LIDA101 Choosing a research topic

This forum is part of the learning pathway to find and select open resources. Your search for open resources will be directed by the research topic you choose.

You are invited to share:

  1. Your draft research question
  2. Why you chose the topic
  3. Justifications why this is a good question for academic research

Feel free to reply to posts and offer support and/or advice to your peers.


I am considering the following research question:

How do digital literacies influence civic participation?

All feedback is welcome.


@megingle I think we are meant to be here in this pre-established forum page.

Likely to be a very interesting research topic. Are you thinking about agency or how lack of digital literacies deter civic engagement or both. The challenge with any research question is going too wide. The other issue is getting a sense of what published (and open access) literature is available on the topic.

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I was thinking about how lack of digital literacies could deter civic engagement and understanding of the role of government. My partner’s response was that my initial question sounds like a topic for a PhD :joy:

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We are living in the digital world. e-governance is playing a major role in administration. Educational institutions are using ICT tools in teaching, learning, research and evaluation. Media and entertainment organizations are using ICT. Transport and other departments are digitalized. There is no field which was untouched my ICT. There is a huge influence of digitalization on public.


@amareswaran yes, I absolutely agree. So full participation in modern society, including civic matters like voting or engaging with government, require digital literacies.

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I’m also now thinking about “Can open online education reduce societal inequalities?”


That’s a sharper focus - you can expand when you tackle the PhD.

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What about those who participate but don’t have digital literacies? What do they represent as a portion of the population? What do they do to the outcomes?

@vtaylor yes, those are good points — were you replying to my initial question about civic participation or the second question idea about open education and societal inequalities?

After thinking more, here are my thoughts/ideas.

  1. I have decided on the question: Can open online education reduce societal inequalities?

  2. I have chosen this topic because I am interested the topic and several related matters like the digital divide while still seeing the potential for open online education.

  3. I think it’s a good research question because I can find literature that argues yes, no, and maybe/not yet so I will be able to write a balanced analytical essay.



That’s a good research question. It has a clearly defined focus, you will be able to source credible published open access literature on the topic but more importantly it’s clearly a question that is of interest to you personally.

I look forward to reading and learning from your essay because it has meaning and interest beyond your own interests.


My question was addressing another possibility - lack of digital literacies and ACTIVE civic engagement without a good understanding of the role of government. Your initial question is good. Just thinking about other worst-case scenarios.

@vtaylor yes participating in civic activities without understanding the game—that’s a big problem too! We need better civics education - especially here in NZ.


Draft research question

How can flexible assessment of open learning be made both robust and sustainable?

Reasons for choosing this topic

  • Flexible assessment is key to fulfilling the full open recognition promise of open badges, my professional sphere of operation
  • Flexible assessment is often perceived as not psychometrically sound or scalable, especially by the standardized testing community
  • There is some anecdotal evidence that scalable flexible assessment can be used in appropriate contexts, where “quality” is viewed as fitness for contextual purpose rather than as a binary property
  • I want to be able to make it work, as it speaks to my roots in RPL (APEL) and ePortfolio

Academic Justification

  • Robust assessment is key to quality learning and has been well documented over the decades
  • Flexible assessment is a key to open educational practices and lifelong/lifewide learning
  • There should be a significant body of work on this topic in the open

In the OER design space - this is a very important question. For example, what are the implications for designing valid and reliable assessments for open courses where student answers to the questions are published openly on the web?

Designing a transnational credentialing system for more affordable education also has its own challenges. While institutions with advanced RPL / PLAR policies and systems in place makes it easier to integrate transnational credit recognition, one of the challenges we faced at OERu was related to the cost for learners. We found the cost to student for RPL-based credit recognition significantly more expensive than other forms of assessment which is why it is not widely used in the OERu context. I’d like to see more scalable and affordable RPL solutions in this space.

Great research question!

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Cool, thanks!
How has the $80 NZ / Edubit assessment been working for those who want academic recognition for LiDA? This buys a human assessment, yes?

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Hi Don,

Yes, the NZ$80 is for human assessment (assessment-only service) offered through Otago Polytecfhic - one of the OERu partners. (The OER Foundation, the non-profit which coordinates the OERu, does not generate any revenue from assessment for credit services.)

One micro-course equates to 1 North American credit - so course assessment fees for a 3 credit course would be NZ$240 which is considerably cheaper than full tuition.

The other piece is OERu micro-credentials map to optional formal academic credit towards approved university qualifications. Once a learner successfully completes the set of micro-courses, they will get transcript credit towards the full course which is recognised against the designated OERu qualification conferred by the respective OERu partner (We have signed bilateral credit transfer agreements in place).

We’ve only just started the micro-credential assessment service - so its still early days and I don’t have much data to report. We are rolling out a few business courses, so will have more data in the next half-year.

LiDA103 has a copyright competency test which constitutes about 25% of the final grade. This is an objective item assessment (machine graded). With online proctoring the direct cost would be in the range of US$9 - US$20 depending on the type of proctoring used.

We’re offering PDF certificates for participation for a nominal fee of NZ$10 to help cover administration and server costs (the digital badge version is free).

The real business challenge is on the marketing side - as a small non-profit, we cannot realistically compete with the corporate pay-per-click advertising campaigns. They invest big money into marketing. That said, we have different channels to market.

Still lots to learn - but we’re getting there!


My research topic is:

"Role of a teacher in digital environment "