Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

The Impact of Digital Educational Resources on Teachers and Teaching in Rural China

What are the impacts of digital educational resources on rural teachers and their teaching in China?

2018  -   2021
Jingxian Wang
CSC-Leiden University Joint Scholarschip Programme

Center for Studies of Education and Psychology of Ethnic Minorities in Southwest China of Southwest University


  • J. Wang - PhD candidate
  • prof.dr. W.F. Admiraal - supervisor
  • dr. E.H. Tigelaar - supervisor

Since the adoption of a series of policies for ICT in education and investment in digitalizing educational resources for students and teachers in China, no study was done to evaluate the implementation and not much literature has been published on the contextual factors that lead to teachers’ behaviourr for the integration of digital educational resources in their teaching. Mixed methods will be used to examine different aspects of ICT implementation in rural schools. The findings of this study can provide ICT policymakers with insight in the role that rural teachers play in policy planning, and a better understanding of teachers’ use of digital educational resources in rural China can contribute to teacher professional development initiatives and capacity building in schools regarding the use of ICT in education.

Social relevance

Firstly, this study will help ICT policymakers realize that teachers’ - especially rural teachers - should be included in policy planning, and find ways to overcome the barriers perceived by the teachers when considering future educational ICT use. Secondly, by better understanding how teachers respond to the supply and use of digital educational resources, teacher professional development can be improved regarding how best to support teachers and thus build capacity in schools.

Scientific relevance

From a theoretical perspective, the study will enrich previous studies on the impact of variables affecting teachers’ digital educational resources adoption, and studies on the implementation of the innovative use of videoconferencing. More insights will be obtained in the interplay between teacher variables and digital educational resources integration into classroom teaching in the Chinese context.

Topic and research questions

The scale construction of digital resources originated from Open Course Ware (OCW) initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2001. To make the project more influential, UNESCO formally proposed the concept of 'Open Educational Resources' with the core concept of 'openness and sharing' as the foundation for the construction of digital resources.

While information abounds regarding the types of digital educational resources available to be used in education and their potential benefits, hardly any research is available on teachers’ perceptions of digital educational resources' use in schools, especially in rural areas. Also, not much literature has been published on the contextual factors that lead to teachers’ behavior for the integration of digital educational resources in their pedagogical practices and innovative use to enhance teaching. Also, only a small proportion of the available studies is set up in Asian contexts. To overcome this gap, the current study aims to explore how digital educational resources have an impact on teachers and teaching in rural China.

  • How and to what extent is the intended Policy for ICT in Education implemented in Chinese rural schools?
  • How rural teachers use digital educational resources in their pedegogical practice and what are the factors that affect their actual behavior?
  • How are digital educational resources implemented and what are the interaction patterns of students and teachers in urban and rural remote joint classes?
  • How do urban and rural teachers and their students evaluate the teaching in urban and rural remote joint classes?

Material and methods

This study will involve principals, technicians, teachers and students of 25 rural schools from three regions in western China. A wide range of research methods (e.g., interviews with school principals and teachers, observations, teacher and student questionnaires) are used to evaluate and understand the current status of ICT implementation on different levels.

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