The recent surge of interest in online learning stimulated by the MOOC phenomenon has led many educational institutions to consider offering online courses. While advances in technology have allowed increased access to online learning environments, our understanding of how students experience such environments is far from complete. Research suggests that it can be challenging for teachers to communicate their presence within the online environment, reducing the sense of ‘immediacy’ felt by students (Russo & Benson, 2005). Nevertheless, studies also show that online students use highly emotional language to describe their experiences, indicating that learners do feel a great deal online (Reilly, Gallegher-Lepak, & Killion, 2012). This presentation will draw on Wetherell’s (2012) exploration of affective practice to theorise learners’ responses to technology and suggest ways of harnessing the potential of technology to create supportive and effective learning environments online. Findings of a research project funded by Laureate Online Education with two cohorts of Laureate Online Education-University of Liverpool EdD students will be presented. The project explored the affective impact of the introduction of screencasting technology to communicate assessment feedback within the two cohorts. A preliminary survey was distributed to the students to ascertain the range and intensity of feelings they routinely experienced whilst learning online. Jing™ screencasting technology was then introduced as a way of giving audio-visual feedback on one of the module assignments. Following this, students were interviewed via Skype about how they felt about learning online and, in particular, their affective responses to technology used to deliver feedback. The results indicated that online learning produces a complex range of affective responses, and the effective combination of technology and pedagogic approach can influence a greater sense of teacher and social presence for the students.
Reilly, J. R., Gallegher-Lepak, S., & Killion, C. (2012). “Me and My Computer”: Emotional Factors in Online Learning. Nursing Education Perspectives, 53(2), 100–105.
Russo, T., & Benson, S. (2005). Learning with Invisible Others: Perceptions of Online Presence and their Relationship to Cognitive and Affective Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 8(1), 54–62.
Wetherell, M. (2012). Affect and Emotion: A New Social Science Understanding. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
|Affiliation||Institute of Education & Laureate Online Education-University of Liverpool|