Introducing Wimba to Oscail online programmes

Walsh, Elaine, O'Keeffe, Noeleen, Brunton, James, Fox, Seamus, Morrissey, Anne and Costello, Eamon (2011) Introducing Wimba to Oscail online programmes. In: EADTU 2011, 3-4 Nov 2011, Eskisehir, Turkey.


This paper reports on a pilot project that investigated the potential for providing synchronous web-based tutorial support for distance education students, and the evaluation of that pilot project. A key challenge for distance education providers is the provision of quality academic support to all students regardless of location. The proven, positive link between attendance at tutorials and academic achievement highlights this aspect of academic support as crucial to distance education student success. In response to student difficulties in attending tutorials and diminishing numbers of tutorial centres, it has become increasingly important to investigate alternative methods of providing tutorial support to distance education students. Following an evaluation of a number of web-based conferencing software, Dublin City University opted to use Wimba Classroom in providing live, virtual classrooms to students. The pilot project involved the adaption of the existing, synchronous, face-to-face tutorial support system, provided to distance education students on the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSc in IT) degree programme from Oscail – DCU Distance Education, such that students attended live, virtual classrooms instead. A particular focus of this paper is the “Enterprise and Emerging Technologies” module of the BSc in IT programme which was specifically redesigned and rewritten for this pilot project. The most successful feature of this software was the archived versions of the live tutorials with 83% of students accessing the archives. The results of this project will have a significant impact on the future delivery of tutorial support, course delivery and assessment in Oscail – DCU Distance Education.

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