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Advances in E-learning-Experiences and Methodologies

The Role of

The Role of Institutional Factors in the Formation of E-Learning Practices tate or hinder the effective use and integration of learning technology have been explored. These include technical factors such as availability, stability, and reliability, factors associated with instructional design, and, to a large extent, user related factors, namely attitudes and perceptions. Yet, these factors are typically studied in isolation and socio-organisational factors are effectively ignored. The significance of studying institutional factors stems not only from the potential role they are likely to play, and have repeatedly been shown to play in the context of information systems other than e-learning, but more crucially in the light of the prevailing mode of hybrid (or blended) e-learning. Within hybrid models of integration, the role played by the pre-existing institutional context becomes all the more important, as the technological environment is meant to complement, rather than replace, the existing and long established learning system. Findings presented in this chapter demonstrate the ways in which a set of institutional and organisational factors were drawn into the formation and shaping of e-learning practices, defined as the shared and recurrent activities that emerge from learners’ continuous interaction with learning technology. The analysis further shows that socio-organisational factors may influence e-learning implementation in various ways, as they both facilitate and hinder the technology adoption and its consequent use. The case study reported in this chapter involves the use of a standard LMS in a traditional, wellestablished university in the UK. Focus is placed on the integration of the LMS into the provision of a masters degree in a faculty of social science. Data collection encompassed three consecutive years, starting from the point at which the technology was first introduced in the institution. A research design was devised so as to guide a systematic examination of the organisational context. Relevant institutional levels were mapped out and analysed as interconnected layers (Pettigrew, 1990). At the core of this chapter is a set of institutional and socio-organisational factors impinging on e-learning which will be seen to arise from the case analysis. Factors found to figure predominantly include: (a) institutional conventions and standards, (b) institutional activities and routines, (c) organisational resources (physical, technological—other than LMS—and human), and, (d) organisational culture and social relations. After introducing the factors and demonstrating their role in the formation of e-learning practices, a discussion of their implications follows. It is argued that these parameters have particular relevance in the context of hybrid modes of e- learning implementation, as they illuminate the tensions involved in integrating technological innovation into an established system. It will be shown that in cases where technology was introduced to supplement existing arrangements, that is, to compensate for deficiencies affecting the existing “off-line” setting, the integration process was typically vigorous and accelerated. Clearly, difficulties and challenges also arose as the LMS was seen to compete or clash with its veteran offline counterpart. In some cases, interoperation and fusion were achieved through negotiation; in others, technological properties were ruled out and capabilities remained unexploited. The next part of the chapter provides a review of the literature on factors influencing the use of learning technology. Although considerable research on the topic has been undertaken, findings on the institutional and socio-organisational factors are strikingly absent. The aim of the present study is to address this gap in the e-learning literature. FActors InFLuencIng the use oF LeArnIng technoLogy Various factors that may facilitate or hinder the effective use and integration of learning technologies have been studied and are briefly reviewed

The Role of Institutional Factors in the Formation of E-Learning Practices in the following sections. A general overview is provided first, before attention is drawn to research on user perspectives, representing the most frequently studied parameter. overview of Factors Studies Some attention has been paid to strategic considerations associated with the implementation of learning technology (LT). For example, Boyd- Barret (2000) has examined six different models of universities implementing LT and identified three primary institutional and political characteristics that have critical influence on distance learning outcomes. These include private or public emphasis, degree of dedication to online learning, and holistic or incremental strategy. In addition, three secondary dimensions are considered: technology mix, financial production models, and target markets (Boyd-Barret, 2000). Williams (2003) has identified and rated organisational roles and competencies needed for successful deployment of e-learning programmes in higher education institutions. Implications for staff development and training are discussed at the managerial level. Technical factors commonly addressed in the literature include availability and access (Chiero, 1997; Tu, 2000) as well as reliability and stability of the technology in use (Webster & Hackley, 1997). Hara and Kling (2000) provided a systematic analysis of students’ distressing experience in online learning. They have demonstrated how technical difficulties and communication breakdowns emerged as significant factors that actually impede learning. In a recent study, the role of technical support in e-learning has been demonstrated (Ngai & Poon, 2007). The instructional design of the technological environment is frequently cited as a major factor affecting the ways in which learning technologies are adopted and used (Penuel & Roschelle, 1999). Information structures (Potelle & Rouet, 2003) and the nature of online learning tasks are but a few of the factors explored. It should be noted, however, that instructional design of learning technology emerges as a topic in its own right and so a comprehensive review of the subject is well beyond the scope of this chapter. The instructional style and, in particular, the role played by teachers/instructors in e-learning environments is considered a key factor affecting learning interactions online (Guldberg & Pilkington, 2007). The primary role of the e-moderator in facilitating an environment for effective learning to occur is frequently advocated (Salmon, 2000). However, this approach has been recently criticised by Oliver and Shaw (2003) as a kind of pedagogical determinism. In their study, the tutor’s enthusiasm and expertise are viewed as the major factors stimulating student engagement in asynchronous discussions. Mazzolini and Maddison (2003) have found that different roles taken by online instructors can influence students’ participation and perceptions but not always in expected ways. They conclude that the rates at which instructors participate are not simple indicators of the quality of online discussion and more subtle measures of the effectiveness of asynchronous discussion forums for learning and teaching are warranted. User Perspectives A review of the e-learning literature clearly suggests that the factors most frequently studied are those related to users’ perspectives on technology-mediated learning (Kerr and Rynearson, 2006). Research in this area focuses on attitudes towards the application of ICT in learning and on perceptions, opinions, and preferences regarding learning technology. Within studies of students’ perspectives on e-learning, perceptual and attitudinal variables are used to measure the effectiveness of the technology (Phipps & Merisotis, 1999) and as indicators of learning outcomes. For example, Webster and Hackly (1997) write “we suggest that attitudes towards a technology,

