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Creating and using interactive presentations in distance education courses: A view from the instructor's chair

Karen K Hein, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Instructors of distance education courses have many choices when it comes to designing course materials and learning experiences. One approach has been to develop interactive presentations - audio voice-over slide presentations or presentations incorporating voice-over narration plus other interactive elements. Some of the research to date has focused upon the impact of these types of instructional materials on student academic achievement (Stephenson, Brown, Griffin, 2008; Lents & Cifuentes, 2009; Savoy, Proctor, & Salvendy, 2009; and Geri, 2011). Others have examined interactive presentations from a limited instructor perspective, focusing on the tools and preferences in specific disciplines (Pace & Kelly, 2006; Burke, James, & Ahmadi, 2009; and Gupta, 2011). Little is known, however, about the instructor's perspectives and experiences in actually creating interactive presentations or how they use these materials in distance education environments. This qualitative study sought to offer insights into those experiences. Using an embedded single-case study design (Yin, 2014), interviews with 14 instructors from a Midwestern metropolitan university were conducted during the spring 2014 semester. Sample presentations and course sites in the learning management system were reviewed to provide further details and to compare with interview data. Themes emerging from interviews as to why they chose to create interactive presentations included: voice/persona, sharing personal experiences, expanding or clarifying information, and prior experience with the chosen technology. As for how instructors used these materials, the majority used the presentations as lectures though a few mentioned they also used presentations for supplemental and non-lecture content. Instructors predominately used Microsoft PowerPoint ® software, with starting points, slide design and audio narration choices mentioned. Other themes arising from the interviews referenced time, assessment, and advice. Combined, these themes and details provide a clearer picture of the instructor experience in creating and using interactive presentations in distance education courses. Other instructors and instructional design support personnel, as well as researchers interested in technology-integrated instruction, can utilize this information in their own professional pursuits.

Subject Area

Instructional Design|Web Studies|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Hein, Karen K, "Creating and using interactive presentations in distance education courses: A view from the instructor's chair" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3625090.