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A presentation made at the Distance Education Association (New Zealand) conference: April 2012. ...

A presentation made at the Distance Education Association (New Zealand) conference: April 2012.

Dr Garry Falloon
Maria Persson
The University of Waikato
Hamilton
New Zealand
falloong@waikato.ac.nz

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Deanz slideshow final Deanz slideshow final Presentation Transcript

  • Inside the Virtual Classroom: Student views and operational influences DEANZ Conference - April 2012 Garry Falloon and Maria PerssonThursday, 12 April 2012
  • A two semester, two virtual classroom study... What  were  students’  views  of  the  effec4veness  of   the  virtual  classrooms  for  suppor4ng  interac4on,   communica4on  and  rela4onship  development? What  factors  influenced  students’  ability  to  use  the   virtual  classrooms  for  these  purposes?Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • What is a virtual classroom? For  this  study... “An  online  synchronous  communica4on  system   where  par4cipants  are  able  to  engage  in  virtual   mee4ngs  and  communicate  using  mul4media   services  such  as  streamed  audio  and  video”  (Falloon,   2012,  p.  6)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • The Virtual Classrooms Adobe  Connect  Pro Wimba-­‐Live  Classroom   (Blackboard  Collaborate)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Research context •  22  Postgraduate  e-­‐Educa4on  students  (2010-­‐11) •  Totally  online  asynchronous  (Moodle) •  Two  half  year  papers  (PROF522:  2010-­‐Adobe;  2011-­‐ Wimba-­‐Live  Classroom) •  Assessed  seminars  (analysis  of  affordances  and   limita4ons  of  ODL  for  a  selected  learner  group)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Research method •  Interpre4ve  case  studies  over  2  years •  Semi-­‐structured  interviews •  Online  Likert  survey  and  short  response   ques4onnaire  (100%  comple4on) •  Analysis  of  screen  capture  videoThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Findings: themes from data Theme  1.  Virtual  Classroom  influences  on: •  Learning  community  consolida4on  (rela4onships) •  Communica4on  and  sharing  knowledgeThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Findings - theme 1 Consolidated  rather  than  established  rela4onships: •  visuals  and  audio  helped  ‘personalise’  rela4onships •  nature  of  contact  promoted  responsibility  and   commitment  towards  others •  helped  lessen  sense  of  distance  (‘feeling  of  home’) •  viewed  as  an  adjunct  to  asynchronous  systemsThursday, 12 April 2012
  • “I  feel   that  they  are  not  only  pictures.  I  see  them  as  real   people.  I  can  talk  with  them.  We  talk  not  only  about  the   learning,   we   talk   about   other   things   like   another   par4cipant’s  cat.  I  see  how  they  act.  In  the  last  week,  I   didn’t  write  many  comments   in  Moodle  as  I’m  afraid  I’d   mistake   or   something   (sic),   but   a`er   I’d   finished   that   classroom,   I   went   to   Moodle   and   wrote   two   or   three   comments  including  jokes  from  me  because  I  feel,  ‘Oh,   they  are  friendly.  It’s  OK  to  make  mistakes  with  them’” (Student  B,  August  2010).Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Themes from data Theme  2.  Influences  on  students’  ability  to  interact  and   communicate  in  the  virtual  classrooms •  Task   •  Mul4media  usability •  Communica4on  tool •  Technical/logis4calThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Findings - theme 2Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Task influences •  Seminars  required  significant  offline  prepara4on  in   advance  to  support  interac4on  in  the  virtual  classroom •  Synchronous  interac4on  in  the  virtual  classroom   affords  limited  reflec4ve  4me  suppor4ve  of  deeper   learning •  Over  use  could  detract  from  learner  autonomy  (3-­‐4   sessions  per  course  @  1.5hrs  max.)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Multimedia-usability influences Technical  ‘know-­‐how’  about  mul4media  opera4on  and   capability  affected  students’  op4ons  Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Multimedia-usability influences Technical  ‘know-­‐how’  about  mul4media  opera4on  and   capability  affected  students’  op4ons  Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Synchronous communication tool influences Wimba-­‐Live  Classroom’s  single-­‐image  video... “...  was  like  lecturing  into  cyberspace.  It’s  the  first  4me   I’d  experienced  it  (the  virtual  classroom),   and  I  found  it  a  bit  strange   talking  into  the  ether.”   (Student  N,  November  2011)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • “   …you   were   just   firing   away   with   your  presenta4on,   but  there  was  a   thought  in  the  back  of  my   head,  can   they  actually  hear  me  –  how  am  I  coming  across?  