Examining Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions About Virtual Classrooms in Online Learning





synchronous learning, virtual classroom, online learning, pre-service teacher, web camera


Using a descriptive research design, this study explored pre-service teachers’ perceptions of synchronous virtual classrooms and Web camera use in online learning. The study sample consisted of 256 pre-service teachers from the education faculty of a university in Turkey, and data was collected using a survey. The results showed that most pre-service teachers did not want to open their own Web cameras, due to reasons such as unsuitable physical environment, unsuitable appearance, and distractions on the screen. In addition, they stated that instructors’ gestures, facial expressions, and verbal-visual emphases were essential, and they wanted instructors to be visible on screen. They also suggested that student-centered practices and question-answer activities should be carried out to increase the effectiveness of virtual classrooms. In addition, sessions should not be scheduled in the early hours of the day, and should be of short duration.

Author Biographies

Murat Debbag, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education, Bartin University, Turkey

Dr. Debbag is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Sciences at Bartin University, Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. (Curriculum and Instruction) at Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, and his Master's (Educational Technology) at Gazi University, Ankara. His areas of interest are distance education, educational technologies, teacher training, and blended learning.

Mustafa Fidan, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education, Bartin University, Turkey

Dr. Fidan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Sciences at Bartin University, Turkey. He also works at the Distance Education Application and Research Center. He received a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University in Turkey. His research interests include distance education, augmented reality, hidden curriculum, curriculum evaluation, teacher education, instructional design, and educational technologies.


Aaltonen, V., Takatalo, J., Hakkinen, J., Lehtonen, M., Nyman, G., & Schrader, M. (2009). Measuring mediated communication experience [Paper presentation]. Quality of Multimedia Experience (QoMEx), San Diego, CA.

Aghababaeian, H., Araghi Ahvazi, L., Moosavi, A., Ahmadi Mazhin, S., Tahery, N., Nouri, M., Maryam, K., & Kalani, L. (2019). Triage live lecture versus triage video podcast in pre-hospital students’ education. African Journal of Emergency Medicine, 9, 81–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.afjem.2018.12.001

AlAteeq, D. A., Aljhani S., & AlEesa, D. (2020). Perceived stress among students in virtual classrooms during the COVID-19 outbreak in KSA. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 15(5), 398–403. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtumed.2020.07.004

Brockfeld, T., Müller, B., & Laffolie, J. D. (2018). Video versus live lecture courses: A comparative evaluation of lecture types and results. Medical Education Online, 23(1), 1555434. https://doi.org/10.1080/10872981.2018.1555434

Castelli, F. R., & Sarvary, M. A. (2021). Why students do not turn on their video cameras during online classes and an equitable and inclusive plan to encourage them to do so. Academic Practice in Ecology and Evolution, 11(8), 3565–3576. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7123

Caton, J. B., Chung, S., Adeniji, N., Hom, J., Brar, K., Gallant, A., Bryant, M., Hain, A., Basaviah, P., & Hosamani, P. (2020). Student engagement in the online classroom: Comparing preclinical medical student question-asking behaviors in a videoconference versus in-person learning environment. Managing Medical Curricula in the Pandemic, 3(2), 110–117. https://doi.org/10.1096/fba.2020-00089

Codreanu, T., & Celik, C. C. (2013). Effects of webcams on multimodal interactive learning. ReCALL, 25(01), 30–47. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0958344012000249

Cortazar, C., Nussbaum, M., Harcha, J., Alvares, D., Lopez, F., Goni, J., & Cabezas, V. (2021). Promoting critical thinking in an online, project-based course. Computers in Human Behavior, 119, 106705. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106705

Costa, K. (2020, May 27). Cameras be damned. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cameras-damned-karen-costa/

Dyer, T. D., Larson, E., Steele, J., & Holbeck, R. (2015). Integrating technology into the online classroom through collaboration to increase student motivation. Journal of Instructional Research, 4, 126-133.

Falloon, G. (2012). Inside the virtual classroom: Student perspectives on affordances and limitations. Journal of Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning, 16(1), 108–126. http://www.jofdl.nz/index.php/JOFDL/article/view/92

Fidalgo, P., Thormann, J., Kulyk, O., & Lencastre, J. A. (2020). Students’ perceptions on distance education: A multinational study. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 17, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-020-00194-2

Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (1993). How to design and evaluate research in education. McGraw-Hill.

