ERIC Number: ED436179
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
A Case Study of Using Groupware To Support Collaborative Activities in a Distance Learning Course.
Luetkehans, Lara M.
This case study examined the ways a groupware tool, TWISTER (Talking - Writing - Information access - Solving problems with Technology for Education and Research), was used to create a learner-centered distance learning environment in a telecommunications in education class. Data were collected using learner participant surveys, observation field notes, interviews, computer transcripts, and course artifacts. Data analysis focused on participant use of TWISTER, characteristics of the participants and learning environment that influenced participation, and communication and interaction in the different components of the learning environment. Findings indicated that participants recognized limitations in interactivity frequency and levels in the compressed-video environment. Planned activities successful in this environment included using a wide range of activities and providing several means of access for communication. Although open and collaborative activities encouraged rapport building and enhanced interaction, participants still identified challenges. Use of TWISTER to facilitate student-centered activities also presented challenges. The tool did not support the activities as intended, and there was low overall usage. For participants, the added value of the groupware features did not outweigh the convenience of e-mail. Existing habits and limitations in functionality and interface were likely contributors to this low use. Results suggested that distance learning environments need to be improved through devising learner-centered activities and increasing interaction. Recommendations for practice are included. (Contains 56 references.) (MES)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Computer Mediated Communication, Computer Uses in Education, Cooperative Learning, Courseware, Distance Education, Educational Environment, Group Activities, Higher Education, Interaction, Learning Activities, Qualitative Research, Student Surveys, Use Studies, World Wide Web
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A