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Article
Publication date: 19 May 2021

Daniela Perbandt, Marie-Sophie Heinelt, Paula Bacelar-Nicolau, Mahsa Mapar and Sandra Sofia Caeiro

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several…

Abstract

Purpose

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several advantages of e-learning environments compared to traditional class-teaching, there are still challenges regarding suitable e-learning tools and didactical models. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of several e-learning tools on students’ knowledge and skills growth and to compare two learning paths, synchronous vs asynchronous, exploring how each affects the level of students’ knowledge achievement and skills acquisition.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analysis is based on an online course “Participatory processes in environmental politics”. International MSc and PhD students who enrolled in the course were from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany) and Aberta University (Portugal). The course was designed as the flipped classroom, applying different e-learning tools and activities, some synchronous and others asynchronous. A pre- and post-evaluation questionnaire was applied to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. Descriptive statistical analyses were carried out on this data.

Findings

Results showed that in the synchronous group, knowledge about theoretical approaches to citizen participation and sustainable environmental governance improved to a greater extent, whereas the asynchronous group showed greater improvement in nearly all skills related to intercultural communication and e-learning. Also, in the synchronous path, students enhanced their knowledge on “research application” to a greater extent.

Originality/value

Evaluating the effectiveness of different e-learning tools on students’ sustainability knowledge and information and communication technologies skills is a fundamental issue. The study discusses these issues, contributing to enhancing the use of adequate and grounded e-learning models on sustainable development in higher education.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Carmen Taran

While synchronous and asynchronous distance education options have fulfilled the promise to reduce travel costs and decrease the number of human resources necessary for…

Abstract

Purpose

While synchronous and asynchronous distance education options have fulfilled the promise to reduce travel costs and decrease the number of human resources necessary for training delivery, many corporations are faced with the need to produce learning even at a faster pace in order to gain and sustain competitive advantage. This means a paradigm shift in the distance education arena: in order to reduce the time to produce and deliver training, subject matter experts (SMEs) are asked to step up to the plate and assume additional roles in the instructional design process. This research addresses these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This research, conducted within the training department of a large telecommunications company, focuses on enabling SMEs to teach online, using synchronous instructional methods and a rapid e‐learning approach.

Findings

Based on student performance records and satisfaction survey results, it was concluded that SMEs are able to reduce training development time, deliver workshops online and maintain acceptable quality of instruction. SMEs' training background did not impact student achievement or satisfaction. Practical implications for corporate training development related to synchronous online training are also included.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper resides in the fact that the guidelines that emerged from this research are a step forward towards the expansion of rapid e‐learning as it applies to synchronous online training and to helping SMEs to teach online.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2012

Matthias Jahn, Claudia Piesche and Stefan Jablonski

Today's requirements concerning successful learning support comprise a variety of application scenarios. Therefore, the development of supporting software preferably aims…

Abstract

Purpose

Today's requirements concerning successful learning support comprise a variety of application scenarios. Therefore, the development of supporting software preferably aims at modular design. This article discusses requirements regarding flexibility of e‐learning systems and presents important principles, which should be met by successful systems. The purpose of this paper is to achieve a highly flexible system as follows: first of all, the system itself should be capable of easily being integrated into other systems. Second, the approach should allow easy integration of new components, respectively, existing resources without the need to adapt the whole system.

Design/methodology/approach

Guided by the results of previous projects and by various experiences in online education the importance of modular structures of an effective architecture as well as for the system usage were discovered. Accordingly, existing e‐learning systems were examined and some deficiency regarding support of synchronous learning activities were found.

Findings

The architecture of the Meeting Room Platform (MRP) is introduced as an example implementation of synchronous communication and collaboration systems. In addition to fulfilling explained flexibility requirements, it is configurable in a way so that the user can choose a set of services he wants to provide in online meetings.

Originality/value

With aforementioned aspects of flexibility in mind, the concept of the MRP system differs from existing systems and constitutes a new approach in designing synchronous e‐learning environments. Finally, various use cases as described in this article show the benefit of this approach more detailed.

