Cultural Differences in Academic Online Courses Quality Perception and Assessment

Cultural Differences in Academic Online Courses Quality Perception and Assessment

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Cultural Differences in Academic Online Courses Quality Perception and Assessment Manuela Milani ULP - Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg - France [email protected] Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore the notion of quality of online education verifying if there’s a relation between this concept and the cultural dimension. The paper is part of a PhD research aimed at exploring the impact of cultural dimensions on the design of online courses. In particular, we intend to reveal differences between online courses' models designed in universities from different European areas in order to uncover which of them can be connected to the cultural dimension they belong. Introduction Nowadays an increasing number of virtual campuses are available and virtual mobility is becoming a reality for a large number of students (see, as an example of this trend, the relevance recognised to virtual campuses by the European Commission, Decision No 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003, by encouraging the development of new organisational models for European universities – virtual campuses - and for European exchange and sharing schemes - virtual mobility - within the framework of activities of the eLearning Programme). In the last years this trend has been faced mainly from a technological point of view, concentrating the research efforts to understand how contents could be shared and so standards as CANCOR, AICC, SCORM, LOM have been developed. However another aspect has to be taken into consideration: the methodological one, at the moment underestimated. Different actors – and in particular teachers - took part in the building of various cross-national teaching and learning models as well as new social and organisational patterns. However, the multicultural dimension of this new environment is still not investigated, in particular the notion of “online teaching” quality is still unknown and under-exploited. This paper collocate this issue within a more general framework of a PhD research aimed at exploring the impact of cultural dimensions on the design of online courses. In particular, the research is aimed to reveal differences between online courses' models designed in universities belonging to different European areas, in order to uncover which of them can be connected to the cultural dimension they belong. Cultural differences and online teaching and learning The most evident feature of the current literature, in terms of the aim of our research, is the almost exclusive focus on the cultural differences emerging from Western-non Western learning contexts, being non-Western, in most cases, the Asian (Robinson 1999; Shattuck 2005) and, just in some cases, the Arabian (Al-Harthi 2005) students. The discussion of Western emphasis on individualism and of Eastern emphasis on collectivism (referring to the seminar work of Hofstede on cultural dimensions and differences) is well documented into the educational cross-cultural literature, but also here the term
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2011 for the course PUK 202 taught by Professor Roth during the Spring '10 term at Universität Klagenfurt.

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Cultural Differences in Academic Online Courses Quality Perception and Assessment

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