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Journal Article

Cultural Impact on Online Education Quality Perception  pp161-172

Manuela Milani

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

Numerous stakeholders in the field of education have been working on the development and extent of the use of ICT in different learning communities (higher education, vocational training) and in different multicultural contexts thanks also to EU funding opportunities. In this framework, they have participated in the building of various cross‑national teaching and learning models. The strategies which supported the development of such educational projects introducing online teaching and learning activities in the framework of European projects generally rely on the basic premise of the homogeneity of the educational systems likely to be used, and according to similar methods, the resources and training devices with ICT. This can lead to the negation of potential discrepancies, particularly cultural ones, in educational systems. The aim of this paper is to analyse the concept of "quality in online education within European Online Academic Education's context", how this concept takes shape and how it becomes — or not — part of teaching and learning practices. We decided to focus our attention on the concept of "quality" to understand the eventual impact of the cultural factor on the developing scenario of virtual education because this concept seems to be particularly revealing if we take into consideration its "open nature". The increasing number of virtual campuses reveals how common the development of teaching modules are nowadays together with complete degrees based on inter‑university and transnational collaborations with the aim of transferring learning objects from one educational context to another. Virtual mobility is thus becoming a reality for a greater number of students. However, the multicultural dimension of these new environments has not been investigated yet and in particular the notion of "online teaching quality" is still under‑exploited. This paper intends to provide a review of current works on Online Education Quality Measurement in general focusing on the investigation of Cultural Impact on Quality issues. At the same time this paper intends to shift the attention from students' to teachers' perception of quality and consequently on the possible different evaluation frameworks used within the same context: European Online Education. The paper is part of a PhD research aimed at exploring the impact of cultural dimensions on the design of online courses offered by universities from different European areas. The research notably aims to reveal differences between online courses' models, in order to uncover which one of them can be connected to the cultural dimension they belong to.

 

Keywords: cultural impact, cultural differences, quality, online education, virtual campus, virtual mobility

 

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