Recommendations for Further Research
This course project has several recommendations for future study which follows this empirical study. Further research in the field of distance education is guided by the empirical study by Olaf Zawacki-Richter summarized in the next two based primarily upon the Delphi study conducted by Olaf Zawacki-Richter, at FernUniversität, in Hagen, Germany (Research Areas in Distance Education: A Delphi Study, 2009). What is appreciated most about his study was the balanced rationale he utilized between the most important areas of research in juxtaposition with the most neglected areas of research in distance education. This research method derived three broad levels of perspectives with 15 research areas that organize a body of knowledge in distance education.
The three broad levels of perspectives of distance education research according to Zawacki-Richter are:
Macro level: Distance Education and Theories
Meso level: Management, Organization and Technology
Micro level: Teaching and Learning in Distance Education
The table on the next page shows the three levels along with the 15 research areas.
Zawacki-Richter reached two important conclusions about distance education. (2009)
The field has been dominated by research in the areas of technology, increased interactivity through new media, and instructional design issues.
The results suggest that there is a shift from technology-centered research to areas that focus on management and change in distance education institutions. It can be concluded that all aspects related to educational management are growing in importance (strategy and leadership, change management, quality assurance, costs etc.). (Zawacki-Richter, 2009)
Edublogging Future Study
There are six emerging questions and recommendations for future study as it relates to Edublogging and Distance Education, 1) Blogger Evolution and Self-Directed Learning, 2) Gender and Social Media, 3) Reader Participation and Contribution, 4) Qualitative Assessment of Blog Content, 5) Responsibility to Verify Facts and 6) Value Judgments about Media and Copyright.
A study on how a blogger hones their skills would be valuable. The evolution of the professional blogger and how they can grow their readership base is a constant source of pursuit in the blogosphere. This could produce a future study that investigates the correlation between self-directed learners and bloggers.
The second set of questions relates to gender and how it influences the use and adoption of social media. Female bloggers seemed more concerned about community. They also interacted more with readers that left comments on their blogs. Some research is required to ascertain aspects of social media and gender in order to know how this difference is manifested.
The third set of questions relates to how and when readers chose to post comments. What motivates a reader to write a comment against a blog post? The behaviors of blog readers require further study and analysis.
The fourth area of future study relates to blog content assessment and quality assessment tools. Work is underway as it relates to linguistics, mode and pattern of speech, how is intelligence communicated and interacted upon.
The fifth future study correlates to responsibility. Verification of the validity of information is the bloggers responsibility. This problem is currently seen with Wikipedia. Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page. Who is the reference validation point for a blog if it isn’t the blogger, the reader?
The sixth future study relates to copyright and how is information value perceived and measured. A Creative Commons license on a blog page makes a strong statement about copyright but what fortifies and strengthens that attribution? Future study is needed to learn how
netizens make distinctions on the value of media sources.