Advertisement

Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Facilitating learning with web conferencing recommendations based on learners’ experiences

  • Sarah Cornelius
  • Carole Gordon
Article

Abstract

This paper reports some of the findings from a study undertaken to obtain an insight into the experiences of learners engaging with web conferencing. A small group of work-based adult learners with substantial experience of learning in a virtual classroom provided accounts of and reflections on their experiences using a blog and group interview. Qualitative analysis of data led to findings which support some existing best practice guidelines for facilitators and also provide additional insight into issues that impact on learners’ experiences. This paper presents recommendations for facilitators and explores some of the issues raised by learners which are not commonly addressed in other guidelines, including the effective use of breakout rooms, the management of minimalist learners and the need to respect learners’ privacy. A facilitation approach which allows learners to develop autonomy and exert control in the virtual classroom and which acknowledges diversity of learning preferences is suggested. Whilst the recommendations made may not be appropriate in all learning contexts, they are presented as a starting point to help other facilitators review and develop their own practice.

Keywords

Web conferencing Virtual classrooms Learners’ experiences Guidelines for facilitators 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to the learners who engaged with the research and to our colleagues and fellow tutors on the online TQFE programme who have provided feedback and support. The project was supported by a small grant award from ELESIG (ning.elesig.com). The final report from this project is available from www.slideshare.net/sarahcornelius. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education and appears in the proceedings of that conference.

References

  1. Bower, M. (2011). Synchronous collaboration competencies in web conferencing environments – their impact on the learning process. Distance Education, (32)1.Google Scholar
  2. Chatterton, P. (2010). Designing for Participant Engagement with Elluminate Live. Retrieved October 29, 2010 from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/elluminateguidance
  3. Cornelius, S. (2011). Experiences of teaching in real-time online virtual classrooms. Unpublished MRes dissertation. University of Aberdeen.Google Scholar
  4. de Freitas, S., & Neumann, T. (2009). The use of exploratory learning’ for supporting immersive learning in virtual environments. Computers in Education, 52(2), 343–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kear, K., Chetwynd, F., Williams, J., & Donelan, H. (2012). Web conferencing for synchronous online tutorials: perspectives of tutors using a new medium. Computers in Education, 58(3), 953–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Macdonald, J., & Campbell, A. (2012). Demonstrating online teaching in the disciplines. A systematic approach to activity design for online synchronous tuition. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 883–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Murphy, E., Rodriguez-Manzanares, M. A., & Barbour, M. (2011). Asynchronous and synchronous online teaching: perspectives of Canadian high school distance education teachers. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42, 583–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ng, K. C. (2007). Replacing face-to-face tutorials by synchronous online technologies: challenges and pedagogical implications. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(1), 1–15.Google Scholar
  9. Sampson, B., Shepherd, C. (2010). How to run a virtual classroom session. ALT Webinar recording. Retrieved November 20, 2011 from: http://repository.alt.ac.uk/view/divisions/classroom/
  10. Shepherd, C., Green, P. and Sampson, B. (2011). Live online learning: a facilitators guide. Onlignment Ltd. Retrieved November 20, 2011 from http://onlignment.com/live-online-learning-a-facilitators-guide/
  11. Vitartas, P., Rowe, S. and Ellis, A. (2008) Students’ first experiences with a web conferencing system: preliminary findings. Proceedings of AusWeb08 - The fourteenth Australasian World Wide Web conference. Retrieved October 19, 2012 from http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw08/papers/refereed/vitartas/paper.html
  12. Wang, S.-K., & Hsu, H.-Y. (2008). Use of the webinar tool (Elluminate) to support training: the effects of webinar-learning implementation from student-trainers’ perspective. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 7(3), 175–194.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations