New Videoconferencing Research

Just found an alert in my inbox this morning for a new dissertation on videoconferencing. Here’s the abstract. I highlighted some lines that I thought were interesting.

by Mountain, Leigh A., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2009, 219 pages; AAT 3387116

Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of access to videoconferencing on student achievement, affect and behavioral measures. Student achievement was defined as students’ scores on assessments, while affect was defined by students’ responses to survey questions which measured student interest. Behavioral measures were defined as on-task and off-task behaviors students engaged in during the lesson. Prior knowledge and affect items were used as covariates during the analyses. The sample for this study included college, middle school, and elementary school level classes. Students who were part of the treatment group either had access to a videoconference provided by an external content provider or participated in a collaborative classroom project as part of their topic of study. Students who received a traditional lesson taught by the regular classroom teacher were part of the control group. Data were collected from observations, student and teacher affective surveys, student assessments, measure of prior knowledge, and a content provider interview. The design utilized for this study was a quasi-experimental posttest-only design with nonequivalent groups. The analyses conducted on the data included ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, MANCOVA, descriptive statistics, and chi-square test. Findings from the studies related to affect showed that at the college level a significant difference by access to videoconferencing was found for the overall construct of affect. No significant difference was found in student assessment scores by group except for in the college study after covarying for affect items. Student behavior varied across the studies. Gagne’s nine events of instruction were explored in relation to how they were implemented in the videoconference lessons in these studies. It was found that when the events were successfully implemented it led to a stronger lesson. Further studies need to be conducted determining the amount of exposure necessary to impact student affect and achievement, what types of teaching styles are best suited for videoconferencing, and how to effectively motivate students to be actively involved. It was also determined that in practice teachers need training and support in the use of videoconferencing.


  • Interestingly, the advisor was Dianna L. Newman, one of the authors of the recent textbook on videoconferencing, and author of some videoconferencing articles, including this one.
  • I think it’s great that they are trying to find an impact on student achievement from a videoconference with a content provider or another class. But, I’m not surprised that after just one videoconference, it is difficult to find a measurable change in student achievement. Can one hour actually change student achievement? It takes more than that! Does that mean it’s not worth doing? Of course not.
  • An interesting finding is that when successfully implemented, the videoconferences led to a  stronger lesson. It would be interesting to know how “stronger lesson” was defined. I also would like to know more about the “nine events of instruction.”
  • Student behavior, achievement, and affect (motivation/feeling) all varied. Have you noticed this too? Some VCs are AWESOME; and some, less than awesome. Wouldn’t that also explain varying student behavior, achievement, and affect?

I’m reminded of this great Einstein quote:

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

What do YOU think of this study?

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