June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.165.1 - 11.165.15
AIM for Better Student Learning: Best Practices for Using Instant Messaging and Live Video to Facilitate Instructor-Student Communication
As bandwidth continues to expand, and wireless connections propagate to the point of becoming ubiquitous, the nature of communication, both formal and informal, is undergoing a real transformation. This transformation is reflected within the student bodies of colleges across the nation as text messaging, live personal video and internet voice communication become more evolved technically and entrenched in the psyche of our students. Student comfort levels with instant messaging, documented by these authors in previous papers, is only one sign of the coming wave of communication tools and attitudes which will truly blur the line between actually there and virtually there.
In this paper, the authors document their experiences with instant messaging, video-based one- on-one student instruction and internet telephony. Further, best practices are recommended for the use of these technologies in the engineering classroom. In general, the authors have found that students are extremely comfortable with these technologies, that using these technologies has become radically easier in just the last 18 months, and that student learning and excitement can be greatly enhanced through the judicious use of chat, one-on-one video conferencing and internet telephony. These have also allowed us to expand the reach of instructors at USMA, with one-on-one teaching across great distances becoming simple and efficient.
A student walks into a computer lab where the plotter is located, logs into the computer, and downloads a simple piece of free software. She then pulls an inexpensive webcam out of her backpack and plugs it into the machine. She clicks on the icon for her design team member who is working the dead afternoon shift at the student union and is on wirelessly. They chat briefly, with live video, about the objectives for that evening’s design, exchanging ideas verbally, nonverbally and with sketches. They shut down the video but not the text chat window and work on two aspects of the project, text chatting when needed and otherwise ignoring that the chat function is even open. A snag occurs and they are not sure how to proceed. Checking, they see that the instructor is logged in (he is not always on, but they are in luck) and they ask a quick question. Using video, the professor explains to both students at the same time what is what, and the students drive on with the project, validated, happy and highly productive.
This is not science fiction, but current best practice for collaboration. As Robert Farmer wrote in EDUCASE, “IM is a relatively simple form of communication. It is also—by its very nature—a collaborative communications tool.”3 This collaborative nature makes IM ideal for educational and learning environments. Farmer also states that collaborative communications tools create “a more engaging learning environment for students, most of whom have already adopted the readily available IM tool and use it prolifically.”3 Given its collaborative nature and prominent
Klosky, J. L., & Hains, D., & Evers, J. A., & Erickson, J. B., & Ressler, S. (2006, June), Aim For Better Student Learning: Best Practices For Using Instant Messaging And Live Video To Facilitate Instructor Student Communication Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/847
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