Instructional Methods In A Virtual Classroom:
Student Responses to Teaching and Learning in Cyberspace

This study explored student responses to an Arizona community college distance learning course (IGS 298, The Explorers) delivered over the Internet using a new classroom technology know as text based virtual reality. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the study examined basic student demographics as well as their perceptions/experiences of course content, instructional style, positive/negative reactions and general comments about participating in a virtual classroom.

In general, students reported very positive experiences with the course, enjoyed on-line interaction with other students and faculty, found the course content interesting and felt that their instructors were active participants as well as fellow learners. Students appeared to experience a significant degree of frustration learning to use the technology, resolving technical problems and keeping track of reading and writing assignments. Students reporting the highest levels of satisfaction were typically females between the ages of thirty-five to forty with computers and modems at home.

Given the highly experimental nature of the course, technology and instructional methods employed, this study offers readers information which might be of value in the design of future virtual classrooms and the implementation of additional research efforts intended to explore this exciting new classroom technology.

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