Synchronous distance learning and virtual classrooms: A case study on student expectations and conditioning factors
AbstractIn order to cope with increasing enrolment demands and funding constraints, some multi-campus universities in developing regions have considered distance learning (DL) as a way to facilitate access, while improving course delivery effectiveness. This paper presents a survey on students' perceptions about hypothetical implementations of DL systems, in particular the use of synchronous two way transmission and virtual classrooms in new locations. We explored three main areas of interest: firstly student profiles, and their cost and time constraints under the traditional system; secondly, pre-adoption perceptions about various DL options; and thirdly, differences in perceived impacts for individuals enrolled in different subjects. Data gathered sequentially from two sub- samples in non-consecutive years (1999 and 2001) enabled numerous cross- section and longitudinal operations. We present examples of findings on the cost-benefit ratios, relative priorities and pre-adoption factors affecting decisions on both institutional and pedagogical issues.
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