Why Synchronous Learning?
Online learning and degree programs are on the rise, according to a recent study. Despite financial and economic trouble, students continue to seek out online degree programs to complete a new degree. With that being said, synchronous learning is important for the success of the course. It takes online learning to a new level of interaction, and makes the students feel like they are part of a class, rather than learning in isolation. There are a few tools we have available to provide synchronous sessions within our courses, here at Campbell University.
- Flexible Scheduling- The sessions have the ability to be recorded, allowing students to watch the session at a later time and date if they were unable to attend the live session. This is extremely beneficial to our international students.
- Share Content- When administering a live synchronous session, the instructor has the ability to share your screen to model a strategy or share content with the students.
- Assessment- As the instructor, you can formatively assess students in an anonymous way by using the polling system.
- Group Assignments- This meeting tool allows students to “meet” and discuss group projects within the course and outline the requirements.
- Multi-Modality- All of the tools (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Skype for Business, and WebEx) allow the instructor and students to converse via text, audio, and video conferencing, engaging all learner abilities.
Virtual Office Hours
When students are enrolled in online courses, it is difficult to receive immediate feedback when corresponding by email only. Some instructors have been providing virtual office hours for students at various times, allowing for more student to instructor engagement. These synchronous sessions allow students to meet with instructors during their posted available hours.
All in all, any new tool takes a bit of a learning curve. Instructors do need to be willing to learn a new tool and become proficient prior to using it with students. We here in the Instructional Technology and Design Office are also willing to meet with instructors and offer our assistance.
- Boulos, M. N. K., Taylor, A. D., & Breton, A. (2005). A synchronous communication experiment within an online distance learning program: a case study. Telemedicine Journal & e-Health, 11(5), 583-593.
- Chen, N. S., Ko, H. C., Kinshuk*, & Lin, T. (2005). A model for synchronous learning using the Internet. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 42(2), 181-194.
- Hastie, M., Hung, I. C., Chen, N. S., & Kinshuk. (2010). A blended synchronous learning model for educational international collaboration. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(1), 9-24.
- Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause quarterly, 31(4), 51-55.