Synchronous Learning in an Asynchronous Environment for Orientation, Intervention, Interaction, and Students Retention

Synchronous Learning in an Asynchronous Environment for Orientation, Intervention, Interaction, and Students Retention

Nilakshi Veerabathina (The University of Texas at Arlington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7567-2.ch004

Abstract

This chapter demonstrates the author's perspective, practical experience, and personal reflection on effective practices in hosting the synchronous sessions in the asynchronous (online) courses offered at a large public university in the USA. The author hosts the web-based video sessions (webinars) using the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra™ to orient the students at the beginning of the course and motivate and guide the students at regular intervals throughout the semester. The author describes how the online video sessions helped in enhancing students' learning experience which in turn helped increase the students' retention in the courses. The author also describes the challenges in hosting the synchronous webinars and suggests possible ways to overcome them.
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Background

A number of research studies, starting from the 1970s, conclude that “instructor use of nonverbal and verbal immediacy” nurtured more learning, more student motivation, and more empowerment (Freitas, 1998, pp. 366-67) in conventional classrooms. The same immediacy and interactions are usually lacking in the online courses because of their asynchronous nature. Arbaugh (2010) found that both formal instructor activities, referred to in the online learning literature as teaching presence, and informal instructor activities, known as immediacy behaviors, were positive predictors of student perceived learning and satisfaction with the educational delivery medium.

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