Structured Literature Review and Implications for Future Research
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114344 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mentoring in higher education helps learners acclimate to a new academic topic, increases the likelihood of academic success, and reduces attrition. Learners rely on the expertise and experience of mentors to help them graduate in a timely manner and advance on to their [...] Read more.
Mentoring in higher education helps learners acclimate to a new academic topic, increases the likelihood of academic success, and reduces attrition. Learners rely on the expertise and experience of mentors to help them graduate in a timely manner and advance on to their career. As online and distance education becomes more pervasive, computer-mediated mentoring allows learners to connect with their mentors in new ways. Research about mentoring in higher education includes investigations into the efficacy of virtual or e-mentoring. We conducted a literature review of research from 2009 to 2019 to identify relevant elements for implementing e-mentoring programs in higher education. Our research revealed that there is a consistent interest in the subject matter within educational research; however, there is a gap on virtual mentoring in higher education for students conducting offsite internships. Our research reviews e-mentoring programs, identifies how these programs are evaluated, identifies factors of successful programs, and establishes a research agenda in areas of e-mentoring programs for students in offsite internships and how they can be structured to achieve the same level of success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Open Education)
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