Distance education: Teacher perceptions and preferences for satellite-based telecommunications

Fred E Hallal, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

This study analyzed teacher perceptions and preferences for distance education provided by the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications (MCET). Teachers assessed the quality of satellite broadcasts that were used for either K–12 classes or adult professional development. This ex post facto research used a sample of teachers who submitted program evaluation forms between 1994 and 1998 (n = 1,131). Teachers indicated their preferences for either live or taped broadcasts, the age of the audience, and then assessed program quality using 16 Likert-scaled questions. ^ Three basic questions guided this study. First, did a relationship exist between audience age and preferences for either synchronous or asynchronous timing? Second, did teacher assessments of distance education vary according to the age of the audience? Third, did teacher assessments of distance education vary according to teacher preferences for either synchronous or asynchronous timing? ^ A chi-square analysis revealed a significant relationship between student age and preferences for distance education timing. Two-way analysis of variance showed that audience age and timing were significantly related to teacher assessments of distance education. Assessments of K–12 programming were more positive than assessments of adult professional development. There was a definite preference for live broadcasts of both K–12 and adult programming; but quality assessments of live programming were less positive than assessments of taped programming in almost every comparison. Responses to questions pertaining to student engagement and higher order thinking skills were ranked among the lowest mean scores. ^ It was concluded that teachers considered MCET distance education primarily as a source of subject-related content and not as a resource for promoting engagement, motivation, and critical thinking. Second, live-interactive programming was highly attractive to distance learners, but once experienced, assessments of live programming were not as positive as assessments of taped programming. Finally, this study concluded that adults preferred asynchronous learning strategies. Principal recommendations of this study included, (a) teachers should consider student age when arranging for either synchronous or asynchronous distance education activities, (b) teachers should make optimum use of supplemental materials that are designed to develop higher order thinking skills, and (c) further research should examine the possible relationship between the degree that teachers use supplemental materials and their assessments of distance education programming. ^

Subject Area

Mass Communications|Education, Technology of|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Fred E Hallal, "Distance education: Teacher perceptions and preferences for satellite-based telecommunications" (January 1, 1999). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI9941905.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI9941905

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