MA Learning and Technology Theses

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    Motivation, engagement, and effectiveness of serious games for teaching cyber security and database defense
    (2022-10-04) Guichon, Patrick; Christie, Jordanne
    This study uses an exploratory case study methodology, employing a mixed methods approach to explore the merits of a serious game, called Database Defender, to improve motivation, engagement, and learning of cybersecurity topics specifically database threats, database backup, and recovery. Results from Likert scale, open-ended questions, and interview responses show that game-based learning can be an effective way to increase or maintain a high level of motivation, be highly engaging, be very enjoyable, and reinforce knowledge taught in class on the topic of database defense to higher education students. Pre-test and post-test score differences showed no statistical significance between the control and game groups. However, student responses on the post-test indicated that students in the game group (as compared to the control group) demonstrated a better understanding and remembered the aspects of database defense, which the game sought to teach. This study fills a gap in the literature applying digital game-based learning to the specific topic of cybersecurity and database defense and to a specific audience of higher education students.
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    Seeing all the facts you learned : the lived learning experience of students in a pedagogically-focused virtual reality experience
    (2022-07-20) MacKay, Michael Bryan; DeVries, Irwin
    This thesis aimed to explore presence and learning in virtual reality through a qualitative lens. A virtual learning environment was designed and constructed that accurately mimicked the local solar system to facilitate this inquiry. Five grade nine participants were selected purposefully based on the sample criteria. Data were collected primarily through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis methodologies. Four themes arose from the analysis, leading to the discussion of three significant findings and recommendations. A tiered approach to presence is suggested to solve the conflicts between contemporary presence and learning, where presence can be viewed as the cognitive acceptance of a virtual event, not as real, but as a reasonable facsimile. The concept of autonomy illusion is introduced, in which learners experience a sense of autonomy empowered through the virtual environment. Finally, it is recommended that the K-12 system embrace non-symbolic knowledge to help re-contextualize learning.
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    Strengths and superpowers : revolutionary experiences of school district sixty-four during the COVID-19 pivot
    (2021-09-08) Gedak, Lisa Ruth
    In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in sudden school closures worldwide, including the critical learning years from early kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12). Teachers, students, parents, administrators, and staff were thrust into learning at a distance. This qualitative case study focussed on a specific islands district in British Columbia, Canada, where the school community's personal experiences during the pandemic were examined. An Appreciative Inquiry approach was used to investigate the voices of everyone in the school community in this unique District with the hope of positively impacting future district decisions. Data was collected through an online survey, interviews, and a mini focus group. Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of three central themes: (1) reciprocal learning, (2) the adoption of technology, and (3) re-imagining the curriculum. The results of this study include recommendations, strategies, and actions for decision-makers to consider for the future of education delivery in K-12 districts worldwide.
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    Breaking barriers : understanding and removing barriers to OER use
    (2020-12-04) Carson, Brandon Thomas
    While there are many benefits to the use of OER, such as cost savings for students, increased access to resources, and the ability for faculty to adapt the resources to meet their specific needs, new and experienced faculty members also face many barriers when attempting to incorporate Open Educational Resources (OER) into their courses. Research suggests that awareness, funding, time, and institutional supports are factors that impact faculty using or not using OER. The purpose of this research was to investigate the barriers that business faculty in Ontario colleges face when using OER within their teaching practices and determine if faculty have recommendations to overcome the barriers to using OER. Based on a review of the literature on OER and the barriers business faculty experience when using OER, a mixed-method approach was used in this research. The study focused on Ontario college faculty teaching business courses. Data was collected via a survey and follow-up interviews. Seventy-two respondents from 12 Ontario colleges responded to the survey. Nine participated in follow-up interviews. Respondents were asked about their experiences using OER, the barriers they faced, and solutions to overcome them. A thematic and cross tabulation analysis of the responses demonstrated that faculty are introduced to OER in different ways, and institutions have unique approaches to supporting faculty with OER. Faculty experience barriers to using OER, such as no suitable resources, awareness, knowledge, support, and institutional processes. Faculty outlined ways to overcome such barriers, including but not limited to professional development, creation of new high-quality content, time to create the resources, and enhanced collaboration and networking efforts.
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    Trades student's perceptions of their experiences in the co-creation of OER
    (2020-11-17) Flinn, Chad
    This research study explored the perception of trades students in the co-creation of OER. This study used a mixed-methods case study approach to examine the impact of the co-creation of OER on first-year electrical trades students. As open education continues to grow and expand, vocational education and its students could find value in adopting the tools that OER use affords, and trades could offer their distinct voice to the conversation. In this study, students participated in creating open textbooks on various topics. Data collection was based on a questionnaire with 18 participants and interviews conducted with nine participants. The qualitative analysis revealed five themes in the student’s perception in the creation of OER: accessibility, value of co-creation, digital literacy skills, value of peer and self-assessment, and student agency. Overall, participants found the process enjoyable and that it had a positive impact on their vocational education.