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An Evaluation of Virtual Classroom Approach to Internet-Based Distance Learning

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dc.contributor.advisor Kanchanasut, Prof. Kanchana
dc.contributor.author Pukkaew, Chadchadaporn
dc.contributor.other Dailey, Matthew N. (Co-chair)
dc.contributor.other Esichaikul, Vatcharaporn
dc.contributor.other Ekpanyapong, Mongkol
dc.date.accessioned 2016-11-25T04:00:05Z
dc.date.available 2016-11-25T04:00:05Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.uri http://www.cs.ait.ac.th/xmlui/handle/123456789/829
dc.description.abstract There are three main objective of this thesis: (1) to design an effective evaluation process for distance education, (2) to apply the designed evaluation process in the VClass virtual learning environment, and (3) to propose enhancements to the virtual learning environment based on the results obtained from the evaluation. Towards achieving these three research objectives, this study consists of two main experiments. Experiment I assessed effectiveness of Internet-based distance learning (IBDL) through a virtual classroom based e-education platform named VClass in live mode using a carefully designed evaluation process. In Experiment II, I evaluated enhancement to system suggested by the analysis of Experiment I’s results. In Experiment I, the main objective was to assess the effectiveness of Internet-based distance learning (IBDL) through a virtual classroom based e-education platform named VClass in live mode using an evaluation process proposed in this study. The evaluation (1) quantified the effectiveness of IBDL through VClass; (2) assessed student satisfaction with the technology and learning environment; (3) characterized the distance student experience with VClass IBDL; and (4) gathered valuable information from students and the instructor to further improve IBDL pedagogy. Experiment I employed the designed evaluation process to attain useful statistical results. The measurement instruments used were test scores and questionnaires. The sample consisted of fifty-nine first-year undergraduate students, most of whom were studying Computer Information Systems at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna Chiang Mai in Thailand. It was found that distance students engaged in learning behavior only occasionally, but the effectiveness of learning was the same for distance and regular students. The computer-mediated communications (CMC) facilities provided through VClass (e.g., live chat, email, and discussion board) were sparingly used, and were mainly used only by male distance students. Distance students, regular students, the instructor, and the tutor agreed to use a social networking site, Facebook, rather than the CMC support of VClass during the course. The evaluation process thus produced useful information that is applicable for developing and improving IBDL practices. Experiment II was performed based on the results obtained from Experiment I. Since Experiment I that communication and interaction are needed and that Facebook was used as a medium for communication between the instructor and distance students, Facebook connectivity was added to VClass in an attempt to enhance communication and class interaction in order to support the virtual learning environment. Facebook was found to be an effective supplementary venue for class discussion. We then hypothesized that it would be helpful for the course instructor to automatically extract interesting topics of discussions from the ongoing Facebook discussion. To extract interesting topics, I propose a classification system for text questions. Specifically, I implement a Thai-language question classification system using basic regular expressions (BRE) to extract questions from posted messages, thereby helping instructors to manage the large numbers of messages posted. Frequently asked question (FAQ) and question and answer (Q&A) datasets, along with thirty-one Facebook group datasets were used to determine the feasibility of identifying Thai question. The results revealed that incorporation of 212 question keywords named AThQkeywords outperforms the use of a Thai question keyword set adopted from a dictionary. The best result was 94.19% precision, 76.42% recall, and 84.38% F1-measure. Next, the same classroom setup and the same evaluation process were used in a repeat of the integration of Facebook group in VClass. Experiment II allowed both regular and distance students to use the Thai question identification module through VClass since there was no difference in the effectiveness of learning, including the benefit of sharing learning collaboratively through informal communication is desirable for all students. It was found that the acceptance level of both student groups (30 distance students and 29 regular students) was good (27.12%), very good (47.46%), and extremely good (25.42%) and application was found helpful, making it easy to find questions. Some students (72.88%) said it was enough to have only this identifying question because it was already clear, comfortable, timesaving, and easy to revise course content later, but others (27.12%) did not agree, since currently the identified questions are kept together in the same place. In conclusion, the results of Experiment I revealed that learning effectiveness for distance students and regular students was not affected by the use of IBDL technology in live mode. Moreover, it was found that the instructor, distance students, regular students, and the tutor could use Facebook to communicate with each other in order to help problem of solving the isolation in time or place with IBDL. Next, a question identification module with high efficiency of identifying posted messages extracted from the Facebook group was proposed to help the instructor quickly view interesting topics for discussion. The Thai question identification application was integrated with VClass. Lastly, an evaluation of IBDL pedagogy through VClass with the integration of the Thai question identification module was set up and evaluated again. The results of the second experiment revealed that integration of Facebook into VClass helps students perceive their friends’ questions and enable students to learn together as some students answer questions or find answers to questions making them more active. It was found that instructors can easily identify the context of questions students have in order to clarify students’ questions in the next class. Moreover, the instructor could perceive what students still need to work on, and could use the questions to plan for the next offering of the course. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Office of the Higher Education Commission and Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher AIT en_US
dc.title An Evaluation of Virtual Classroom Approach to Internet-Based Distance Learning en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US

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