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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 159-162

Evaluating the curriculum in virtual education at Payame Nour University

1 Department of Educational Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Educational Science, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication6-Jun-2016

Correspondence Address:
Maryam Ansari
Payame Noor University, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.183537

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Aim: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the curriculum at the Payame Nour University (PNU) virtual education. The curriculum was evaluated according to the nine elements such as: Purpose, context, learning activities, time, space, learners grouping, material, learning resources, teaching strategies, and evaluation methods. Methods: The study performed by descriptive survey. The population was selected from the PNU masters who are teaching in a virtual way randomly and consisted of 75 PNU masters from PNU in the region of Isfahan. The collected data were analyzed through statistical and inferential description. Data Analysis: It was conducted at two descriptive and inferential analysis method (in SPSS software version 18). At descriptive level the total mean and standard deviation were 3.56, 0.62 respectively. At inferential level the data analysis was done via parametric mono-variable T. test (t = 7.72). Result: The instrument was used in the study, which was designed by the researcher especially with regard to claim curriculum. The result indicated that there is a significant difference between the nine elements of the curriculum mean with the variable mean. Conclusions: According to the study, the curriculum quality of the PNU virtual education is based on the nine elements that it is evaluated higher than medium, and finally it showed that the design of the curriculum virtual system consisted of good quality.

Keywords: Curriculum, Payame Nour University, virtual education

How to cite this article:
Peykanpour F, Ansari M. Evaluating the curriculum in virtual education at Payame Nour University. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:159-62

How to cite this URL:
Peykanpour F, Ansari M. Evaluating the curriculum in virtual education at Payame Nour University. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Nov 12];2:159-62. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/3/159/183537

  Introduction Top

The fame of distance learning has culminated as a new business and a modern educational system in recent decade. Its establishment dated back to 1,700s. One of the major reasons of presenting such a system is to promote scientific level of interested people to work in the second and third occupations and avoid extravagant crowdedness in the class, as well as other old educational systems problems. Outstanding attributes of various distance educations is the separation of teacher and student in terms of space and time. Much of the recent research and the development literature on e-learning have appealed to pedagogic theory to support the argument for a particular technology application.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Artino and Stephen, in their definition of virtual learning described it including preplanned educational courses wherein the trainer and the learner are located in different places and entail specific provisions regarding educational techniques, communicative technologies with management, and organizational approach.[5] Virtual education is defined as a kind of distance education. Higher education validation council considers it, a formal educational process in which the professor and the pupil are not in the same place, and the material is rendered simultaneously or nonsimultaneously and applied technologies such as computer, voice, image, or distance correspondence. In Chahil definition, virtual education has the following features:[6]

  • It refers to the concept that the major communication between trainer and the learner is conducted separately
  • Facilitating the education process entails reciprocal communication
  • It uses technology to make reciprocal communication.

The process of curriculum evaluation in the virtual education includes recognizing advantages and Achilles heels of that curriculum. The curriculum involves the various parts and elements, which are determined through its evaluation. Every element is an applicable considering the condition, facilities, and other limitations. These elements include objectives, content, learning activities, evaluation, which is the most well-known presented conception from the elements of curriculum of Francis Klein's model hierarchy, which is composed of nine elements of objectives, content, material, learning activities, learning strategies, evaluation, grouping, time, and space.[7] Carried out studies in virtual education emphasize on the importance of issue and reinforcing this kind of education. For example, Jahanian and Etebar in a study entitled “evaluating the status of virtual education of Tehran University from the standpoint of the students” concluded that the participating students found learning through this method and the virtual education method application satisfactory in virtual education course at university electronic education center, although they did not have positive view toward virtual education.[8] Moreover, the results of the studies indicated that participating students in virtual courses have evaluated electronic learning quality at medium or above medium level.[9],[10],[11] The quality of electronic learning presentation on the part of the professors was different according to their curriculum orientation. It was observed a significant relationship between experiencing electronic learning and the quality of electronic learning presentation in the components of attending to individual differences, facilitating cooperation between students, offering feedback, and evaluation. Further, the female students valued at higher level, the quality of electronic learning comparing to male students. On the other hand, the users of electronic learning system have an appropriate access to system; enjoy suitable support; enjoy appropriate test and evaluation, use suitable sources; do not have appropriate electronic content, do not have suitable user mediator; and enjoy appropriate lessons. Furthermore, Taveira indicates accuracy is an easily collectible measurement that increases the educational value of learning objects and open-ended questions in e-learning system. This metric seems to vary in a way consistent with knowledge retention, but further investigation is necessary to ascertain the nature of such relationship. Accuracy has educational implications to students and educators, and may contribute to deliver tailored learning experiences, assess the effectiveness of instruction, and facilitate research comparing blended-learning interventions.[12] The results of another research show that some problems with the quality criteria applied in this field, and the need to develop quality seals are presented. Likewise, the dimensions and subdimensions of an empirical instrument to improve and assess the quality of online education are examined. This tool has already been applied to several educational contexts; though not definitive, it aims to improve not only specific areas, but also the whole educational approach as a system.[13] As well as Gambel, in his study, compared and investigated the effects of one electronic learning course held in China and the United States, and concluded that the increase of technology use worldwide seems to be effective in greater link between countries and makes placing an electronic learning in the form of between-cultures vocation learning unavoidable more.[14] Ellis in his research regarding the advantages of electronic and participatory learning in case of creating motivation in learners stated that the employed students are less interested in attendance education.[15] Frazeen, too, in his thesis entitled “effective factors in learning quality with web support” has addressed the relationship and the effect of some basic factors. He has divided these factors in six basic groups of organizational, educational factors, trainer, pupils, technology, and educational design.[16] Moreover, Laurillard in her paper indicates educators and scholars have found ways of using digital technologies to facilitate learning through instruction; learning through construction; learning through discussion; and learning through collaboration.[17]

