Making the Graduate Research Students' Experience Real: A Case Study into the Management of Online Teaching and Learning Spaces
Concurrent Session 8
This presentation highlights recent research that evaluated strategies implemented to support and monitor online postgraduate research students.
This presentation highlights recent research that evaluated strategies implemented to support and monitor postgraduate research students. The five main strategies employed were; (1) the use of a web-based ‘teaching-learning space’ to facilitate asynchronous and synchronous interactions between students and their supervisors, (2) the creation and implementation of specific documentation to support and monitor students’ progress, (3) the organisation and implementation of research seminars using web-conferencing tool (Blackboard Collaborate), (4) the implementation of focused online web-conference to address students' research needs, and (5) the implementation of WhatsApp to provide consistent support to students distributed across the Caribbean.
This research framework was connected to Moore’s theory of transactional distance and social cognitive theory. Participants were graduate students (n = 70). Data was solicited from the participants in the form of a questionnaire. Data was also collected from students’ evaluations and discussion forums. The data shows that supporting and monitoring the online teaching and learning spaces will result in positive students’ experiences.
The presenter will:
- Disseminate the benefits of synchronous and asynchronous mode of communication for enhancing the research students’ learning experience.
- Inform the attendees of the potential for using WhatsApp to provide consistent support for students in a distributed region.
- Share with attendees documents created to track and monitor the students’ experience and progress.
- Provide an overview of the structure of communication practices which are implemented to enhance graduate students’ experiences.
This presentation will be interactive and will include various use of multimedia. The presenters will also use questioning to facilitate feedback on the strategies presented. Attendees will be given the opportunity to listen to interactions between research students, and a research consultant who used WhatsApp to provide guidance and support to students.
- Participants who attend this session will be given the opportunity to learn of one possible framework for supporting research students within a distributed online learning environment.
- Participants will also be given guidance and procedural documentation that can be included in online research courses to improve the students’ experience.
- The session will also provide attendees with firsthand information on the support needed by the graduate student.
Keywords: Online interaction, higher education, asynchronous and synchronous communication, WhatsApp, student experience, and support.