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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

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 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
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)

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
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
slide26
“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…”
slide27
“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. “
slide28
“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 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
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