Constructing a Streaming Video-Based Learning Forum for Collaborative Learning

Article excerpt

As web-based courses using videos have become popular in recent years, the issue of managing audio-visual aids has become pertinent. Generally, the contents of audio-visual aids may include a lecture, an interview, a report, or an experiment, which may be transformed into a streaming format capable of making the quality of Internet-based videos acceptable to learners using a limited bandwidth. Although the streaming technique enables learners' accessibility to audio-visual aids, such usage only supports the instructors' perspectives of instructional videos. In fact, distance learners can contribute ideas in both text and audio-visual formats. However, previous research has not considered the feasibility of distance learners' contributing audio-visual aids without a video camcorder. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that audio-visual aids from distance learners should be considered in designing a web-based course. To demonstrate this concept, this report first introduces a screen camcorder tool that enables learners to record activity in a computer desktop as videos in standard format or streaming format. Then a collaborative learning strategy, Jigsaw II, is applied to encourage expertise groups to contribute streaming videos for training other learners. Moreover, a summary of learners' use of videos contributed by others supports instructors' pedagogical requirements. Hence, a multidimensional analysis of streaming video-based collaborative learning is applied to demonstrate the impact of videos contributed by distance learners. Finally, a preliminary survey of technology acceptance is administered to 37 learners. The results show the feasibility of audio-visual aids contributed by distance learners without a video camcorder.

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As web-based courses using videos have become popular in recent years, the issue of managing audio-visual aids has become noteworthy. Using videos for distance learning is not a new idea (Kozma, 1986; Levne, 1992; Zigerell, 1991). For instance, a distance learning course may transmit videos conventionally by VCR, cable TV, broadcast TV, VCD, or DVD. Although research indicates that a face-to-face (synchronous or asynchronous) situation is not essential for learning, some reports show that distance learners prefer videos to other media. Hence, a distance-learning instructor may often provide videos for distance learners by way of the Internet.

Audio-visual aids may include a lecture, an interview, a report, the operation of a machine, or an experiment. In fact, the contents of such aids are discipline-dependent. For instance, the major portion of a video for a physics course may demonstrate an experiment. The instructor is typically the only provider of audio-visual aids in most web-based courses, but few instructors are involved in planning or designing instructional videos. Although some studies involve instructors as contributors of videos, most of them focus on teacher professional development. For instance, the Teach-Scape system was developed to support teachers' reflections on their classroom instruction videos or video-based case studies that illustrate and analyze exemplary teaching in real classrooms (Pea, 2001). Generally, audio-visual aids are widely considered as replacements for learning activities that cannot be implemented in a classroom situation. As Benney (2001) stated, "Most certainly, video is a successful medium for taking students into the field to observe facts, processes, and emotional events which would other-wise be impossible to see and experience."

To provide instructional videos over the Internet, the video signals must be converted into a streaming format to make the quality acceptable to learners on a limited bandwidth. A streaming format means that the requested video signals are gradually transmitted from server to client. The best-known commercial products for providing video-streaming functionalities are the Microsoft[TM] Windows Media Server and the RealNetworks[TM] Real-Media Server. …