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Student Support Services in eLearning & Virtual Classrooms in Education Provision Projects Led By Ericsson Education Ireland Student Support Services in eLearning Partners in the project were NKI DEIS FernUniversität University of Roma Tre Definition

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Student Support Services in eLearning& Virtual Classrooms in Education ProvisionProjects Led By Ericsson Education Ireland

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Student Support Services in eLearning

  • Partners in the project were

    • NKI

    • DEIS

    • FernUniversität

    • University of Roma Tre

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  • The definition of Student Support Services (SSS) adopted by the project was “those parts of a distance learning or elearning system that are additional to the provision of course content”.


  • To address the frequently expressed concerns that in many elearning systems SSS were diminished or absent.  

  • To assess the American analyst Davenport’s judgment that ‘the use of elearning is generally unsupervised by any instructor or training professional; this is one way it achieves economic efficiencies’.

  • The question ‘Can all assessment in elearning be done electronically?’

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Analysis of the pedagogical constructs of eLearning

  • There is a multiplicity of meanings with regard to the term eLearning.

  • eLearning assumes that the learner can reach learning goals and objectives solely by studying the learning package.

  • The movement from the central role of the educational institution to the central role of the student can be realized in eLearning thanks to SSS.

    ·    Traditional face-to-face higher education institutions are viewed as more effective environments for learning – they have a range of support services

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Analysis of the pedagogical constructs of eLearning – cont.

  • Attention is paid to the design and delivery of course content but none to the provision of supports and services – very different to the support expected on a traditional campus

  • Empirical research is needed to match the services needed to the services wanted

  • The quality of a system depends on the quality of available information "about" all elements (from author via dispatch to the students)

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Existing Student Support Services among the Partners cont.

  • NKI (Norway) developed internally an administrative data systems designed to make ensure the supply of efficient student support services with a heavy emphasis on the use of tutors, based on their distance learning experiences.

  • In Italy the trend was towards administrative and didactic support rather than motivational

  • In Germany the experience was similar to that in NKI – however, it was found that students had to dig deep to find the services

  • In Ireland in DEIS student supports services were designed around Tait’s three primary function which are cognitive, affective and systemic

  • In the corporate world, the eLearning offering was designed to minimize human support even though a help desk is available more for technical questions rather than content

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Analysis of Major LMS Systems cont.

  • WebCT, TopClass, Saba, Learning Space, Blackboard and proprietary systems.

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Findings cont.

  • Few of the features provided in the commercial LMS are explicitly for SSS but many can be if properly managed and facilitated

  • An innovative use of relatively low-tech features then can be more effective from the point-of-view of both the learner and the tutor/instructor

  • The effectiveness of LMSs depends as much on their intelligent and pedagogically judicious use as on their technical features and functionalities

  • eLearning platforms create a virtual learning environment, which is an effective and efficient way to organize both the institution’s and student’s work.

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Student Satisfaction Survey with SSS cont.

  • Can eLearning be conducted totally electronically?

    • Yes according to Irish corporate students

    • No according to academic Norwegian students

  • The business model for corporate elearnig seems to be based on the virtual elimination of human actors in the system

  • Within the academic world, student support services are viewed as essential

  • The corporate world appears to be satisfied with electronic assessment

  • Human feedback on assignments etc are essential in the academic world

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Information Phase cont.

Guidance Phase

Registration Phase

Integration Phase

Help Desk

Learner Support

Evaluation System

Final Results Phase

Accreditation Assistance Phase

Guidance on Further Study Phase

Dispatch of physical materials

Instruction on Online Learning

Advisors/student Counsellors

Academic Staff

Learning Support

The Personal Tutor

Follow-up of Inactive Students

Bulletin Boards, Forums


Online Tutorials

Face to face Tutorials


Student Self-Assessment

Automated Assessment

Tutor Assessment

Assessment Feedback-electronic

Assessment Feedback-manual

Pacing System

Submission System

New Student Support Services Rich eLearning Model

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New Student Support Services Rich eLearning Model – Student Satisfaction

  • Overall positive

Student Support Services for eLearning Outcomes and Conclusions

  • The unique conclusion of the project is that it indicated a split in the world of eLearning into corporate and academic providers which could only have been discovered by focussing on student support services.

  • New model incorporated into NKI & DEIS

  • Influenced Ericsson when setting up an mLMS for mobile learning


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Virtual Classrooms in Educational Provision Student Satisfaction- Synchronous eLearning Systems for European Institutions

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Virtual Classroom – What is it? Student Satisfaction

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Link to recorded centra session Student Satisfaction

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Pedagogical Characteristics of Virtual Student SatisfactionClassrooms

  • Students have the advantages of the flexibility of studying on their own and the social advantages of belonging to a learning group

  • Teacher and student are separated in space but not in time

  • The pedagogical structure of the class assembled at a fixed time and for a fixed period is restored

  • A WWW browser is used as an important delivery medium

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Pedagogical Characteristics of Virtual Classrooms Student Satisfaction

  • Voice contact between the teacher and the students and, at times, between student and teacher is restored

  • Student study is paced by the virtual classroom sessions

  • Communication is managed electronically

  • Pedagogical features of elearning like video broadcasts, text chat, whiteboards, Power Point type presentations and application sharing are available

  • Breakout rooms for small group discussions and web safaris for use of the WWW are available

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Virtual Classrooms – Current Status in Europe Student Satisfaction

  • Research among 28 European Countries shows that there is reasonable awareness but limited usage

  • Certain level of confusion exists on what virtual classroom is

  • Open University of Catalonia and Corvinus University of Budapest

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Virtual Classrooms – Current Status in America Student Satisfaction

  • More extensive usage – accepted and used as a legitimate educational method

  • Evidence that these systems are gaining ground as more vendors of Learning Management Systems are having to incorporate a Synchronous dimension to their systems

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Virtual Classrooms – Advantages Student Satisfaction

  • Increased and fast access to information

  • Just-in-time information

  • Convenience

  • Elimination of space, time and geographical constraints

  • Can be used as a student support in eLearning

  • Cost Savings

  • Archiving of courses

  • Increased repetitions

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Virtual Classrooms – Challenges Student Satisfaction

  • Absence of face-to-face communication

  • Low rate of internet penetration

  • Cultural differences

  • Perceived lack of control of the participants

  • Underdeveloped IT infrastructure

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The Future Student Satisfaction

  • Institutions who have explored the possibility of using Virtual Classrooms will continue to do so

  • As bandwidth expands, systems will stabilise and enable lecturers and students alike to be more confident