Students' knowledge construction and attitudes toward synchronous videoconferencing in an online collaborative problem-based learning environment
Chatchada Akarasriworn, University of Northern Colorado, United States
University of Northern Colorado . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to investigate students' cognitive learning process during problem-based discussions in an online synchronous collaborative learning environment via videoconferencing. In addition, students' attitudes toward the online synchronous collaborative small-group discussions with videoconferencing as well as recommendations on how to improve their online synchronous collaborative small-group discussions with videoconferencing were investigated.
The participants were 28 graduate students who took a graduate-level online Mathematical Modeling course at a western university. They were assigned into eight groups of three (or four) students to work on nine collaborative projects throughout the semester. They were instructed to utilize the Elluminate Live!® for the synchronous small-group discussions each week. A triangulation mixed methods design was used to analyze and interpret four data sources including (1) twelve synchronous small-group discussion transcriptions; (2) three teamwork attitude surveys; (3) a learning environment attitude survey; and (4) seven individual interviews.
The main findings of this study revealed that students performed more messages at Phase I than at Phase IV or Phase V based on the Gunawardena, Lowe, and Anderson's Interaction Analysis Model (1997) in the online synchronous collaborative small-group discussions with videoconferencing integrated. The results of the findings might be due to students' sharing preferences, preparedness of the group members, and the nature of the Mathematical Modeling course. Nevertheless, videoconferencing can be a potential tool to help facilitate participants to perform more messages at Phase V than synchronous chat.
Additionally, students had positive attitudes toward the online synchronous collaborative learning environment and their most favorable experiences included the sense of community, learning facilitation, and significance of the synchronous small-group discussions via videoconferencing sessions. Conversely, technology problems and unprepared group members were students' unfavorable experiences when participating in the synchronous small-group discussions via videoconferencing.
Furthermore, recommendations such as technical assistance, group rotation, clear course expectations, greater preparation time, and increased learner-instructor interaction were provided to improve students' online synchronous collaborative small-group discussions with videoconferencing. Finally, implications for educational practices and recommendations for future studies were discussed.
Akarasriworn, C. Students' knowledge construction and attitudes toward synchronous videoconferencing in an online collaborative problem-based learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, University of Northern Colorado.
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