Students Quality Assessment of the Interactivenesses of Virtual Teaching and Learning Platforms
Authors: Mohammed Aminu Sanda
Abstract: This research provides insights on students’ perspectives on the functional interactivenesses of the virtual platforms that serve as online digitized classrooms used for teaching and learning in tertiary academic institutions, and which usage has gained global significance since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic. In this vein, there has been a significant global systemic and structural shift towards virtual education among tertiary institutions, with the requisite restructuring of the face-to-face teaching-learning mechanisms into new online delivery systems. Considering the fact that such new online systems, which are digitized educational instruction media, are mostly designed by third parties who are not the direct users, there is a need to provide users, namely teachers and students, the space to share their evaluative perspectives on the effectiveness of the current approaches to such instructional design, in terms of the quality of interactivenesses they provide users. This is because, systemic interaction in virtual education, as it is with all distance education systems, includes the way the user, especially the student, interact with the online platform, fellow students, lecturers, and the educational contents of programme. In this respect, systemic interaction is recognized as a key factor in determining the quality of the online platform’s functionality and effectiveness, and by implication, the reputation of its delivery. Thus, taking cognizance of argument in the extant literature that in distance education, as it is with virtual education, the transactional distance between students and teachers is not determined by their respective geographical locations, but by the quality of the interactive relationship and the balance between dialogue and other instructional events. As such, it important for designers of virtual teaching-learning platforms to understand the implication of such transactional distance, especially from the students perspectives, that should be effectively managed to engage the students to enable quality interactive teaching-learning. In this research, therefore, a model reflective of this dynamic interaction was firstly developed to provide a conceptual framework. Guided by this framework, a study was conducted among six hundred and eighty-seven graduate students in a Ghanaian university, a structured questionnaire was used to ask the students to assess the quality of their interaction with the virtual platform used in teaching them throughout the semester, from the perspectives of its enablement of connectivity with colleagues, derivation of sense of community and personalization, ease of communication and contents following, and how all these factors inform the quality of teaching-learning outcome, in terms of the effectiveness of systemic interaction and delivery reputation. The conceptual framework was tested using the Using the AMOS-based structural equation modelling approach. In the systemic analysis, the students evaluation of connectivity with colleagues, derivation of sense of community and personalization, ease of communication and contents following as quality enhancing derivatives, and their implications on the systemic interaction and delivery reputation of the quality of teaching-learning media is determined. The findings will provide additional insight in the design of virtual platforms serving as online classrooms for teaching-learning.
Keywords: Tertiary institutions . Virtual teaching-learning platform . Systemic interaction . Teaching-learning outcome . Students . COVID-19 pandemic
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