Evaluating a Telewriter System To Enhance Audio-Teleconferencing: A Qualitative Search for Instructional Design Issues
An audioteleconferencing system enhanced with a microcomputer-based telewriting system was used for the delivery of an introductory statistics course designed for home study which was offered by Athabasca University. From the instructor's point of view, the telewriter system made supporting the delivery of the statistics course much easier and more convenient than was possible by using either the telephone or teleconferencing alone. However, a number of technical problems with the telewriter system were cited by all students as a major problem throughout the project. Instructionally, the students were dissatisfied with the lecture style of presentation used by the instructor and with the rate of pacing used to cover the course content. Students particularly questioned the reproduction of material given in the text and student manual. In fact, many felt that they could progress as well reading the material on their own, at home, and to a large degree this would account for the substantial fall-off in attendance at sessions at the six study sites, and the termination of the course with a 67% completion rate. Students indicated that two of their initial expectations for the course--personal contact with the instructor and personal contact with other students--were not met. Possible explanations for the overall negative assessments of this course include a negative reaction to the instructor and the associated instructional style, the technical problems experienced, and the nature of the subject matter. (7 references) (GL)
Shale, D. & Garrison, D.R. Evaluating a Telewriter System To Enhance Audio-Teleconferencing: A Qualitative Search for Instructional Design Issues.