Incorporating teacher-student dialogue into digital course material: Usage patterns and first experiences


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This work-in-progress research investigates teacher-student communication via Learning Management Systems (LMS) in highly populated courses. An LMS called TIM (The Interactive Material) includes a specific commenting technology that attempts to make teacher-student dialog effortless. The research goal is to explore students' willingness to use the technology and identify patterns of usage. To these ends, a survey with both Likert and open-ended questions was issued to CS1 and CS2 students. A favorable student evaluation was observed while several critical viewpoints that inform technology development were revealed. We noticed that besides appreciating the possibility of making comments, many students found benefit from peripheral participation without being active in commenting themselves. Informal communication appared to be preferred, and the commenting technology was considered second to best channel in this regard, following face-to-face interaction. The results are discussed in the light of Transactional Distance Theory and related literature to inform basic research.
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Key words
learning management systems, educational technology, distance learning
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