Not   being  able  to   get  that  instant  feedback,  like  in  a  room   when  you’re  speaking…  you  know  how  to  adjust;  you   can   read   your   audience   beler.   That   was   a   bit   daun4ng…  there  was  just  no   way  of  knowing.  I  wasn’t   sure  I  was  making  that  connec4on...”   (Student  A,  October  2010).Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Communication tool influences: technicalThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Communication tool influences: technicalThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Text  chat  pods  rated  highly  for  sharing  ideas  publicly   and  privately Use  of  feedback/ques4on/chat  pods  needs  careful   monitoringThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Communication tool influences: operational “I  kept  signalling,  but  nobody  took  any  no4ce!  Maybe   they  were  concentra4ng  on  Sam’s  presenta4on  or   something…  I  had  a  ques4on  I  wanted  to  ask  her  about   one  of  her  slides,  but  by  the  4me  she’d  finished  the   moment  had  passed,  so  I  didn’t  bother.”   (Student  M,  November  2011).Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Guidelines for use of communication tools should be established “...  it  caught  my  eye  all  the  4me...  flashing  away  in   the  bolom  corner.  I  wanted  to  see  what  they  were   saying  about  my  work...  it  was  hard  to  concentrate.”   (Student  G,  October  2010)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Technical and logistical influences •  Hardware  and  so`ware •  Organisa4on  and  logis4calThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Hardware and software •  Low  spec  laptops  on  wireless  connec4ons •  Capped  upload  speeds  (128-­‐256k)  on  many   broadband  plans •  Outdated  player  versions  (Adobe  Flash) •  Conflicts  with  other  video  applica4ons  (eg:  Skype) •  Ins4tu4onal  firewalls  (port  access)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Organisational/Logistical •  Students  opted  to  access  others’  equipment  due  to   performance  and  reliability  concerns  (schools,  public   libraries  etc.) •  Security  concerns  at  venues •  Time  zone  issues  for  interna4onal   students  (eg:  Canada,  Sudan,  Korea, South  Africa)  Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Conclusions and Implications •  Synchronous  and  asynchronous  systems  in  ODL  serve   different  but  complementary  func4ons  (social  presence/ community  consolida4on  vs  deeper,  more  reflec4ve   learning) •  Students  must  be  confident  users  of  tools  and  features   •  Efforts  should  be  made  to  ensure  students  are  not   disadvantaged  due  to  hardware/connec4vity  limita4onsThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Implications Design  and  plan  for  interac2on •  Establish  guidelines  for  communica4on  tool  use •  Plan  carefully  for  feedback  opportuni4es  (structure  if   necessary) •  Overuse  of  synchronous  systems  could  be   counterproduc4ve   •  Remember  implica4ons  for  teachers’  work •  Consider  system  limita4ons.  Interac4on  ‘style’  is  NOT   conversa4onal  (eg:  half-­‐duplex  audio,  single  image  video)Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • A student’s thoughts... Maria PerssonThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Asynchronous Tool Use •  Prior  set  up  of  course  &  L.O  choice  by  lecturer   (Garry)  encouraged  early  dialogue   •  Personal  &  collegial  connec4ons  were  made   using  forums  before  seminars •  Peer/Peer  &  Peer/Tutor  feedback  and  support   used  and  unobtrusively  monitored  by  tutor •  Experimenta4on  encouraged  –  WIMBA  Voice   added  another  dimension  to  communica4on  Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Community CreationThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Community PromotionThursday, 12 April 2012
  • My virtual classroom experience •  Presenta4on  mode  primarily  controlled   by  tutor •  Synchronous  chatng  during  presenta4on  a  distrac4on •  Presenta4on  was  an  assessed  task   •  Pressure  to  ensure  objec4ves  were  met •  Pressure  due  to  uncertainty  of  classroom’s  stability  &   lack  of  confidence  using  new  technology •  Revealed  issues  including  a  sense  of  ‘presenter  isola4on’   with  no  audience  to  view  in  Wimba-­‐Live  classroomThursday, 12 April 2012
  • Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Support •  Audience  list  visible •  Chat  box  accessible  to  view  while  presen4ng •  Lack  of  body  language  compensated  by  use  of   emo4cons   •  Tutor  presence  assists  in  trouble   shoo4ng,  interac4on,  flow  and  reduces   sense  of  ‘isola4on’Thursday, 12 April 2012
  • Finding the BalanceThursday, 12 April 2012