Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Sunday, September 22, 2019 08:50:53 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Seizing The Moment

Social Dynamics And The Remote Student Experience

 Social Dynamics And The Remote Student Experience
photo by

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Jim Phillips, James Williamson and Nicholas Brummell :
At a recent Excellence in Teaching award luncheon at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a conversation turned to lecture capture and revealed unexpected impacts. Although not a research study (much work has been done comparing online and in-class learning), the following recounts the faculty conversation and introduces a potentially beneficial dynamic for both remote students and in-class participants.
Applied Mathematics Professor Nic Brummell teaches Mathematical Methods for Engineers 1 in a large auditorium. More than two hundred undergraduate engineering majors are enrolled in the course. After Brummell outlined the class expectations and format, the students requested he add lecture capture recordings. He agreed. Audio recordings and a data feed were made available on demand so that students could access the lecture materials for review. Brummell's intent was to offer the lecture capture materials as supplements to the classroom experience.
Initially, his lecture presentation style was typical of what might be encountered in a large classroom. To convey the material, he used two document cameras projected on separate screens to make it easier for students in the far reaches of the room to see the content. Even though he saw benefits to this setup, Brummell pointed out that using the cameras has drawbacks. "This means you sit down at the camera," he said. "I don't like that. I prefer to be up and active. With lots of students in the class, you can't really pick out specific students very easily, and no one wants to ask questions."
After a few lectures, Brummell noticed that a sizeable number of students had stopped coming to class, presumably because they preferred to listen to the recordings. With the class scheduled in a large auditorium, the students who came to class tended to sit closer to the front of the room and nearer to the professor. While the use of the document cameras forced him to remain anchored to a specific location in the classroom, Brummell noted that because the students were closer, he could look up and talk directly to them. "I started getting to know a few names and faces, especially the students who got there early like me," he said. "I chatted with some of them on a regular basis."
Consequently, his class of two hundred was reduced to about fifty stalwart students who continued to come for the live-lecture experience. Due to the smaller face-to-face class size, Brummell began to shift his focus to the more specific needs of the students who were present. This, in turn, allowed him to use his small-class teaching style in place of the large-class teaching style he would normally use in a lecture hall. Brummell explained:
The atmosphere of the class definitely changed in that respect. There was a much more friendly air and a less separated (teacher-student) feel to it, and there were some questions that were more easily answered. [It was] easier to address a particular person, and I didn't feel the pressure of keeping a whole bunch of other people waiting.
It is also interesting that the remote students were not able to observe the professor interacting with the students in the classroom; they perceived his small-class teaching style only through his voice.
As the luncheon drew to a close, the reaction of the remote students was compared to the effect a live studio audience can have on television viewers at home. Professor Brummell agreed and jokingly asked for the addition of a laugh track to his recorded lectures.
Due to the smaller class size, Professor Brummell was better able to connect with the classroom audience. Students listening to the lectures remotely later indicated that his new presentation style was very effective. Brummell recounted:
There were quite a few comments…expressing appreciation for the webcasts, and some of the comments mentioned the atmosphere of the class (using words like "enthusiasm" and "friendliness"). Many appreciated the alternative. Again, it is hard to quantify, but my overall feeling is that even though I usually get good comments for this class, this year overall there seemed to be a greater degree of satisfaction.
While the positive student response described above would not have been possible without the digitization of the lecture content, it should not be attributed solely to technology. These student responses may have been strengthened by a deeper behavioral phenomenon: surrogacy through "vicarious interactions."
Vicarious interaction occurs when remote viewers establish a sympathetic relationship to a live studio audience and, through surrogacy, develop a connection with mediated subjects. For example, one study focusing on celebrities and social media describes vicarious interaction and surrogacy:
In [television interview] scenarios, the studio audience and the supporting cast who were involved in direct interactions with a performer function as surrogates for the audience that consumes the show from a distance.1
Within the context of online/hybrid instruction, remote students can benefit from the vicarious interactions by accepting the classroom attendees as surrogates. The concept linking surrogacy and vicarious interaction to student satisfaction was introduced in a paper presented by Leah Sutton at the 2000 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association:
Such students, referred to as vicarious interactors, can enjoy benefits that are essentially equivalent to those achieved by direct interactors. This enhanced outcome can be achieved without direct interaction in the traditional sense. The vicarious interactor cognitively processes content while absorbing the interactions of others. The cognitive processing that takes place at this stage, although relatively passive, nonetheless enhances the learning process.2
Sutton later posits that because the vicarious experience is derivative and because remote students do not directly or overtly participate in the classroom experience, their achievement may suffer.
Today there is a different type of student from the one Sutton recognized in 2000: one who is accustomed to online social interaction. It can be argued that techno-societies have reached a state of maturity wherein digital interchanges are accepted norms, and this has positive impacts within the context of teaching and learning.
In this case, the process of digitally recording the lecture and sharing it via the distributed network added new value, transforming a large lecture into a small-class conversation with unforeseen, vicarious benefits for remote students.
The digital transformation discussed here included three distinct elements:
The availability of recorded lectures resulted in a certain portion of the student population listening remotely, which, in turn, resulted in a smaller in-person class size.
The small-class format allowed the professor to address the issues, problems, concerns, and questions of those students present.
The remote student evaluations reported positive responses in part because of the small-class format.
Several interesting educational research questions remain: Do students who attend the lecture and interact with the professor introduce a selection bias to the class discussion? Additional research is needed with random samples of remote and in-class students to study whether selection bias impacts the nature of class discussion, the types of questions asked, and whether vicarious interaction improves the performance outcomes of remote students.
Another set of questions could consider the performance outcomes of remote students when there are classroom students versus when there are no classroom students. That is, does vicarious interaction have a measurable effect?
One might observe the tremendous growth in online learning and attribute it to better materials, better delivery, or even better technology, but another factor is how undeniably accustomed students have become to the dynamics of digitally mediated social interactions. Predictably, this impacts learning in all of its manifestations, including online/hybrid learning. This harkens back to what Stephen Fry referred to as the synergistic nature of invention wherein one invention has a ripple effect on society, which begets new technologies and new uses of existing technologies.3 Within this fecund space of human invention and bricolage lies unanticipated revelations, serendipitous discoveries, and unexpected side effects.
In an age of increased enrollments, impersonal lecture halls, and overcramped classrooms, it can be challenging for students and faculty to establish and maintain positive working relationships. Professor Brummell was able to improve the learning experience for both in-class and remote students by establishing a level of connectedness that endured even after the course had ended. He said, "I still see and recognize some of these students around campus now, and they cordially acknowledge me."

