A case study of interaction, student satisfaction, communication apprehension, and an orientation workshop in an animal genetics course delivered by interactive compressed video technology
Kathleen Dodge Kelsey, Cornell University, United States
Cornell University . Awarded
The growth of distance education course offerings is an indication of its importance to students; however, criticisms have centered on its lack of ability to provide interaction among participants. This case study examined the assumption that an increase in interaction increases student satisfaction among distance learners, especially those who experience a personality-based trait known as communication apprehension (CA).
The principal research questions were to (a) determine the relationship between interaction and student satisfaction; (b) determine the role that CA played in the course; and (c) determine what impact an orientation workshop had on student satisfaction, interaction, and CA. An applied animal genetics seminar delivered from Cornell University to five universities in the Northeast via interactive compressed video (ICV) provided the context for the study. An orientation workshop was presented to students at two universities at the start of the course. Three standardized questionnaires, interviews, and observations were utilized to assess interaction, CA, student satisfaction, and workshop effectiveness among students.
Students were satisfied with the course, although not overwhelming so due to ICV technology limitations and failures. Students were very satisfied with the number and variety of opportunities for interaction especially face-to-face communications with site facilitators. Fifteen percent of the cohort experienced CA, which served as a barrier to all interactions for those students.
The orientation workshop demystified the classroom by educating students on technological features of the ICV system. Student anxiety was reduced, however the workshop did not significantly change the level of interaction among participants.
Barriers to interaction centered on social concerns, ICV technology limitations, lack of time, content related issues, camera shyness, site facilitators' behavior in facilitating interactions, needing more time for processing content, lack of non-verbal clues, distance, and having to press the microphone mute control knob. All ten barriers served as dissatisfiers for students.
Recommendations for improving the course included providing advanced organizers to students, more time for questions and answers during the lecture, and resolving technology limitations and failures. Future research should examine social accountability as a factor for increasing interaction in ICV courses as well as a rationale for providing synchronous courses.
Kelsey, K.D. A case study of interaction, student satisfaction, communication apprehension, and an orientation workshop in an animal genetics course delivered by interactive compressed video technology. Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University.
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