Communication And Online Communication

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The idea of scaffolding helps to reduce the hierarchical feelings Steinman (2007) mentions. Students feel that they have a more direct method of communication with an instructor when they are given the opportunity to receive direct, personalized assistance. Instructors can also help to alleviate the feeling of disconnection by utilizing tools such as virtual office hours or videos (Steinman, 2007, p. 47). Technological advances such as videoconferencing give students an even more realistic feeling of instructor connection. Services like Skype and GoToMeeting allow for video calls between students and instructors. These videos allow students and instructors to share computer screens for feedback on assignments, show handwritten work, and connect in an almost face-to-face manner. These sessions can even be recorded for later viewing and reference if the student wishes. Online interaction can seem very cold and disconnected, but using technology in the right way can help students feel more engaged with the course and with the instructor. A similar tool could be used to help engage students with one another. Steinman (2007) states, “Interaction requires ‘presence,’ which means that students can become fully engaged in the activity by bringing their personal opinions, values, and beliefs to the conversation” (p. 50). Using videoconferencing and similar tools could allow students to communicate with one another in a more open and honest way. Even videoconferencing with the
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