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)
This presentation provides answers to ten common questions about bPortfolios that students have when the are first introduced to this tool for reflecting and documenting their learning, and working towards competency on program standards.
- What is a blog?
- What is an electronic portfolio?
- What is a bPortfolio?
- Who is the audience?
- What are we supposed to blog about?
- How often should we blog?
- What about privacy concerns?
- How are tags and categories used to organize content?
- Can I create my own categories?
- What tags should we be using?
David Wicks, Assistant Professor, Director of Instructional Technology, Seattle Pacific University
Andrew Lumpe, Professor, Associate Dean, School of Education, Seattle Pacific University
Abstract: When institutions switch from a program assessment system to individual learning portfolios, students spend more time reflecting upon, personalizing, and documenting their work. During such a transition, assessment design becomes more challenging. Alignment of artifacts to program standards is essential to ensure continuity of learning and program documentation. We describe a transition from a sterile electronic portfolio system to a learner centered, reflective blogging portfolio (bPortfolio) using free WordPress.com accounts. Session attendees will receive access to examples of portfolio entries, assessment rubrics, and strategies for using four types.
Presented at the 3rd Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium in San Jose, California on July 22, 2010.
Dear iPad Owners,
I hope you had a great first day with your new purchase. Did you stay up late last night reading a novel? Was it sitting there on your night stand, tuned to your favorite newspaper when you woke up this morning? Any chance there is a “Make Coffee” app?
Okay, I must admit that I am a little jealous of you. Given all the negative press, it was a bold move to stand in line at the Apple Store or at your front door waiting for the UPS guy. I was tempted to join you but kept telling myself I must resist… No camera… Price needs to be lower… Is the Apple Store still open?… No 3G yet (forget 3G, I’m waiting for 4G)… Too many proprietary peripherals… Are there any left?… Just a big iPhone… No multitasking… Where are my car keys?
Well, I made it through my first full day without buying an iPad. Good for my bank account but not so good for my mind as it is racing with lots of questions for you. As an instructional technologist, my first questions revolve around how the iPad can benefit education. Specifically, I am interested in the iPad’s ability to replace textbooks. What are your first impressions about the iPad’s ability to address major issues other eReaders have encountered when attempting to replace traditional texts?
(I am expanding on three issues Weili Dai raised in a recent eSchoolNews article.)
- Currency – Will it be easy to update an eText, allowing content to maintain currency? How will readers know if an an update has been made?
- Cost – Will eTexts be reasonably priced? Are open texts and existing PDF-formatted articles easy to access?
- Weight – Do you quickly get tired holding the iPad in common reading positions?
- Reliability – Does the eReader app respond in a consistent manner during common electronic reading activities? (e.g. turning pages, jumping to the table of contents, searching for key words, looking up definitions)
- Notes-worthy – How easy is it to take notes? Are there options to embed notes within texts or export notes to a word processing document?
- Accessibility – Can a text be read to you? Are there learning disabilities affordances such as highlighting words or groups of words as they are being read? How easy is it to change font sizes? Are there options for users with limited use of their fingers?
Well that’s all for now. Hopefully you can respond to this message using WordPress’s new iPad app. I appreciate any help you can provide as I wait for the perfect tablet computing device… Do you think BestBuy has any left?