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    Advances in E-Learning: Experiences

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    Table of Contents Preface .........

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    Chapter XIV Open Source LMS Customi

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    Chapter III Philosophical and Epist

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    of constructive and cooperative met

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    Chapter XIV Open Source LMS Customi

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    contents, learning contexts, proces

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    xv these organizations do not get a

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    xvii QuALIty In e-LeArnIng Before t

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    allow that the teachers in training

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    xxi ISO. (1986). Quality-Vocabulary

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    Chapter I RAPAD: A Reflective and P

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    RAPAD in fields such as law, engine

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    RAPAD mystery to the new student. B

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    RAPAD example, whereas Laurillard h

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    RAPAD Ontologically, systems philos

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    RAPAD information related processes

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    RAPAD methods and techniques accord

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    RAPAD 2. An introduction to learnin

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    RAPAD then asked to reflect on and

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    RAPAD Figure 4. A rich picture to h

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    RAPAD Again using techniques from t

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    RAPAD university preparation course

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    RAPAD The third interface is at the

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    RAPAD Knight, P.T., & Trowler, P. (

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    RAPAD AddItIonAL reAdIngs Goodyear,

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning t

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning (

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning s

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning r

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning o

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning n

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning M

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    A Heideggerian View on E-Learning W

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    Integrating Technology and Research

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    Chapter IX AI Techniques for Monito

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    AI Techniques for Monitoring Studen

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    Chapter X Knowledge Discovery from

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Knowledge Discovery from E-Learning

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    Chapter XI Swarm-Based Techniques i

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Swarm-Based Techniques in E-Learnin

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    Chapter XII E-Learning 2.0: The Lea

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    E-Learning 2.0 Table 1. Different s

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    E-Learning 2.0 Figure 1. Difference

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    E-Learning 2.0 where the blog is al

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    E-Learning 2.0 process. Along this

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    E-Learning 2.0 forth, and, of cours

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    E-Learning 2.0 Finally, it is impor

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    E-Learning 2.0 never be a hotchpotc

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    E-Learning 2.0 McPherson, K. (2006)

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    E-Learning 2.0 Rosen, A. (2006). Te

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Telematic Environments and Competit

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    Open Source LMS Customization Intro

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    Open Source LMS Customization or ev

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    Open Source LMS Customization compa

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    Open Source LMS Customization Figur

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    Open Source LMS Customization Figur

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    Open Source LMS Customization Figur

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    Open Source LMS Customization Haina

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning p

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning r

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning t

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning p

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning m

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning c

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    Evaluation and Effective Learning H

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    Chapter XVI Formative Online Assess

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    Formative Online Assessment in E-Le

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    0 Chapter XVII Designing an Online

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Designing an Online Assessment in E

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    Quality Assessment of E-Facilitator

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    Quality Assessment of E-Facilitator

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    Quality Assessment of E-Facilitator

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    Quality Assessment of E-Facilitator

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    Quality Assessment of E-Facilitator

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    Chapter XIX E-QUAL: A Proposal to M

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    E-QUAL is proposed to evaluate the

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    E-QUAL provide competent, service-o

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    E-QUAL 2004; Scalan, 2003) and qual

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    E-QUAL benchmarks address technolog

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    E-QUAL E-learning added two differe

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    E-QUAL Table 6. Application of the

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    E-QUAL Future trends The future of

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    E-QUAL (EQO) co-located to the 4 th

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    E-QUAL SMEs: An analysis of e-learn

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    E-QUAL Meyer, K. A. (2002). Quality

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    Compilation of References Argyris,

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    Compilation of References Biggs, J.

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    Compilation of References Cabero, J

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    Compilation of References Comezaña

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    Compilation of References Downes, S

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    Compilation of References Fandos, M

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    Compilation of References national

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    Compilation of References Hudson, B

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    Compilation of References Harbour.

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    Compilation of References Little, J

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    Compilation of References Metros, S

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    Compilation of References ONeill, K

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    Compilation of References Preece, J

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    Compilation of References Sadler, D

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    Compilation of References Shin, N.,

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    Compilation of References tional Co

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    Compilation of References Vermetten

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    Compilation of References Yu, F. Y.

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    About the Contributors Juan Pablo d

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    About the Contributors part: “An

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    About the Contributors María D. R-

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    About the Contributors Applications

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    Index e-learning tools, automated p

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    Socrates 55 Sophists 55 student-foc

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