AGOCG logo
Graphics Multimedia VR Visualization Contents
Training Reports Workshops Briefings Index
This report is also available as an Acrobat file.
Back Next Contents

3. Study 1 : Current Academic Research

3.1. Objective

The initial investigation was concerned with extracting information, whether explicit or implicit, on the training needs of users of video conferencing, from current published research materials.

3.2. Background

Research papers are notoriously a "hard read". Although the amount of research into the new video conferencing media is extensive, it is not always the best source of literature for newcomers to learn from. This literature review aims to provide a summary of training needs which have arisen from current video conferencing research, without the need for an exhaustive read through academic articles. A table listing the relevant strong and weak points of each article was produced for easy reference. Note that this only indicates the relevance of these articles to the specific domain of video conferencing in education and does not reflect on the quality of the reports overall.

3.3. Method

Articles were selected according to local expert advice, personal contacts, and contacts referred to within other research papers. Topics specifically looked for within the papers included hardware and software set up, coping with hardware properties(audio and video), presentation aspects, dialogue and interaction details, and further educational specific issues. Overall, 12 research papers were reviewed (fig 1). A table of how these papers fared on each of the above criteria was compiled and is illustrated in the results section below (fig 2). Summaries of each individual paper can be seen in Annexe 1.

3.4. Scope

Time limited the literature survey to the selection of a small number of highly pertinent articles. Of these, some were not specifically concerned with ISDN based video conferencing. However, some areas of video conferencing are hardware independent, and so these papers still contain relevant information.
Fig 1 : List of research papers reviewed.

Author          Title                                      Journal
Azarmsa R Teleconferencing: how to be a TechTrends 1987 successful Vol 32 No 4:19-24 Borbely E Challenges & Opportunities in Ch 4 in Mason & Bacsich extending Classroom and Campus Bruce M & Teaching via Compressed Video DEOS - News Shade R Promising practices and potential Vol 4, No * 1994 pitfalls Davis N ISDN Technology in Teaching Ch 10 in Mason & Bacsich Kendall & Oats Interactive Video Vs Traditional DEOS News, 1994 Classroom methods Kristiansen T ISDN Telephony in Norway Ch 7 in Mason & Bacsich Lafon J-L A French Experiment in Distance Ch 9 in Mason & Bacsich Learning by ISDN: 'Le Visiocentre de Formation' Lange J Videoconferencing for education Ch 8 in Mason & Bacsich and training Latchem C & ISDN-based Videoconferencing in Ch 6 in Mason & Bacsich Mitchell J Australian tertiary education Mason & Bacsich ISDN applications in education London IEE publishers and Training (Book) 1994 Purcell P & Video Conferencing in a Ch 5 in Mason & Bacsich Parr G multicampus setting Rodgers RP & Report on the Second International WWW '94 (Chicago) WWW conference 1994 Multicasting Report University MICE Project Mice Home Page
College, London

3.5. Results

Video conferencing research can be divided in to phases which reflect the sequential nature of video conferencing activities: from the initial setting up of the hardware, through practices in dialogue within a conference, to the teaching and learning theories needed when using the medium. Overall, the 12 articles reviewed showed a bias towards the initial areas of video conferencing support. Many noted how to overcome problems of the hardware and bandwidth, such as coping with delay and projection of images. Presentation skills necessary for using slides and images are also well covered. However, little research shows the use of pedagogical studies to evaluate the different scenarios which might present themselves in an education setting. Also, it should be noted that no single article contained useful information on every topic within video conferencing. This point is illustrated by the low average score for each of the six topics reviewed in fig 2.
Figure 2. Review of Research: Summary

Key :  ***** Excellent Reading  **** 3-4 points covered 
           *  Not relevant        ** 1-2 points covered

Author          Initial   Hardware   Coping     Presentation  Dialogue/    Education
                 Room     Software  with media      Skills     Social       Related
                Setup      Setup                              Interaction   Issues
Azarmsa, R. * *** * * ** * Borbely, E ** * *** *** * * Bruce, M ** ** *** *** **** * Davis, N * * ** * * * Kendall, J. * * * * *** * Kristiansen, T. * * * ** ** * Lafon, J-L *** * ** *** **** * Lange, J ** ** ** * * * Latchem, C * * ** * ** * MICE **** **** * *** * * Purcell, P * *** * * * * Rodgers, R ** ** * ** * * Average 1.75 1.83 1.67 1.83 2 1

3.6. Discussion

Although there have been many articles on video conferencing to date, many have concentrated on the initial set up of the system, neglecting the important topics of what to use this medium for. Other studies are overly confident of the hardware, offering glowing cost/benefit analyses without covering the practical pedagogical issues concerned with using the systems. A number of articles have been well written and produce informative information on video conferencing issues. However, these have been written more for academic appraisal rather than as training or learning resources and so are difficult for the non-researcher to read . Therefore, there is a clear deficit in empirical studies on specific pedagogical issues within the video conferencing domain. Research needs to be carried out on how video conferencing might cope the wide range of education scenarios. A key question is: are the skills and knowledge needed when conducting a lecture (which involves little interaction between sites), in any way different from the techniques needed when involved in a multiple student led informal discussion, with a large degree of interaction?

Further conclusions are covered in the general discussion below, which incorporates both academic research and published training resources.

Back Next Contents

Graphics     Multimedia      Virtual Environments      Visualisation      Contents