1 Mykolas Riomeris University (LITHUANIA)
2 Vytautas Magnus University (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1787-1793
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1402
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Recent technology changes have influenced the design of a qualitatively new virtual communication environment, and, also, the expectations of its efficient application in distance learning. Have these intensions proved? Teachers use synchronous communication with or without recording as well as asynchronous communication for communicating with students. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such communication from the teachers’ point of view? In this article, we describe the reflections of teachers, communicating with students in a virtual learning environment (VLE) in a distance learning course. Representatives of physical sciences, i.e. professional ICT teachers, participated in this research.
The aim of this research is to disclose the performance peculiarities of professional ICT teachers working with students in a VLE. Related objectives are:
1. To disclose the relevance of teacher-student communication in a VLE.
2. To highlight the specifics of teacher-student communication in a VLE.
3. To identify the peculiarities of teacher-student communication in a VLE from the point of view of a professional ICT teacher.
The methodology applied for this research includes the following methods: scientific literature analysis, internet survey (closed-ended and open-ended questions), interview, descriptive content analysis of the responses to the open-ended questions, statistical analysis of the responses to the closed-ended questions. Quantitative (N=26) research (online survey) was conducted in a university department, aiming to disclose the teachers’ ability to adapt to modern challenges in their work. An adapted questionnaire, developed by psychologists (Bulotaitė, Pociūtė and Bliumas, 2008), was used.
The quantitative research disclosed, that the satisfaction degree of the surveyed professional ICT teachers is quite high (3.48 in a 5-score scale), and that the work in distant studies (t=1.42, p<0.05) and students in distant studies (t=1.35, p<0.05), do not seem to be the key sources of stress at work. However, qualitative research of the teachers’ reflections disclosed that the professional ICT teachers assess the non-traditional (virtual) communication with students as being a challenge for them. They recognize the peculiarities of virtual communication compared with traditional communication, forcing the teacher “to leave the comfort zone”.
The preliminary conclusions of the qualitative research (N=7) are the following: preparation of a VLE course differs essentially from the preparation for face-to-face courses; VLE teacher spends much more time for the development of study materials and the description of the study process and requirements; for VLE learning, the success of studies very much depends not only on the teacher’s skills to prepare study materials, but, also, on the students’ motivation, their activity during synchronic consultations and timely completion of assignments; VLE teacher experiences discomfort when not seeing non-verbal student reaction, as in this case he/she does not notice in time what is unclear to students, and, thus, is not able to react interactively; teachers positively assess the possibility to deliver classes from any location (home, library, being abroad, etc.), as the study process is not interrupted if a teacher is physically absent from university; students can connect to a VLE from all over the world.
Distance teaching, virtual learning environment, virtual teacher-student communication.