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An investigation into the management of online teaching and learning spaces: A case study involving graduate research students

  • Rohan Jowallah University of Central Florida
Keywords: Online interaction, Higher Edcucation


This research evaluates the strategies implemented to support the research activities of postgraduate students pursuing online master’s programs in the University of the West Indies Open Campus, as well as the activities of their supervisors. The three main strategies employed were (1) the use of a web-based ‘teaching-learning space’ to facilitate asynchronous interaction between students and their supervisors; (2) the provision of a scheduling tool to facilitate the planning of one-on-one meetings via a synchronous web-conferencing tool; and (3) the organization of research seminars using the same web-conferencing tool.

This research used Moore’s theory of transactional distance and social cognitive theoretical framework to guide the project. Moore’s model reemphasizes the need for stronger forms of communicating for online students, whereas the cognitive framework focuses on the need for social interaction among learner and teacher. Participants were graduate students (n = 34). All participants were required to complete a questionnaire online. Data were also collected from postings in discussion forums. Overall, notwithstanding limitations, the data shows there are benefits to be gained from conducting student research activities in an online environment.

Author Biography

Rohan Jowallah, University of Central Florida
Dr. Rohan Jowallah has worked in education for over twenty  years. He has taught at various levels: elementary school, middle school, high school and university. Prior to joining  University of Central Florida as an instructional designer, Dr. Jowallah was employed as an Academic Program Planner and Program Coordinator by The University of The West Indies Open Campus. Dr. Jowallah is an adjunct for The University of the West Indies and  the University of Central Florida. Dr. Jowallah has presented at several international conferences and has published in several peer reviewed journals  and has a published book chapter. He continues to develop work for publication.
How to Cite
Jowallah, R. (2014). An investigation into the management of online teaching and learning spaces: A case study involving graduate research students. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(4).
Research Articles