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The Nature of Interaction in Educational Videoconferencing

The Nature of Interaction in Educational Videoconferencing

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Published by Carol Skyring
This is my Master of Education thesis from 1999. The study investigated the nature of interaction that can be achieved in educational videoconferencing and what adaptations (if any) to teaching and learning strategies are necessary. In particular it examines the following:
1. What impact does the technology have on the interactions?
2. Do lecturers have to make adaptations to teaching strategies?
3. Do students have to make adaptations to learning strategies?
4. Can a ‘dialogical’ approach be used effectively in videoconferencing?
This is my Master of Education thesis from 1999. The study investigated the nature of interaction that can be achieved in educational videoconferencing and what adaptations (if any) to teaching and learning strategies are necessary. In particular it examines the following:
1. What impact does the technology have on the interactions?
2. Do lecturers have to make adaptations to teaching strategies?
3. Do students have to make adaptations to learning strategies?
4. Can a ‘dialogical’ approach be used effectively in videoconferencing?

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Carol Skyring on Jul 10, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/20/2013

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The Nature of Interaction in EducationalVideoconferencing
A thesis presented to the
Queensland University of Technology
 in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of 
Master of Education
 by
Carol Daunt
 
Dip Teach (Kedron Park Teachers’ College)BEd (South Australian College of Advanced Education)Grad Dip Dist Ed (South Australian College of Advanced Education)
 
The Centre for Professional Practice in Education and TrainingSchool of Professional StudiesFaculty of Education
 
August 1999
 
i
Abstract
This study investigates the nature of interaction that can be achieved in educationalvideoconferencing and what adaptations (if any) to teaching and learning strategies are necessary.In particular it examines the following:1.
 
What impact does the technology have on the interactions?2.
 
Do lecturers have to make adaptations to teaching strategies?3.
 
Do students have to make adaptations to learning strategies?4.
 
Can a ‘dialogical’ approach be used effectively in videoconferencing?During the latter half of 1994, two lecturing staff at the Queensland University of Technology(QUT) used videoconferencing for tutorials, in conjunction with distance education materials, todeliver one subject of a Master of Education course (Organisational Culture and EducationLeadership)
 
and assess the adequacy of this mode of delivery for quality teaching and learning ina higher education program.The lecturers were highly experienced university personnel who had delivered this subject face-to-face using a dialogical approach in their lectures. The student group comprised eight mature-age students all located at a provincial centre approximately three hours’ drive from Brisbane. Allof the participants were educational practitioners: two school principals, one deputy principal, onesubject master, three education officers at School Support Centres and one Pre-school teacher(seven females, one male).A review of the literature showed interaction is an important element in learning, but that veryfew studies on the use of videoconferencing for education have focused on the nature of interaction that can be achieved through the medium. Therefore, this study will make a significantaddition to the body of knowledge about how this relatively new communications technology canbe employed for educational purposes.This study is based on a mixed-method evaluation design that included an action research processcoupled with an interaction analysis. The two research methods form two distinct stages of thestudy, i.e. action research throughout the planning and delivery of the videoconference sessions,combined with an interaction analysis of videotapes of the videoconference sessions. This mixed-method design was appropriate for this study in order to maximise the data that had beencollected, allowing a deeper investigation of the nature of interaction.This study found that videoconferencing allowed the lecturers to replicate the on-campusinteraction that is often lacking in distance education programs. Of significance was the fact that
 
ii
the technology did permit the full engagement of these students as adult learners, and experiencedprofessionals, in an approach based on critical reflection, deep learning and metacognition. Thestudy showed that a very high level of interaction comparable in effect to the face-to-facesituation, can be achieved and students at this level are able to maintain that interaction for longperiods of time.Major findings of the study include:
 
High quality voice and vision contributed to the ability to interact.
 
Room layout has an effect on interaction.
 
User confidence and competence contributed positively to the ability to interact.
 
Sessions in which dynamic interaction and engagement occurred were successfully conductedfor periods of 90 minutes.
 
Lecturers were able to replicate their current teaching style that relied heavily on a dialogicalapproach.
 
Students resented the loss of control in structured videoconferences and expressed higherlevels of satisfaction when they were active in setting the agenda.
 
The established group and consequent group dynamics had a positive effect on the interaction.
 
Interaction was valued by the students as a teaching/learning strategy.
 
It appears that the nature of interaction is more important than the amount.This study supports the literature in several areas, but challenges it in others. It confirms researchwhich found that the technology was conducive to highly interactive sessions and hence of benefitin the delivery of educational programs, but challenges the assumptions and recommendationsthat effective videoconference sessions need to employ different teaching strategies and bestructured and focused, including pre-prepared agendas and controlled question and answerprocedures. However, due to the size and nature of this particular group of students and lecturers,these notions are not rejected completely, and the conclusions and findings of the study must berecognised as specific to this group under given conditions.While the research offers insights into a particular context, it is not proposed that these resultswould be replicable in all instances of educational videoconferencing. The study offers significantinsights into the nature of interaction that can be achieved if lecturers desire to employ adialogical approach in their educational videoconferencing.

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