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