How do we connect and engage students, learning in a distance mode, to develop verbal communication skills?

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

Research has indicated that students perform at least as well in distance courses as in face- to-face courses across a number of measures including critical thinking, sharing of personal perspective, and task-focused interaction. To date, there has been little published comparison of student’ outcomes in distance and on campus courses across verbal interaction skills. This paper reports on two approaches being utilized in a unique Australian undergraduate pharmacy program to connect and engage students learning in a distance mode, successfully providing opportunities for developing verbal communication, including patient and caregiver counselling. The need to scaffold counselling skill development through role plays, scenarios, oral presentations and case studies has been previously been identified, and in an on campus cohort can occur through face to face interaction. The approaches described, and preliminarily evaluated, in this paper are the use of synchronous web- conferencing software and virtual scenarios in virtual worlds.

Keywords: Pharmacy, synchronous web-conferencing software, virtual worlds 

How do we connect and engage students, learning in a distance mode, to develop verbal communication skills?

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Stupans, Ieva & Orwin, Lindy