Download Dissertation: Out Of Sync: Analyzing The Paradoxical Impact Of Synchronous Learning In Distance Education
Modern forms of distance education provide students and instructors with the ability to access their online experiences without being limited by time or place. Though this quality is convenient for many, the predominantly asynchronous nature of online learning creates transactional distance that challenges the depth of engagement between instructors and students. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the impact of technology-assisted synchronous transactional interventions on the social construction of knowledge created between instructors and their students in distance education. Research was conducted through a series of interviews with instructors who have used synchronous methods within their online courses through either their own choosing or at the request of their institutions. The study focused only on the instructors’ experiences and did not include direct data related to the students’ perspectives; the research was also not intended to expose practices from specific colleges or universities. Participants described their thoughts about campus-based teaching and online instruction, and they shared a variety of synchronous practices that they have used in distance education courses. The study yielded significant results about the instructors’ motivations for enhancing their courses with synchronous practices, the applications that they used to facilitate these elements, and the impact on social engagement and learning. However, the interviews also highlighted challenges that the instructors have faced when attempting to use synchronous learning in distance education, including conflicts with students’ schedules and institutional policies. Thus, further development of online synchronous learning and the creation of true best practices cannot occur until institutions collaborate with instructors to discover the most effective methods for engaging student in distance education programs.