Computer conferencing: Can it significantly improve distance adult students' learning outcomes and student interactivity?

Year: 2000

Author: SRINGAM, C

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The study aimed at identifying the effectiveness of computer conferencing and integrated media when being applied to distance education in Thailand. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed. The subjects of the study were 92 Thai distance adult students who enrolled in a secondary education subject (Quality of Life Improvement) in the second semester of Academic Year 1999. On a random basis, they were divided into three groups. Students in the first group studied by using traditional material and engaging in face-to-face group discussions. Those in the second group also studied by using the traditional method but they had word- processing access for their homework and assignments. Students in the other group studied by using the same material and participating in online group discussions during a period of a 10-week experiment. Research instruments including an academic achievement test, an attitude scale, a questionnaire, computer mediated communication (CMC) records of contributions, teachers' comments, student self-reports and focused group interviews, were used to collect data. It was found that students in all three groups improved their scores upon the post-test measures of academic achievement. Those who participated in online group discussions also had a more positive attitude towards computer and information technology. The integrated technologies significantly supported student interactivity and collaborative learning.