When to Talk, When to Chat: Student Interactions in Live Virtual Classrooms

Phu Vu
University of Nebraska-Kearney

Peter J. Fadde
Southern Illinois University


This study explores students’ choices of verbal and text interaction in a synchronous Live Virtual Classroom (LVC) environment that mixed onsite and online learners. Data were collected from analysis of recorded LVC sessions and post-course interviews with students in two different offerings of a graduate instructional design course that used Adobe Connect as a live virtual classroom. Students could choose whether to participate onsite in a computer classroom or “live” online using Connect. Over the course of both semesters students increasingly chose to participate online and, overall, students chose to participate online (57%) more than onsite (43%). However, some students—especially international students—preferred to participate onsite even though it was less convenient and also meant that they were more likely to be “called on” for verbal responses. Analysis of LVC recordings and post-course interviews showed that text interaction in which students asked questions or made comments in the LVC chat box during the instructor’s lectures was a preferred mode of interaction for students when they were participating both online and onsite. The emergent pedagogical strategy of integrated text interaction during lecture suggests a benefit of synchronous online learning.

About the Author(s)...

Phu Vu is an Assistant Professor in Instructional Technology at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. His research interests include online learning, educational technology, teacher education, and ESL online training. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Peter Fadde is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Learning Systems Design and Technology graduate program at Southern Illinois University. His research interests include video in teaching and training, eLearning, and the training of expertise. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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