Distance Education in the Preparation of Special Education Personnel: An Examination of Videoconferencing and Web-based Instruction
Description: This study examined the effectiveness of employing videoconferencing and Web-based instruction in the preparation of special education personnel. Due to the acute shortage of special education personnel, it was anticipated that the use of videoconferencing and online instruction would provide a convenient way for students to attend class without having to travel to the actual location of the educational site. Further, it was believed that this initiative would result in higher student enrollment in special education teacher certification programs, consequently leading to an increase of personnel in the field. Moreover, the increase in personnel would enhance the ability of educational institutions to address the dismal academic, social, and behavioral outcomes of students with disabilities. Information for the study was collected from surveys that investigated how students perceived the use of videoconferencing and web-based instruction in the preparation of special education personnel. Ninety-four graduate students responded to the videoconferencing surveys while 88 responded to the Web-based instruction surveys. Six respondents were randomly selected to participate in face-to-face interviews designed to investigate the effectiveness of both approaches. Findings indicated that videoconferencing and Web-based instruction are convenient ways for students to attend class although videoconferencing sites may not be conveniently located to all learners. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these media depends on several factors: the instructor, the course structure, the learners' learning styles, the quality and quantity of interaction between learners and the instructor, and whether technological problems interfere with the learning process. The study determined that the more structured and organized the course, the more significant the learning outcomes. Also, the maturity level of the students lends itself to accountability toward achieving the desired learning goals. Technological problems and the lack of user-friendly technology lower the effectiveness of videoconferencing and Web-based instruction. Further research will be valuable in improving theories and approaches ...
Date: August 2005
Creator: Bore, Julia Chelagat
Partner: UNT Libraries