(Jim Phillips is Director of Learning Technologies, Information Technology Services at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Jim Williamson is Director of Educational Technology Systems and Administration, Office of Information Technology, at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Nic Brummell is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Santa Cruz).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

NIDs are forged and also sold: Solve Rohingya crisis

MEMBERS of a syndicate were using a house in Chattograms's Hamzarbagh to make forged national identity cards for Rohingyas. Officials of Chattogram Metropolitan Police's counterterrorism unit said they raided the house in Momenbag Residential Area early in the day and recovered an EC laptop and internet modems, among other devices.Police ...

Entertainment »

Moushumi to run for the post of President of Bangladesh Cholochchitro Shilpi Samity

Entertainment Desk :Film actor Moushumi announced that she will run for the post of President of Bangladesh Cholochchitro Shilpi Samiti ,at the upcoming election of the Samity. The Samity hasn't announced its manifesto yet; however, Moushumi announced her candidacy recently. Actor Omar Sani, Moushumi's husband, posted about the announcement on ...

Football »

Barbosa earns Brazil recall for Senegal, Nigeria duels

Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa earned his first Brazil call-up for three years on Friday as head coach Tite announced a vastly changed squad for friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria.Tite named three uncapped players in his 23-man squad - Athletico Paranaense goalkeeper Anerbar Santos, Atletico Madrid full-back Renan Lodi and Gremio ...

International »

US sending more troops to Gulf, Trump announces Iran sanctions

The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did ...

International »

Israel's Arabs could lead parliamentary opposition, in a historic first

Reuters, Haifa  :Israel's Arab parties are set to be the largest non-ruling bloc in parliament - and could even lead the opposition - if a national unity government emerges from Tuesday's election.A surge in turnout gave the Arab-dominated Joint List 13 of the Knesset's 120 seats, making it the third-largest ...

Editorial »

Breathing the worst air in Dhaka

THE Air Quality Index (AQI) on Thursday morning showed that Dhaka's air quality was the second-worst in the world. Dhaka had a score of 190 at 8:21am, indicating that the quality was unhealthy. When the AQI value is between 101 and 200, there is an increased likelihood of adverse effects ...

City »

Natun Dhara Bangladesh formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Friday with a call to ban casino business.


Entertainment »

Jhumu Khan will return to music any time

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Jhumu Khan is a professional doctor. Before becoming doctor she started her career in music. In 1994, her first solo album titled Chondrima Raatey was released. A song of that album titled Pan Khaite Chun Lagey got popularity during that time. Composed by Manam Ahmed Hasan Motiur ...

International »

Pompeo favours 'peaceful resolution' to crisis after Saudi oil attack

AFP, Dubai :The US wants a peaceful solution to the crisis sparked by attacks on Saudi oil installations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, after Iran raised the spectre of "all-out war".Pompeo has blamed Iran for the dramatic weekend assault on two facilities, condemning an "act of war" which ...

Front Page »

2 Rohingyas among 3 'criminals' killed in C'bazar gunfight

UNB, Cox's Bazar :Three suspected criminals, including two Rohingyas, were killed in a reported gunfight with police at Baharchhara in Teknaf upazila early Thursday.The deceased were identified as Mohammad Jamil, 20, son of Fazal Ahmed; and Asmat Ullah, 21, son of Nabi Hossain of Ukhiya's Balukhali camp; and Mohammad Rafique, ...

Sports »

Timea Babos of Hungary, returns a shot to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, during their second round match of the Korea Open tennis championships in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday.

International »

UK, US discuss need for united diplomatic response to Saudi attack

Reuters, London :British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump condemned last weekend's attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and discussed the need for a united diplomatic response in a telephone call on Wednesday, Mr Johnson's office said."They condemned the attacks and discussed the need for a united ...

International »

US senators urge Trump to end nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia

Reuters, Washington :Two Democratic U.S. senators on Wednesday urged Trump administration officials to halt talks with Saudi Arabia on building nuclear reactors after weekend attacks that halved the country's oil output and increased instability in the Middle East.U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters on Tuesday at a nuclear power ...

Editorial »

Investors losing interest in stock market

THE government's recent measures to prop up the stock market appear to have failed as the unusual fall of share prices continues to rattle investors. The DSEX, the benchmark index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, slumped to a 33-month low to 4,888 points on Wednesday, losing 533.61 points or 9.84 percent ...

Entertainment »

Farhana Mili in role of judge

Entertainment Report :Farhana Mili is a noted actress of the small screen. Basically she won the hearts of so many viewers to work in movie Monpura. After acting in this movie, she only engaged herself with acting only in the small screen. Sometimes Mili is seen to perform as a ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news