Lit Review: The Use of Videoconferencing as a Medium for Collaboration of Experiences and Dialogue Among Graduate Students

Lit Review: This is a post in a series focusing on the research studies on videoconferencing.

Berson, M. J., Carano, K., Carlson, L. A., Mixon, N. K., Rodriguez, P., Sheffield, C. C., et al. (2006). The use of videoconferencing as a medium for collaboration of experiences and dialogue among graduate students: A case study from two southeastern universities. Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2006, 262-267.  Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/

My Codes: VCProjects

Main Point: The authors are part of a collaboration between the teacher education programs at two universities connecting via Internet2. The article describes the semester long team-teaching course, advantages and disadvantages of the team-teaching videoconference format, and discusses some of the content covered during the joint sessions. The class used blogging as an asynchronous method to connect the classes and allow for additional reflective thinking.

Theoretical Framework/References:
The article references Vygotsky to show the importance of “cultural exchange, social interaction, and peer collaboration” for the learning process.

Methods, Sample, Variables/Case:
This article is a conference paper so it doesn’t have a clear description of method. The study is called a case study (p. 2), but methods of data collection and analysis are not described.

Findings:
It seems mostly a discussion format was used for the videoconferences, and the two professors team-facilitated the discussions.

The participants learned from each other’s different perspectives. One class was comprised of mainly graduate students who were already teaching; while the other class had mainly graduate students who had not yet taught or were not teaching at the same time as taking the class. These different perspectives added to the quality of the discussion and learning from both sides.

The students were able to gain the advantage of having two professors without putting a strain on either university’s resources.

The double class size due to the videoconference afforded a wider perspective and more interesting discussions.

There were some challenges including some audio problems, one night one site had a blue screen the whole time (even universities have firewall problems!) A few times one university would “take over” the conversation and they had to adjust procedures to make sure the conversation was well rounded from both sides. Some mic issues included hearing side conversations and fidgeting noises, so muting the microphone was used to resolve that.

Author/Audience:
The authors are university education professors and they were presenting to an educational technology conference of K-20 educators.

Questions/Thoughts/Implications:

We can’t say that higher education isn’t trying to expose teacher education students to technology, that’s for sure. You may have your doubts about the university close to you, but there are definitely professors trying to expose pre-service teachers to current educational technologies. Yeah for them!!

I wonder if they experimented with any specific pedagogical techniques to make the instruction and discussion varied and interesting between the sites. I’m thinking of strategies by Carol Fleck and Kim Perry who presented at the Keystone Conference in 2004.

This is a great example of collaboration at the university level, and a model for team-teaching as a specific type of collaborative videoconferences.

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About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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