Using Video and Web Conferencing Tools to Support Online Learning

Using Video and Web Conferencing Tools to Support Online Learning

Paula Jones (Eastern Kentucky University, USA), Fred Kolloff (Eastern Kentucky University, USA) and MaryAnn Kolloff (Eastern Kentucky University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3962-1.ch011
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This chapter examines effective methods for using video and web conferencing tools to support online learning. The authors discuss the concept of presence, how web conferencing can be used to support presence in online courses, and why it is important to do so. Because of the impact web conferencing can have in learning, this chapter explores a variety of teaching roles that best leverage these conferencing tools. The chapter includes information on various web conferencing software programs (paid and open source). Best practices for using web conferencing tools in online learning are also explored.
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Online learning generally involves two types of interaction: interaction with content and interpersonal interaction among the instructor and students (Berge, 1995). Both types of interaction are related to humanizing the online learning environment. Humanizing the course can be accomplished using immediacy behaviors, which reduce the perceived distance between the teacher and the student (Anderson, 1979, Baker 2010).

Social psychologist Albert Mehrabian has been credited with defining the concept of immediacy in terms of his principle of immediacy. Mehrabian shared that people are drawn towards persons or things they like, respect or simply prefer to be involved with (1971). In an effort to support learning in an online environment, it is important to plan for interactions and methods of communication. It is also important to remove any barriers that might prevent students from engaging with the instructor. By conveying warmth and support, immediacy behavior increases the closeness or the appearance of closeness between teacher and student through behaviors such as encouraging communications and student input, the use of humor, self-disclosure, and calling students by name (Baker, 2010).

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