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A distance education classroom designed to facilitate synchronous learner and instructor interactions

Stuart P Bernstein, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a live, synchronous distance delivery technology would facilitate interaction, immediacy, and presence between an instructor and his contiguous and remote classrooms, and whether it would facilitate interaction between the two groups of students. This study researched the opinions of students on whether they felt the platform facilitated interaction between the two groups of learners, both groups of learners and the instructor, and both groups of learners and the content. This research followed the development and testing of a synchronous delivery platform that would replicate a traditional, interactive, classroom in a remote location. The research was conducted at a public university in two undergraduate construction management courses, over two successive semesters with different groups of students. The students and the instructor were observed and interviewed by an independent classroom observer. There were two main components of the delivery platform: the first was the synchronous, sidewall projection of the students in each room and the second was the synchronous, frontwall projection of the instructor and content to the students in the distant classroom. The students in both classrooms reported the platform facilitated interaction, immediacy, and presence between the students in the remote classroom and the instructor. They further reported the sidewall projections did not facilitate learner-learner interaction between classrooms and did not necessarily feel learner-learner interaction was pertinent in either a distant or traditional classroom. The student's perceptions of student-content interaction were mixed, with the results improving considerably in the final phase of this study. Enough questions have been raised in this study to warrant further research into the effectiveness of synchronous distance instructional platforms using advanced technology. The results also indicate a need for further research into the causal relationships of immediacy and presence on cognitive learning. With minor improvements in equipment and environment, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions could effectively adopt this system for use in replicating interactive, synchronous distance education classes in remote locations.

Subject Area

Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Bernstein, Stuart P, "A distance education classroom designed to facilitate synchronous learner and instructor interactions" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3558602.