The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses
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The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop-In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses. Lawton Shaw Centre for Science. Outline. Background & Review The Pilot Project Demonstration Student Survey Results Conclusions Acknowledgments. Challenges in Tele-tutoring.

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The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop-In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses

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The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses

The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop-In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses

Lawton Shaw

Centre for Science


Outline

Outline

  • Background & Review

  • The Pilot Project

  • Demonstration

  • Student Survey Results

  • Conclusions

  • Acknowledgments


Challenges in tele tutoring

Challenges in Tele-tutoring


Challenges in tele tutoring learning styles

Challenges in Tele-tutoringLearning Styles

  • Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Learning Styles

    How does a strong visual or strong kinesthetic learner actually learn much over the phone?


Challenges in tele tutoring semiotics or how the story is told

Challenges in Tele-tutoringSemiotics, or How the story is told

Semiotics: “the study of signs and symbols in various fields” (Oxford dictionary)

  • Many academic disciplines are communicated through a system of symbols: philosophy (logic), linguistics, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, statistics, accounting, finance…


Semiotics of chemistry

Semiotics of Chemistry

Language of chemistry:

  • chemical symbols

  • visual abstractions of molecules

  • mathematical descriptions


Can we address some of these challenges with online whiteboards

Can we address some of these challenges with online whiteboards?


Whiteboards in education

Whiteboards in Education

  • Extensive literature on classroom applications1

  • Limited applications in DE

1for example, Smith, H.J., Higgins, S., Wall, K.,

Miller, J. (2005) J. Comput. Assist. Lear. 21,

91-101


Phone whiteboard

“Phone + whiteboard”

  • 1-on-1 tutor/student

  • Very easy to implement

  • Quite effective

  • Pilot in AU math courses (Julie Peschke and Konrad Michalski)


Text whiteboard

“Text + whiteboard”

  • Commercial tutorial services2-3 and in institutions4-6

  • 1-on-1 tutor/student

  • No audio (interaction is hindered)

2Bourke, C. (2007) Aplis 20:2, 67-71

3Smartthinking.com: http://www.smarthinking.com/

4TVOntario Independent Learning Centres: http://www.ilc.org/

5Smith, G.G., Ferguson, D. (2004) Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Tech. 35:5, 681-695

6Online Classroom June 2005, 5


Text audio whiteboard

“Text + audio + whiteboard”

“Elluminate approach”

  • Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Learning Styles

  • BONUS: Multiple participants!

    (opportunities for interesting social aspects)


Online synchronous drop in tutorial using elluminate

Online Synchronous Drop-In Tutorial using Elluminate


Pilot project online synchronous drop in tutorial using elluminate

Pilot Project:“Online Synchronous Drop-In Tutorial using Elluminate”

  • “Drop-in” online tutorial

  • Supplement to I.S. tutoring

  • 12 weeks

  • 3 evenings per week

  • 8:00-10:00 pm MST


Required hardware

Required Hardware

  • Graphic tablet for tutor

  • $150 – 250 for a 6 x 8 tablet

  • Microphone & speakers (usually an existing PC component)


Pilot project

Pilot Project

Notification:

  • Students were sent weekly group emails (bcc) announcing the weekly schedule, link to an anonymous online survey

  • At end of survey, provided link to Elluminate class


The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses

DEMO


Survey structure

Survey Structure

Have you used the online drop-in chemistry tutorial before?

No

Yes

  • Question sets on:

  • Age/Gender

  • Location

  • Courses

  • Length of time in course

  • Previous tutor contact

  • Technological savvy

  • Access to Technology

  • Question sets on:

  • Number of visits

  • Evaluation of Elluminate

  • Ellumination tools used

  • Qualitative free-response

Correlate using

IP addresses

Link to Elluminate


Student participation rate

Student Participation Rate

  • Over period of study, 245 students were enrolled in the 5 chemistry courses

  • 171 students visited at least once

    70% participation rate

    17% completed evaluation survey

  • Single visits: 157 students (91.8 %)

  • Multiple visits: 14 students (8.2%)


Evaluation by students

Evaluation by Students

  • 97% found it easy to get started in Elluminate

  • 90% found it easy to use Elluminate as a virtual classroom

  • 97% found the sound quality acceptable


Time use

Time Use

  • Average 5.1 min wait time

  • Average 7.0 min spent on their question

  • 70% found other students present when they logged in

  • 67% watched/listened to tutor answering other questions


Satisfaction

“Satisfaction”

  • “Is the online whiteboard an effective teaching tool?” -100% Yes

  • “Do you think this technology is helpful in learning chemistry at a distance?” - 100% Yes

  • “Would you use the online drop-in tutorial again?” - 100% Yes

  • “Would you recommend using the online drop-in tutorial to someone you know?” - 100% Yes

  • “Do you think this tutorial mode should be available to students on an ongoing basis?” - 100% Yes


Some student comments

Some Student Comments


The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses

“watching and listening to other student's questions was a great learning experience. It was somewhat like sitting in a lecture hall listening to other student's questions after a lecture…”


The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses

“I really, really liked it! I found it very helpful - both in getting my own questions answered & also when listening to other student's questions. Even to know they sometimes had the same problems I did with some concepts was helpful. Or sometimes they thought of it in a different way, which was good to know & added to my understanding. “


The use of whiteboards in synchronous online drop in tutorials in distance delivered courses

“I enjoyed it very much. Being part of an actual tutor/exchange made me feel like I was part of a class community. Until now, I have felt very isolated while taking this course...“


Biases affecting repeat student participation

Biases Affecting RepeatStudent Participation


Biases affecting repeat student participation1

Biases Affecting Repeat Student Participation

  • Initially attracts more female students, but more males come back.

  • Older student population

  • Time zone effect

  • Number of chemistry courses enrolled in

  • Comfort with technology


The future

The Future

  • Plans to bring back on-line drop-in tutorial in Chem 217/218, in same format as pilot study

  • Supplement to Individualized Study tutor model


Challenges to broad application

Challenges to Broad Application

  • Institutional support of offering numerous online drop-in tutorials simultaneously ($$)

  • Collective agreement changes if it replaces phone tutoring

  • Tutor buy-in


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Very high degree of student satisfaction

  • Elluminate is suitable for this teaching application

  • Demographic differences between multiple-visit and single-visit students


Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments

  • Tutors: Jim Robinson and Lois Browne

  • Elluminate: Shubhash Wasti

  • PSP Surveyor: Mawuli Kuivi

  • Learning Services Tutorial: Cindy Kilborn, Rachelle Reid

  • Institutional Studies (AU)

  • Julie Peschke, Konrad Michalski, and Steve Swettenham for useful discussions

  • Athabasca University for MCR Funding


Thank you for your time

Thank you for your time.


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