A major distinction between the online classroom and the traditional learning environment is the lack of face-to-face contact between participants. To compensate for this lack of physical presence, interaction takes on additional significance. Although research findings pointed to the value of interaction in the online classroom, providing the appropriate amounts and types of interaction remains a challenge to distance education practitioners. There is a need for more research based on the perspectives of the student and the instructor to understand how to facilitate online interaction effectively.
A promising tool for conceptualizing online interaction is the community of inquiry model developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000). The framework consists of the overlapping elements of teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. Through the interaction of these 3 core elements, a quality educational experience is achieved within a community of learners. The community of inquiry framework was used to guide, interpret, and analyze the collected data.
Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to obtain data from doctoral students at a university in the southeast area of the United States who completed the Doctor of Education 7005: Instructional Media course and from the 3 instructors who taught this course. A survey instrument was administered to the students followed by an online focus group with the students and telephone interviews with the instructors.
The various methods of data collection yielded data on the value that students and instructors placed on the types of interactions that were facilitated. The findings indicated that there were specific areas of the online classroom that worked particularly well and other features that needed improvement. Two areas that needed attention in redesigning and reconceptualizing were the asynchronous discussion forum and the synchronous conferencing classroom. Hearing from the students and instructors in their own words provided clarity as to what was currently taking place in the online classroom. With these insights, recommendations were made to help enhance the design and facilitation of interaction in online classes.
|Advisor:||Schlosser, Charles A.|
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Educational technology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Distance education, Online learning|
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