Live Authority In The Classroom In Video Conference-Based Synchronous 
Distance Education: The Teaching Assistant


Hasan KARAL
Ayça ÇEBİ
Yiğit Emrah TURGUT


ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to define the role of the assistant in a classroom environment where students are taught using video conference-based synchronous distance education. Qualitative research approach was adopted and, among purposeful sampling methods, criterion sampling method was preferred in the scope of the study. The study was carried out during the spring semester of the 2008-2009 academic years. A teaching assistant and a total of 9 sophomore or senior students from the Department of City and Regional Development, Faculty of Architecture, Karadeniz Technical University, participated as subjects. The students included in the study sampling were taking lessons from the Middle East Technical University on the basis of synchronous distance education. Among the qualitative research methods, case study method was used and the study data were obtained from the semi-structured interview and observation results. Study data were analyzed with descriptive analysis methods. Data obtained at the end of the study were found to support the suggestion that there should be an authority in the video conference-based synchronous distance education. Findings obtained during the interviews made with the students revealed that some of the teacher’s classroom management related responsibilities are transferred to the assistant present in the classroom during the synchronous distance education. It was concluded at the end of the interviews that a teaching assistant’s presence should be obligatory in the undergraduate synchronous distance classroom environment. However, it was also concluded that there may not be any need for an authority in the classroom environment at the postgraduate education level due to the profile and expectations of the student, which differ from those of students at lower educational levels.


KEYWORDS: Video Conferencing, Synchronous Distance Education, Role of Assistant

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