However, typically, the pedagogic theory is brought in to fit what the technology offers. It may then direct the application, but it never drives technology development.

Considering the fact that the policy of Payame Nour University (PNU) is founded on distance education and also through every day development of science and information technology and new challenges internet has made in the field of education, and the fact that most of PNU students are employed they greatly welcome virtual education. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate PNU virtual education in order to be able to remove the drawbacks and identify the effective factors on its development.

  Methods Top

It had a descriptive-survey research method. The statistical population included all 128 virtual education professors in academic year 2013–14. Seventy-five individuals were selected through available sampling. The applied instrument was the researcher-made questionnaire, which considered curriculum composing of nine elements. The validity of the questionnaire was given to some professors after designing research questions which was used in its final form written in 43 items. Its reliability was achieved 0.97 through Cronbach's alpha. In order to analyze the data gotten from the study, the descriptive and inferential statistical indices were uses through applying SPSS software version 18 software. At descriptive level, frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation, and for inferential analysis the mono-variable parametric t-test was used.

  Result Top

The participants' demographic status.

The participants in this study were 75 individuals (36 females and 36 males) and three no response. The participants' educational record ranged from 1 to more than 20-year-old. Fifty-two were faculty members and 17 were invited professors. Their degrees included PhD and MA; and their majors were linguistics, statistics, biology, educational sciences, history, etc.

Afterward, the findings were collected regarding two major questions:

  • How are the elements of curriculum including objectives, content, learning activities, time, space, learners grouping, material and learning sources, teaching strategies, and evaluation methods evaluated from the viewpoint of the professors?

According to the findings of [Table 1], the mean of the elements of curriculum is above the average (given mean); in other words, there is a significant difference between the mean of curriculum elements of virtual education and the mean of assumed variable (P ≤ 0.05).
Table 1: Comparing the means of curriculum elements with the given (mean 3)

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  • How is the total scale of electronic education curriculum evaluated from the viewpoint of the professors?

According to [Table 2], the mean of total scale of evaluating curriculum is 3.56, therefore, the mean of assumed variable is larger than average level (given mean); in other words, there is a significant difference between the mean of total scale of evaluating virtual education curriculum and the assumed variable mean (P ≤ 0.05); in other words, the total scale of evaluating virtual education curriculum is evaluated more than average from the viewpoint of the professors.
Table 2: Comparing the mean of total scale of evaluating curriculum elements with the given (mean 3)

