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Video-conferencing in rural and remote secondary education in Canada: A mixed-method collective case study of teachers' perceptions around presence, process and professional learning

Rehn, Nicole (2017) Video-conferencing in rural and remote secondary education in Canada: A mixed-method collective case study of teachers' perceptions around presence, process and professional learning. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Videoconferencing technology offers an enticing opportunity for distance education providers to optimize the sharing of human resources by connecting geographically distributed teachers and students through real-time, two-way video. The purpose of this research is to investigate the experiences of eight teachers and their rural secondary students in courses that are delivered synchronously by videoconference. The study specifically examined teacher presence across a screen, the navigation of challenges and affordances of the medium, and the unique teaching skills and roles required. This collective case study research used a mixed methods approach to follow these three lines of inquiry in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the experience of teaching by videoconference in rural Alberta. The following key findings were reported: there are obstacles to developing presence implicit in the context such as insufficient time, isolation, scheduling and logistics, unreliable technology, and limited personal connection. Teachers’ confidence and experience, the use of immediacy behaviours, and understanding student learning presence can mitigate some of those obstacles. Furthermore, by leveraging supporting communication tools, intentionally building presence and prioritizing the programming within the district the affordances of the context were maximized. Teachers who felt unprepared and untrained for the various unique skills required to teach successfully by videoconference suggested that the development of standards, professional collaboration, and action research would better support their roles. These findings confirm many of the issues raised in a largely undeveloped body of literature and also contribute new perspectives on technological integration, teacher presence, and video conferencing for distance education. Implications for best practice, teacher training and further research are provided.

Publication Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: Maor, Dorit and McConney, Andrew
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/35149
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