The maturation of free ubiquitous video conferencing tools provides an opportunity for faculty members to experiment with alternatives to conventional asynchronous discussion forums commonly used in online courses. However, there continues to be debate about whether synchronous video conferencing has a meaningful role to play in an online course environment. Although the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework’s influence in asynchronous discussion is well documented in the literature, it is less clear what role synchronous conferencing has in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). It is also unclear whether synchronous modes of inquiry provide worthwhile benefits for an online instructor. This study explores how the use of innovative video conferencing tools in an online course attends to the elements of the CoI.
In this mixed methods study, we observed weekly teacher and student inquiry by examining Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts through the lens of CoI. The course used for this study was an online graduate course focused on the use of technology for teaching. We hypothesized that those students who participated in more synchronous conferencing sessions would perceive significantly higher levels of all three CoI elements and would engage in richer discourse supporting learning of the course content. We also analyzed student perceptions of the social, teaching, and cognitive presence through the CoI survey (Swan, 2008).
In order to examine the CoI related discourse, a corpus of text was utilized in this study which included Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts. Text content analysis of this corpus represented a form of learning analytics. The text corpus was compiled and key themes were noted via qualitative constant-comparative analyses. The themes were analyzed using analytic induction to test hypotheses connecting discourse to CoI element. A form of text analytics was then applied to the text corpus in order to analyze the content of the student and teacher discourse.All text was compiled and analyzed using the Semantria (www.semantria.com) semantic linguistic program. Based on semantic algorithms from http://www.lexalytics.com/,All compiled text was analyzed for themes and sentiment. After compiling the linguistic components, statistical models were developed to compare discourse between synchronous and asynchronous environments and to predict the level of community of inquiry.
We used the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars to reflect on how the course’s interactive activities addressed quality. Learning effectiveness was demonstrated by increased opportunities for meaning making students had through discourse with each other and with the instructor. They were able to discuss courses readings in either a real-time Google Hangout or an asynchronous Vialogues threaded discussion. The use of freely available and ubiquitous tools makes it possible to scale the tools to multiple courses and programs. The tools provide access and flexibility for students who prefer face-to-face but need to take online courses because of work schedule or physical location. Faculty are satisfied to be able to provide options that address student discourse preferences. Finally, students report being satisfied with options to use synchronous conferencing for discussions which increases student voice.
Our presentation will share the results of our findings. Participants will learn how both synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools may be used for meaning making in an online course. We will engage the audience by web polling their preferences and promising practices pertaining to uses of synchronous technologies in primarily asynchronous online environments.
Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools (Presentation PDF)
A few years ago Seattle Pacific University’s Dean’s Cabinet asked me to put together a list of eLearning tools that faculty can use if classes are cancelled due to inclement weather. Today’s snowy weather along with a prompting from my boss encouraged me to share an updated version with SPU faculty.
Instructional Technology Services provides training and support for all tools mentioned below. Our website includes a list of recent workshops. SPU Faculty: If you have questions about a particular tool and can’t reach me, there is probably a professor in your school who has experience.
- Online Assessments:
- Lectures, Presentations, Screencasts, Office Hours:
ITS also provides instructional graphics, scanning, and digital audio/video services. While I don’t like the idea of having an emergency situation that forces professors to use these tools, I do like the raised awareness of our digital services and tools. Maybe, just maybe, some new professors will consider using these tools and techniques for their everyday instruction.
The Seattle Pacific University Dean’s Cabinet asked me to put together a list of eLearning tools that faculty can use if classes are cancelled due to inclement weather. Instructional Technology Services provides training and support for all of these tools. In most cases, there are already professors in each school using these tools. Here is a quick summary:
- Asynchronous: Blackboard Discussion Board, VoiceThread
- Synchronous: Wimba Pronto Basic (Blackboard), Adobe Connect, Skype
- Assessments: Blackboard Quizzes, Tests, Surveys, Grade Center
- Documents, Video & Audio Content: Blackboard
- Asynchronous: Blackboard Wikis, Blogs, Groups
- Synchronous: Typewith.me, Google Docs
- Lectures, Presentations, Screencasts
- Asynchronous: Camtasia Relay, Adobe Presenter
- Synchronous: Adobe Connect, Skype
ITS also provides scanning and audio/video digitizing services. Although I hope we don’t find ourselves in an emergency that forced us to use these tools, the raised awareness may lead faculty to experiment and find out that these tools are useful for everyday teaching and learning.
The Federal Government just released: CDC Guidance for Responses to Influenza for Institutions of Higher Education during the 2009-2010 Academic Year. In this report the CDC recommends “Distance learning or web-based learning may help students maintain self-isolation.”
Our VP of Academic Affairs asked me to put together a list of eLearning tools we have available to faculty if we experience a flu outbreak or similar crisis during the 2009-10 school year. This was fairly easy to do as we have a good selection of online learning applications. Here is a quick summary:
- Blackboard: Asynchronous and synchronous discussions, online quizzing, document repository, wiki, blog, plagiarism detection software, gradebook
- Adobe Connect Pro: Synchronous conferencing, chat, audio, video
- Camtasia Relay: Asynchronous content delivery, professor’s voice with whatever is showing on the computer display. Could also be used for student presentations.
- Jing: Screencasting tool for recording short student presentations (under 5 minutes) or by faculty and students to share questions and responses to problems with discipline specific software.
- Skype: Two or multi-way video conferencing for real-time office hours.
- VoiceThread: Asynchronous text, image, audio, video comment/discussion tool. Can be useful when student’s voice/video is preferred over text-only comments.
We also provide scanning and audio/video digitizing services.
These tools and services are already being used by faculty in all schools, which means we have practitioners capable of assisting peers in an emergency. While I hope we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have to use these tools, the raised awareness may lead new faculty to experiment with some of them and find out that they are great for everyday teaching and learning.