Sunday, 20 October, 2013

Paper review: Using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance

Hilton, J. L., Graham, C., Rich, P., & Wiley, D. (2010). Using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance. Distance Education, 31(1), 77–92.
This paper reports experience from a course in which the instructor allowed individuals at a distance to participate. These students were given full access to all course materials (readings and recorded class lectures) and were encouraged to complete course assignments. However, the additional amount of faculty’s time necessary to keep the course open was kept to less than 30 minutes each week. The components of the course were available through Wordpress (course web site), a wiki (course participation), student blogs (posting homework assignments and discussion) and ProfCast, and iTunes (lecture material).
As part of research, two questionnaires were administered, one for students at distance and other for students in physical class. Key findings were as follows:
  • Completing course reading was rated by the distance learners as the most useful activity thus indicating importance of learner-content interaction.
  • Distance learners felt that course would have become a better experience with more clarity on progress of course, increased interaction and more time at hand.
  • Learner-learner interaction didn’t happen on its own.

This paper is a case study in which an attempt was made to offer a course to distance learners without increasing time commitment of faculty. While some benefits were reported, it was not very clear on how such benefits could be scaled up.

This case study shows a way by which a face-to-face course can be offered to larger audience without increasing time commitment of faculty. Typically such approach would help distance learners benefit by emans of learner-content interaction. However, the paper is unable to provide an answer on how to increase learner-instructor and learner-learner interaction for distance learners in an efficient manner.

1 comment:

Peter Mwaura said...

Thanks for your great incites.