Authors: Qiyun Wang; Choon Lang Quek
Addresses: Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nayang Technological University, Singapore ' Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nayang Technological University, Singapore
Abstract: In this study, a blended synchronous learning environment was created for a group of Master's students to take a course. Most of the students came to the classroom to take lessons every week. Meanwhile, few students were allowed to join the classroom instructional process by using video conferencing at homes or workplaces. The purpose of this study was to find out what challenges the remote students and the instructor met in the blended synchronous learning sessions and what strategies could be effectively used to address the challenges. Results showed that the engagement level of the remote students was low, and they had difficulties in communicating with the classroom students and asking questions. Some activities happening in the classroom were also difficult for them to observe and participate. Nevertheless, some students liked the way of attending lessons as it could save them much travel time. Also, it was hard for the instructor to pay attention to the remote students, and the instructor needed to adjust presentation slides so that important information would not be covered by streaming videos. Some useful strategies included partnership, regularly monitoring the understanding of remote students using two cameras and two mics, and sound control and coordination.
Keywords: blended learning; video conferencing; design-based research; synchronous learning; higher education; masters students; student engagement.
International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2016 Vol.4 No.3, pp.223 - 238
Received: 01 Apr 2016
Accepted: 01 Apr 2016
Published online: 23 Sep 2016 *