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  Conclusions Top

According to the results of this study, it can be inferred that the objectives of virtual education curriculum is highly desirable in case of clarity, flexibility, scientific structure, and adaptation to interests. Regarding the content, it is on desirable level in case of adaptation with interests, learning experiences, pupils' previous experiences, scientific structure, and flexibility. Regarding learning activities to nurture high-level cognitive skills, the increase of self-assessment and motivation, reinforcing the sense of curiosity, relationship with various learning styles and encouraging active, and group learning are evaluated at desirable level. Regarding the professors, learning strategies are evaluated at desirable level, in case of being learner-oriented, relying on different teaching methods, the pupil's active participation attending to supervising role of the professor providing various opportunities and interacting with people. Regarding grouping in virtual education curriculum reinforcing between-students relationship giving priority to group learning, flexibility in groups, and making up the groups, according to the interests have been evaluated at an average level. The material and educational sources of virtual education at PNU have been evaluated at desirable level from the viewpoint of professors in case of availability, consistency to individual features, selection based on the pupils' need being related to learning objectives and scientific validity. Regarding the viewpoint of the professors, the element of time in virtual education curriculum at PNU is at desirable level in the availability of the subject at every time and having communication with the professors at every time and having enough time to discuss and review their answers. Moreover, in virtual education curriculum at PNU, the lack of space limitation and the adaptation of educational place to learner condition are at highly desirable level; and finally, in investigating the element of evaluation the suitability of evaluation instruments with the objectives, its suitability with learning experiences, continuous supervision on evaluation strategies, administering evaluation aiming at reflection and improving learning, and also using numerous evaluation strategies are at desirable level. The achieved results of the study were along with the research conducted by Liow, Tavira, Rabiei, and Frazeen.[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[10],[11],[12]

Considering the achieved results it can be stated that the satisfaction level of PNU virtual education professors is at average level in terms of curriculum elements including objectives, content, learning strategies, learning activities, grouping, material and educational sources, time, space and evaluation; the findings show that educational record, position, degree, professors' gender, and the professors' major are not effective in professors' satisfaction from evaluating virtual education curriculum. However, the innovation in e-learning driven by pedagogic imperatives, and focused on improved learner understanding is not likely to be a major force in higher education until it is linked to the broader strategic aims for the quality and reach of teaching and learning at the highest levels in PNU.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Alexander S, Harper C, Anderson T, Golja T, Lowe D, McLaughlan R, et al. Towards a Mapping of the Field of E-Learning. Paper Presented at the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. Chesapeake, VA: AAC; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
Conole G, Oliver M. Contemporary Perspectives in E-Learning Research. London: Routledge; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 2
Garrison DR, Anderson T. E-Learning in the 21st Century. London: Routledge Falmer; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 3
Jonassen DH, Land SM. Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 4
Artino AR, Stephen JM. Beyond grades in online learning: Adaptive profiles of academic self-regulation among naval academy undergraduates. J Adv Acad 2009;20:569-601.  Back to cited text no. 5
Chahill R. What Motivates Faculty Participation in E-Learning: A Case Study of Complex Factors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of St. Thomas; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 6
Rabeie M, Mohebi S, Haji khajelo S. Examine the quality of virtual training curriculum Mashhad University. J Med Educ Dev Horiz 2010;4:29-36.  Back to cited text no. 7
Jahanian R, Etebar SH. Evaluation of virtual education in central of electronic education of Tehran University. J Inf Commun Technol Educ Sci 2012;8:53-65.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ebrahimzadeh E. The transition from traditional to virtual university of distance education: The challenge of innovation and change (case study) J Res Plann High Educ 2011;13:113-34.  Back to cited text no. 9
Liaw SS. Investigating students' perceived satisfaction, behavioral intention, and effectiveness of e-learning: A case study of the blackboard system. Comput Educ 2008;51:864-73.  Back to cited text no. 10
Byl PD. A web 2.0/hybrid platform for engaging students in e-learning enlivenments. Turk Online J Distance Educ 2007;8:103-27.  Back to cited text no. 11
Taveira-Gomes T, Prado-Costa R, Severo M, Ferreira MA. Characterization of medical students recall of factual knowledge using learning objects and repeated testing in a novel e-learning system. BMC Med Educ 2015;15:4.  Back to cited text no. 12
Barbara E. Quality in virtual education environments. Br J Educ Technol 2004;35:13-20.  Back to cited text no. 13
Gamble LA. The Effectiveness of E-Learning in a Multicultural Environment. Doctoral Dissertation, School of Business and Technology; 2009.  Back to cited text no. 14
Ellis RA, Ginns P, Piggot L. E-learning in higher education: Some key aspects and their relationship to approaches to study. High Educ Res Dev 2009;28:303-18.  Back to cited text no. 15
Fraze B. Technology to Enhance the Learning Experience; 2003. Chief Learning Officer. retrieved from: http://www.clomedia.com/articles/technology_to_enhance_the_learning_experience. [Last accessed on 2009 May 29].  Back to cited text no. 16
Laurillard D. Effective use of technology in teaching and learning in higher education. In: Baker E, Peterson P, McGaw B, editors, International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol. 4. Oxford: Elsevier. 2010. p. 419-26.  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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