Enhancing the teaching and learning experience of distance education through the use of synchronous online tutorials

Walsh, Elaine, O'Keeffe, Noeleen, Delaney, Lorraine, Fox, Seamus, Brunton, James, Costello, Eamon and Morrissey, Anne (2012) Enhancing the teaching and learning experience of distance education through the use of synchronous online tutorials. In: EADTU 2012, 27-28 Sept, Paphos, Cyprus..


Oscail, Distance Education, Dublin City University is at the forefront, like many other distance education providers, in its commitment to adopting new technologies to improve the teaching and learning experience of their students (Cakir and Basak, 2004). Social interaction has been found to contribute positively to knowledge construction, higher order learning (Vygotsky, 1975 ed), achievement (Hrastinski, 2009) and successful completion (Rosenberg 2001, Salmon 2000). Advances in technology have facilitated an enhanced teaching and learning experience for distance education together with the opportunity for social interaction, an aspect often missing from traditional distance education. Following an evaluation of several web conferencing tools, Dublin City University opted to adopt Wimba Classroom to provide live, virtual tutorials. In 2010/2011, Wimba was piloted in the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree programme and the outcomes of this project were reported at the 2011 EADTU conference. Following the positive outcome of the pilot project, synchronous online tutorials were introduced to all Oscail programmes in 2011/2012. The use of Wimba was extended to include webinars, student presentations and student feedback sessions and to provide students with the opportunity to engage in social interaction and knowledge construction. This paper will reflect on the subsequent student and tutor experience of teaching and learning within Wimba. It will evaluate if the findings of the pilot project translated to the larger provision of online tutorials.

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Walsh et al 2012 Enhancing_the_teaching_and_learning_experience_of_distance_education_through_the_use_of_synchronous_online_tutorials..pdf

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