Details

Interactive Technology and Smart Education, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-5659

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Bolanle A. Olaniran

The increased pressure to incorporate communication technologies into learning environments has intensified the attention given to the role of computer‐mediated…

Abstract

Purpose

The increased pressure to incorporate communication technologies into learning environments has intensified the attention given to the role of computer‐mediated communication (CMC) in academic settings. However, the issue of how and why these technologies, especially synchronous CMC applications, has been given less attention in pedagogical literature. This paper aims to address this problem.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides issues for consideration in the deployment of synchronous CMC in educational settings.

Findings

Shows that there are differences in asynchronous and synchronous CMC with related issues of productivity of student learning and control.

Originality/value

This paper outlines advantages and disadvantages of using synchronous CMC in education while offering practical guides.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Charlie C. Chen, Jiinpo Wu and Samuel C. Yang

This study investigates the impact of online synchronous audio and video systems on the performance of cooperative learning in decision making and intellective tasks.

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the impact of online synchronous audio and video systems on the performance of cooperative learning in decision making and intellective tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 156 subjects, divided into 46 groups, were invited to resolve decision and intellective tasks in text messaging and audio conferencing e‐learning environments.

Findings

For decision‐making tasks, audio conferencing has a significant impact on cooperative learning satisfaction but not on learning performance; while for intellective tasks, neither audio conferencing nor text messaging has an impact on cooperative learning outcomes. There are no cross‐effects between platforms and task types on cooperative learning outcomes. The results indicate that the main effects of platforms and task types are independent. In other words, the impact of platforms on group discussion processes can be examined without the need of considering task types, since the latter will not affect the impacts of platforms.

Research limitations/implications

The main effects of information richness and task types are independent. Major limitation is that the student sample may not be sufficiently representative to allow wider generalization of the findings of this study.

Practical implications

The main effects of information richness and task types are independent as far as learning outcomes are concerned. The learners' attitude toward the synchronous learning system significantly affects the satisfaction of synchronous online cooperative learning.

Originality/value

This study uses empirical data to validate the hypothesized relationships between the independent variables of online synchronous learning systems (audio‐ and text‐based), the moderating variable of task types (decision making vs intellective) and the dependent variable of learning outcomes.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

Anders Norberg, Charles D. Dziuban and Patsy D. Moskal

This paper seeks to outline a time‐based strategy for blended learning that illustrates course design and delivery by framing students' learning opportunities in

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to outline a time‐based strategy for blended learning that illustrates course design and delivery by framing students' learning opportunities in synchronous and asynchronous modalities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper deconstructs the evolving components of blended learning in order to identify changes induced by digital technologies for enhancing teaching and learning environments.

Findings

This paper hypothesizes that blended learning may be traced back to early medieval times when printed material provided the first asynchronous learning opportunities. However, the digitalization of contemporary learning environments results in a de‐emphasis on teaching and learning spaces. When time becomes the primary organizing construct for education in a technology‐supported environment, blending possibilities emerge around five components: migration, support, location, learner empowerment, and flow.

Research limitations/implications

This study enables the readers to conceptualize blended learning as a combination of modern media, communication modes, times and places in a new kind of learning synthesis in place of traditional classrooms and technology with the teacher serving as a facilitator of a collective learning process.

Practical implications

The major implication of this paper is that modern learning technologies have freed students and educators from the lock in of classroom space as being the primary component of blended learning, thereby emphasizing learning rather than teaching in the planning process.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a new model of blended learning in which physical teaching environments give way to time. Time and synchronicity become the primary elements of the learning environments. In addition, the authors suggest that the time‐based model as an educational “new normal” results in technologies as enablers rather than disruptors of learning continuity.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Pramila Rao

The primary purpose of this research paper is to understand the role of national cultural dimensions on e‐learning practices in India. India is considered a major player…

Abstract

Purpose

The primary purpose of this research paper is to understand the role of national cultural dimensions on e‐learning practices in India. India is considered a major player in the world economy today. US multinationals are significantly increasing their presence in India and understanding cultural preferences will help global companies transition better.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper uses the national cultural dimensions of the global leadership and organizational behavior effectiveness project, which is identified as the most topical theoretical framework on culture. The national cultural scores are used to develop hypotheses for specific cultural dimensions. Examples from the literature are also used to strengthen the proposed hypotheses.

