Synch AND Swim
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Synch AND Swim



Presentation to BAW 2010 group (21/1/10)

Presentation to BAW 2010 group (21/1/10)



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Synch AND Swim Synch AND Swim Presentation Transcript

  • SYNCH AND SWIM: The Value of Synchronous Learning Environments (Interact! Build Community! Immediate feedback!) Michael Coghlan BAW 2010 21/1/10
    • historical context
    • value of synchronous interaction
    • skills required in a virtual classroom (brief)
    • applications for synchronous activity (when can you use them?)
  • Question:
    • Are you
    • A) In your office?
    • B) In a computer suite?
    • C) At home?
    • D) Other?
  • MULTIPLE VENUE PRESENTATIONS (MVPs) remote students guest lecturer CLASSROOM/ F2F VENUE public space
  • What is synchronous/asynchronous communication?
    • SYNCHRONOUS (real time) eg f2f conversation, telephone calls, chat rooms
    • ASYNCHRONOUS – some delay between initial communication and the reply eg letters, email, forums
  • Question:
    • (Classroom + online =
  • Synchronous approaches can be a valuable complement to face to face classes!
  • Changing Methodology
    • Online/elearning:
    • Asynchronous
    • (written) text based
    • Content focused
    • Asynch + synch
    • more voice interaction
    • Content + process
    ca 1998 2010
  • Asynch Synch Oral Written Minimalist; rapid (evolving) COMMUNICATION AXIS Spontaneous; dialogue Reflective; monologue Structured; expository
  • COMMUNICATION AXIS Most classroom communications take place here New – have been enabled by technology (only happen online)
  • The Original Synchronous Environment – plain text chat
  • Web Conferencing/Virtual Classroom
  • Web Conferencing/Virtual Classroom
  • Range of Synchronous Tools
    • Instant messengers: Google Talk, Skype, Yahoo, MSN (text + voice)
    • Peer to Peer/Collaborative Tools: eg Etherpad (documents), Mind Mapping, Whiteboards, etc
    • Virtual Classrooms
      • Proprietary: Elluminate, Adobe Connect, etc
      • Free: Wiziq, DimDim, Vyew
  • Virtual Worlds: Second Life See Second Life in Education
  • Your Experience?
    • Have you experienced the use of synchronous tools in online courses that you have either taught or studied?
  • Your Experience?
    • How have synchronous tools been used in courses you have either taught or studied?
      • small group work?
      • one-on-one communications?
      • whole class meetings?
      • whole class instruction?
      • other?
  • Use of Synchronous Tools – Survey
    • Purpose of Interactions
    • 58% small group work
    • 37% one-on-one communications
    • 35% whole class meetings
    • 16% whole class instruction
    • (results at
  • Question
    • Why do you think it is important to include synchronous tools in online courses?
  • Use of Synchronous Tools – Survey
    • Why are synchronous tools important?
    • Approx 50/50 split between pedagogical and social/affective reasons
    • Pedagogy : immediacy of feedback (30%)
    • (results at
  • Social/Affective Benefits
    • Social, community, and personal engagement
    • personal engagement/motivation (55%)
    • community building (29%)
    • improving the social experience (27%)
    • (results at
  • Tension: Synch v Asynch
    • Terry Anderson, Toward a Theory of Online Learning:
    • “… .the major motivation for enrollment in distance education is not physical access, but rather, temporal freedom to move through a course of studies at a pace of the student’s choice.” Participation in ( synchronous events) “almost inevitably places constraints on this independence.”
    •   “ The demands of a learning-centered context might at times force us to modify prescriptive participation in (synchronous events), even though we might have evidence that such participation will further advance knowledge creation and attention.”
  • Resolving the tension between asynchronous and synchronous approaches
    • don’t make synch sessions compulsory; use synch for those who want it
    • use tools that can record or archive the sessions for later retrieval
    • don’t use synchronous for whole class instruction
    • use for meetings, one-on-one, or in small groups
    • offer informal (social) sessions in synch mode
    • allow student use of synchronous space
    • offer office hours sessions at set times
  • Resolving the tension between asynchronous and synchronous approaches
    • It’s not all or nothing – use both approaches:
      • Synch for social, spontaneous, decision making
      • Asynch for deliberation, reflection, considered opinion
  • The Instructional Challenge:
    • Methodology: how do you use synchronous tools to maximise their impact?
  • Skills of the Live Online Presenter
    • Golden Rule : 6-8 minutes talking at a stretch maximum
    • Intersperse presentations with questions, polls, other speakers (from the floor), whiteboard activity
    • Decide how to handle direct messaging – will you monitor/respond? Or ignore it? Dip in and out of it?
    • Consider working with a producer/co-presenter
    • More at
  • What kinds of synchronous activities can you use in classrooms?
    • ‘ straight lecture’
    • Guest lecturers
    • Oral presentations
    • Group work
    • One on one (eg pronunciation)
    • OTHER
    • Office hours
    • Social: student - student
  • Synchronous Activities – example 1
    • Live discussion with a musician about their work
      • Organised by Webhead Aiden Yeh (Taiwan) and Michael Coghlan (Australia)
  • Synchronous Activities – example 2
    • Small Group Discussion - Intercultural Communication
      • Streetlife Project organised by Webhead Anne Fox (Denmark)
  • Synchronous Activities – example 3
    • Oral Presentations
      • organised by Webhead Buthaina Al-Othman (Kuwait)
      • http://
    • Conferences, seminars
    • Workshops and Training sessions
    • Meetings (much more cost effective than teleconferencing)
    • NEAR
    • TOOLS
  • What’s this?
  • Twitter as a real time search tool?
    • May 2008: “Twitter beats media in reporting China earthquake."
    • An almost real time search tool
      • Now being used by some as an alternative search tool to Google
    • Direct or instant messaging in web conferencing tools (eg Centra, Elluminate)
    • Live blogging tools like Cover It Live
    • Live polling tools like Poll Everywhere
    • Micro Messaging tools: Twitter , Yammer
  • Cover It Live
  • Purdue University: In-house Application
  • Can you use Twitter as teaching tool?
    • Teaching with Twitter (Steve Wheeler)
    • ‘ Twit Board’ Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues or other important information. (could be done with phone)
    • ‘ Summing Up’ Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline. √
    • ‘ Twit Links’ Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink to a useful site they have
    • ‘ Micro Write’ Progressive collaborative writing on Twitter. Students agree to take it in turns to contribute to an account or ‘story’ over a period of time.
    • Use the backchannel to provide feedback on classes in real time √
  • Some References
    • Anderson, Terry; Elloumi, Fathi: Theory and Practice of Online Learning (April 2004)
    • /
    • Coghlan, Michael; How important are synchronous tools in web-based teaching and learning environments?
    • Coghlan, Michael ; Moderating Live Synchronous Sessions
    • Finkelstein, Jonathan; Learning in Real Time
    • Muirhead, Brent; Research Insights into Interactivity, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning , March 2004
  • Contact Details
    • Michael Coghlan
    • [email_address]