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The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop- In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses Lawton Shaw Centre for Science.

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Presentation on theme: "The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop- In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses Lawton Shaw Centre for Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Use of Whiteboards in Synchronous Online Drop- In Tutorials in Distance Delivered Courses Lawton Shaw Centre for Science

2 Outline Background & Review The Pilot Project Demonstration Student Survey Results Conclusions Acknowledgments

3 Challenges in Tele-tutoring

4 Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Learning Styles How does a strong visual or strong kinesthetic learner actually learn much over the phone? Challenges in Tele-tutoring Learning Styles

5 Challenges in Tele-tutoring Semiotics, or How the story is told Semiotics: “the study of signs and symbols in various fields” (Oxford dictionary) Many academic disciplines are communicated through a system of symbols: philosophy (logic), linguistics, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, statistics, accounting, finance…

6 Semiotics of Chemistry Language of chemistry: -chemical symbols -visual abstractions of molecules -mathematical descriptions

7 Can we address some of these challenges with online whiteboards?

8 Whiteboards in Education Extensive literature on classroom applications 1 Limited applications in DE 1 for example, Smith, H.J., Higgins, S., Wall, K., Miller, J. (2005) J. Comput. Assist. Lear. 21, 91-101

9 “Phone + whiteboard” 1-on-1 tutor/student Very easy to implement Quite effective Pilot in AU math courses (Julie Peschke and Konrad Michalski)

10 “Text + whiteboard” Commercial tutorial services 2-3 and in institutions 4-6 1-on-1 tutor/student No audio (interaction is hindered) 2 Bourke, C. (2007) Aplis 20:2, 67-71 3 4 TVOntario Independent Learning Centres: 5 Smith, G.G., Ferguson, D. (2004) Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Tech. 35:5, 681-695 6 Online Classroom June 2005, 5


12 “Text + audio + whiteboard” “Elluminate approach” Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Learning Styles BONUS: Multiple participants! (opportunities for interesting social aspects)

13 Online Synchronous Drop-In Tutorial using Elluminate

14 Pilot Project: “Online Synchronous Drop-In Tutorial using Elluminate” “Drop-in” online tutorial Supplement to I.S. tutoring 12 weeks 3 evenings per week 8:00-10:00 pm MST TuesdayWednesdayThursday CHEM 217, 218, 330 (general & environmental chem) CHEM 217, 218, 330 (general & environmental chem) CHEM 350, 360 (organic chem)

15 Required Hardware Graphic tablet for tutor $150 – 250 for a 6 x 8 tablet Microphone & speakers (usually an existing PC component)

16 Pilot Project Notification: Students were sent weekly group emails (bcc) announcing the weekly schedule, link to an anonymous online survey At end of survey, provided link to Elluminate class




20 Survey Structure Have you used the online drop-in chemistry tutorial before? NoYes Question sets on: - Age/Gender - Location - Courses - Length of time in course - Previous tutor contact - Technological savvy - Access to Technology Question sets on: - Number of visits - Evaluation of Elluminate - Ellumination tools used - Qualitative free-response Correlate using IP addresses Link to Elluminate

21 Student Participation Rate Over period of study, 245 students were enrolled in the 5 chemistry courses 171 students visited at least once 70% participation rate 17% completed evaluation survey Single visits: 157 students (91.8 %) Multiple visits: 14 students (8.2%)

22 Evaluation by Students 97% found it easy to get started in Elluminate 90% found it easy to use Elluminate as a virtual classroom 97% found the sound quality acceptable

23 Time Use Average 5.1 min wait time Average 7.0 min spent on their question 70% found other students present when they logged in 67% watched/listened to tutor answering other questions

24 “Satisfaction” “Is the online whiteboard an effective teaching tool?” -100% Yes “Do you think this technology is helpful in learning chemistry at a distance?” - 100% Yes “Would you use the online drop-in tutorial again?” - 100% Yes “Would you recommend using the online drop-in tutorial to someone you know?” - 100% Yes “Do you think this tutorial mode should be available to students on an ongoing basis?” - 100% Yes

25 Some Student Comments

26 “watching and listening to other student's questions was a great learning experience. It was somewhat like sitting in a lecture hall listening to other student's questions after a lecture…”

27 “I really, really liked it! I found it very helpful - both in getting my own questions answered & also when listening to other student's questions. Even to know they sometimes had the same problems I did with some concepts was helpful. Or sometimes they thought of it in a different way, which was good to know & added to my understanding. “

28 “I enjoyed it very much. Being part of an actual tutor/exchange made me feel like I was part of a class community. Until now, I have felt very isolated while taking this course...“

29 Biases Affecting Repeat Student Participation




33 Initially attracts more female students, but more males come back. Older student population Time zone effect Number of chemistry courses enrolled in Comfort with technology

34 The Future Plans to bring back on-line drop-in tutorial in Chem 217/218, in same format as pilot study Supplement to Individualized Study tutor model

35 Challenges to Broad Application Institutional support of offering numerous online drop-in tutorials simultaneously ($$) Collective agreement changes if it replaces phone tutoring Tutor buy-in

36 Conclusions Very high degree of student satisfaction Elluminate is suitable for this teaching application Demographic differences between multiple-visit and single-visit students

37 Acknowledgments Tutors: Jim Robinson and Lois Browne Elluminate: Shubhash Wasti PSP Surveyor: Mawuli Kuivi Learning Services Tutorial: Cindy Kilborn, Rachelle Reid Institutional Studies (AU) Julie Peschke, Konrad Michalski, and Steve Swettenham for useful discussions Athabasca University for MCR Funding

38 Thank you for your time.

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