Findings

This research proposes that national cultural dimensions of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, in‐group collectivism, and future‐orientation influence e‐learning practices. This study distinguishes between synchronous and asynchronous methods of e‐learning and the role of culture on the same. Future research can definitely empirically test the hypotheses proposed.

Practical implications

This study provides strategic implications for multinationals with a guide sheet identifying the role of the various cultural dimensions on e‐learning. The suggested strategies can be implemented by multinationals in other countries with similar national cultural dimensions also.

Originality/value

This research also proposes a theoretical e‐learning model identifying the impact of national cultural dimensions on e‐learning practices. This research also provides practitioners a strategic implications model that could be implemented for e‐learning initiatives in multinationals.

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2014

Steven Wdowik

The purpose of this paper is to create a synchronous online learning community through the use of Blackboard Collaborate! to promote and enhance transactional engagement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to create a synchronous online learning community through the use of Blackboard Collaborate! to promote and enhance transactional engagement outside the classroom.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs a quantitative and qualitative approach where data were sourced from a third year finance unit across one semester using a survey instrument. SPSS v20 was used to perform basic descriptive analysis.

Findings

The study revealed that by providing an online learning community through the use of Blackboard Collaborate! significantly enhances transactional engagement beyond the classroom. In particular the use of Blackboard Collaborate! allowed the teacher to be more accessible, supportive, expect and support high standards and provide challenging activities that generated rich and meaningful interactions and promoted higher order thinking skills.

Research limitations/implications

The positive results emanating from this study may encourage other educators and their institutions to adopt a synchronous online learning community to enhance student's engagement levels and increase the quality of student learning and their university experience. This study was conducted at only one university so it may not be feasible to form generalisations resulting from the findings.

Originality/value

This study adds new insights towards the scarce amount of literature on engagement in a blended learning environment. In particular the study adds a student perspective to the student engagement literature and to what constitutes quality in higher education and/or improved student experience.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2016

Mary Risner and Swapna Kumar

The purpose of this paper is to examine students’ perceptions of a development course designed to increase global understanding by virtually connecting students from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine students’ perceptions of a development course designed to increase global understanding by virtually connecting students from multiple world regions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes a graduate course that connected campuses across America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Qualitative data about students’ perceptions of the course at one participating campus were then analyzed by course component, and synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Feedback was also solicited for suggestions to improve the course.

Findings

The analyzed data indicate strong positive student attitudes toward connecting with global counterparts. However, these data also imply that there are various obstacles to overcome in order to meet student expectations of increased and better quality peer interaction, and to prepare faculty across all disciplines for successful design and implementation of this type of course.

Originality/value

The use of synchronous communication to facilitate the exchange of local perspectives on issues of global significance is valuable to all disciplines, and is even more critical in the area of development where understanding local context is key. This exploratory study offers recommendations for future research on courses connecting students across borders and suggestions for course activities to increase peer engagement.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Ute Manecke

This chapter explores the challenges and opportunities that teaching and learning in a synchronous online environment pose by examining information literacy (IL) provision…

Abstract

This chapter explores the challenges and opportunities that teaching and learning in a synchronous online environment pose by examining information literacy (IL) provision at the Open University (OU), which will serve as a case study.

The OU provides distance education. While its flexibility offers more individuals an opportunity to start a course, it can be more challenging to ensure students develop their skills and knowledge and calls for innovative and engaging teaching methods.

The OU Library’s Live Engagement Team runs a program of digital information literacy (DIL) sessions. The team’s online pedagogy is built on retention and success and involves the careful planning, designing and delivering of DIL sessions, creating numerous interactive moments to increase teaching effectiveness.

The virtual enquiry desk allows students to consult library staff synchronously via the library helpdesk’s webchat service, which is delivered 24 hours a day. One of the advantages of this service is that students interact directly by having a dialogue with library staff in which they can ask further questions.

Both services carry out continuous reviews of the ways they operate, innovate and intervene. The chapter provides first-hand experiences of what has worked well in information literacy teaching in synchronous online spaces.

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