Communication and Education: Finding the Balance with 24/7 Opportunities for Students

By Andrea Crampton and Angela Ragusa.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Online education provides students with the flexibility to study whenever and wherever they prefer, with 24/7 access to resources and asynchronous communication. Although technology permits self-paced study, learners tend to retain a desire for quick, individualised feedback that matches their preferred communication styles. From an individualistic perspective, this may seem reasonable, however, when there are over 100 individuals and only one educator, what may seem reasonable versus what is possible largely differs. Further, the inherent diversity of students who choose to study online can result in a cohort of learners with diverse skills, communication preferences and expectations. Despite learner variation, contemporary educators must accommodate all students’ needs regardless of their preferences and proficiencies. This paper presents empirical findings over three years, whereby changes in communication design improved student expectations and satisfaction, fostered effective peer interaction and simultaneously reduced academic workload.

Keywords: Communication, Asynchronous Discussions, Higher Education, Workload, Distance Education

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 248.474KB).

Dr. Andrea Crampton

Sub-Dean Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Andrea obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Parasitology from the University of Queensland, Australia in 1999. Since then she has worked extensively as a research scientist in the USA (Virginia Tech) and Australia (Queensland Institute of Technology, University of New England and Charles Sturt University). Andrea is currently the Sub-Dean for Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Science at Charles Sturt University, Australia. Her teaching areas of specialization are microbiology, parasitology, molecular biology and forensic science. Her current research interests include the microbial and social realities of water quality and student uptake and perceptions of the inclusion of advanced teaching tools. Andrea won the 2009 Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award for her work on the use of technology to teach forensic science.

Dr. Angela Ragusa

Senior Lecturer, School of Humaities and Social Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Angela is a senior lecturer and discipline coordinator in sociology and course coordinator for the BA Honours program at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga NSW Australia. Born and raised in New York City, she completed a PhD (sociology) and two Masters (sociology and science & technology studies) degrees at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA and a BA (Honours, psychology) from St Francis College in Brooklyn NY. Prior to academia Angela worked at JP Morgan, the United Nations Children’s Fund and several law firms. Having taught sociology, psychology, politics and science and technology studies at the university-level since 1997, she migrated to Australia in 2002 and has since been employed at four Australian universities (CSU, Griffith, University of New England, Queensland University of Technology). Recently Angela completed writing a textbook, Writing for the Social Sciences for Pearson Education, judged the 2010 international teaching with Sakai innovation award, received two Institute for Land, Water & Society research fellowships, became chair of the campus environmental committee and received a wide range of internal and external grants. As supervisor of several honours and postgraduate students and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Rural Society, she has extensive writing and editing experience.

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