Christos Panagiotakopoulos, Teleconference in support of distance learning: Views of educators, Ανοικτή Εκπαίδευση: το περιοδικό για την Ανοικτή και εξ Αποστάσεως Εκπαίδευση και την Εκπαιδευτική Τεχνολογία, 9|2013, 5-18

In this study we recorded the views of the educators that use teleconference as an educational medium to support distance learning. The data were collected using the semi-structured interview and the results showed that teleconferencing could be a strong complementary tool to support flexible learning as well as distance education, by enhancing the interaction among learners. All the interviewees consider teleconference as a "helpful assistant" in the educational process and suggested that the educators should be well prepared before the tele-lecture, as well as prepare and guide the learners in order to conduct a smooth teleconferencing session. From the interviews, several advantages and disadvantages of the teleconference’s use as an educational tool emerged. The main advantages consist of the independence of spaceand time while conducting learning sessions, the easy access to and sharing of educational content, the interaction between educator and learners as well as among the learners and the reduced transportations along with time saving. On the other hand, some important disadvantages refer to the participants being unfamiliar with technology, lack of technological support, limited network resources causing disconnections and adding stress to participants, the uncertainty of the participantsregarding the effectiveness of teleconference in education and the lack of face-to-face communication.

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