Synchronous Courses Attendance in Distance Higher Education: Case Study of a Computer Science Department
Authors: Thierry Eude
The use of videoconferencing platforms adapted to teaching offers students the opportunity to take distance education courses in much the same way as traditional in-class training. The sessions can be recorded and they allow students the option of following the courses synchronously or asynchronously. Three typical profiles can then be distinguished: students who choose to follow the courses synchronously, students who could attend the course in synchronous mode but choose to follow the session off-line, and students who follow the course asynchronously as they cannot attend the course when it is offered because of professional or personal constraints. Our study consists of observing attendance at all distance education courses offered in the synchronous mode by the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Laval University during 10 consecutive semesters. The aim is to identify factors that influence students in their choice of attending the distance courses in synchronous mode. It was found that participation tends to be relatively stable over the years for any one semester (fall, winter summer) and is similar from one course to another, although students may be increasingly familiar with the synchronous distance education courses. Average participation is around 28%. There may be deviations, but they concern only a few courses during certain semesters, suggesting that these deviations would only have occurred because of the composition of particular promotions during specific semesters. Furthermore, course schedules have a great influence on the attendance rate. The highest rates are all for courses which are scheduled outside office hours.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1127456Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 649
 C. Neuhauser, "Learning Style and Effectiveness of Online and Face-to-Face Instruction," American Journal of Distance Education, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 99-113, 2002.
 H. Rajaei and A. Aldhalaan, "Advances in virtual learning environments and classrooms," in 14th Communications and Networking Symposium, Boston, Massachusetts, 2011.
 K. L. Smart and J. J. Cappel, "Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning: A Comparative Study," Journal of Information Technology Education, vol. 5, 2006.
 C. Stewart, C. Bachman and S. Babb, "Replacing Professor Monologues with Online Dialogues: A Constructivist Approach to Online Course Template Design," Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 5, no. 3, 2009.
 R. J. Wagner, J. P. Vanevenhoven and J. W. Bronson, "A Top Ten List for Successful Online Courses," Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 6, no. 2, June 2010.
 Ravenscroft, "Dialogue and connectivism : A new approach to understanding and promoting dialogue-rich networked learning," International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011.
 R. Kop, "The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course," International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011.
 F. Martin and M. A. Parker, "Use of Synchronous Virtual Classrooms: Why, Who, and How?," MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 192-210, 2014.
 Q. Cao, T. E. Griffin and X. Bai, "The Importance of Synchronous Interaction for Student Satisfaction with Course Web Sites," Journal of Information Systems Education, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 331-338, 2009.
 F. Martin, M. A. Parker and D. F. Deale, "Examining interactivity in synchronous virtual classrooms.," The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 228-261, 06 2012.
 J. Keengwe and T. T. Kidd, "Towards Best Practices Online Learning and Teaching in Higher Education," Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 533, 2010.
 J. Henno, H. Jaakkola and J. Mäkelä, "From learning to e-learning to m-learning to c-learning to …?," in 37th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO), Opatija, 2014.
 D. Yang, "Instructional strategies for teaching science online," in 2013 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Oklahoma City, 2013.
 G. Cicco, "Strategic Lesson Planning in Online Courses: Suggestions for Counselor Educators," Journal on School Educational Technology, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 1-8, 2013.
 V. N. Gudivada, R. Agrawal and C. Chu, "Online Teaching and Learning Strategies for Programming-intensive Courses," in Online Teaching and Learning Strategies for Programming-intensive Courses, Las Vegas, NV, 2013.
 D. Nandi, M. Hamilton and J. Harland, "What Factors Impact Student-Content Interaction in Fully Online Courses," International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, vol. 7, no. 7, p. 28, 2015.
 P. McGee and A. Reis, "Blended Course Design: A Synthesis of Best Practices.," Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 7--22, 2012.
 F. Brooks, "Toward ‘hybridised’ faculty development for the twenty‐first century: blending online communities of practice and face‐to‐face meetings in instructional and professional support programmes," Innovations in Education and Teaching International, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 261-270, 2010.
 Komlo and L. Kis-Toth, "Virtual and on-line classrooms of e-learning," in 63rd Annual Conference International Council for Educational Media (ICEM), Singapore, 2013.
 S. Mujačić, M. Mujačić, S. Mujkić and J. L. Bele, "Lessons learned from use of web conference in teaching programming," in Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training (ITHET), 2014.