Gherhes, V., Simon, S., & Para, I. (2021). Analysing students’ reasons for keeping their webcams on or off during online classes. Sustainability, 13, 3203. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063203

Giesbers, B., Rienties, B., Tempelaar, D., & Gijselaers, W. (2013). Investigating the relations between motivation, tool use, participation, and performance in an e-learning course using web-videoconferencing. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 285–292. https://doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.09.005

Gloria, A. M., & Uttal, L. (2020). Conceptual considerations in moving from face-to-face to online teaching. International Journal on E-Learning, 19, 139–159. https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/184150

Gotsiridze, R. (2014). Rationales for using the Internet in language teaching. Proceedings of the Fourth International Research Conference on Education, English Language Teaching, English Language, and Literatures in English (pp. 159–162). Tbilisi, Georgia.

Hampel, R., & Stickler, U. (2012). The use of videoconferencing to support multimodal interaction in an online language classroom. ReCALL, 24(2), 116–137. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095834401200002X

Hill, C., & Lawton, W. (2018). Universities, the digital divide and global inequality. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 40(6), 598-610. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2018.1531211

Huckins, J. F., DaSilva, A. W., Wang, W., Hedlund, E., Rogers, C., Nepal, S. K., Wu, J., Obuchi, M., Murphy, E. I., Meyer, M. L., Wagner, D. D., Holtzheimer, P. E., & Campbell, A. T. (2020). Mental health and behavior of college students during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic: Longitudinal smartphone and ecological momentary assessment study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(6), e20185. https://doi.org/10.2196/20185

Islam, M., Kim, D.-A., & Kwon, M. A. (2020). A comparison of two forms of instruction: Pre-recorded video lectures vs. live ZOOM lectures for education in the business management field. Sustainability, 12, 8149. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198149

Jauregi, K., de Graaff, R., van den Bergh, H., & Kriz, M. (2012). Native/non-native speaker interactions through video-web communication: A clue for enhancing motivation? Computer Assisted Language Learning, 25(1), 119. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2011.582587

Kalman, R., Esparaza, M. M., & Weston, C. (2020). Student views of the online learning process during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comparison of upper-level and entry-level undergraduate perspectives. Journal of Chemical Education, 97, 3353–3357. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00712

Kosturska, T. (2019). Virtual classroom management tips. https://www.vedamo.com/knowledge/virtual-classroom-management-tips/

Kozar, O. (2015). Perceptions of webcam use by experienced online teachers and learners: A seeming disconnect between research and practice. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(4), 779–789. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2015.1061021

Lisciandrello, J. (2020). Online classroom management: Five tips for teachers in transition. https://roomtodiscover.com/online-classroom-management/

Lockee, B. B. (2021). Online education in the post-COVID era. Nature Electronics, 4(1), 5–6. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-00534-0

Miles, M, B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. (2nd ed). Sage.

Moïse-Richard, A., Menard, L., Bouchard, S., & Leclercq, A. L. (2021). Real and virtual classrooms can trigger the same levels of stuttering severity ratings and anxiety in school-age children and adolescents who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 68, 105830. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2021.105830

Moore, M. G. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923648909526659

Moore, M. G. (1993). Theory of transactional distance. In D. Keagan (Ed.), Theoretical principles of distance education (pp. 22–29). Routledge.

Morice, A., Jablon, E., Delevaque, C., Khonsari, R. H., Picard, A., & Kadlub, N. (2020). Virtual versus traditional classroom on facial traumatology learning: Evaluation of medical student’s knowledge acquisition and satisfaction. Journal of Stomatology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 121(6), 642–645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jormas.2020.03.001

Ng, Y.-M., & Peggy, P. L. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention: Virtual classroom education for hand hygiene. Nurse Education in Practice, 45, 102782. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2020.102782

O’Dowd, R. (2006). The use of videoconferencing and e-mail as mediators of intercultural student ethnography. In J. Belz & S. Thorne (Eds.), Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. 86–120). Heinle and Heinle.

Rajab, M. H., & Soheib, M. (2021). Privacy concerns over the use of webcams in online medical education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cureus, 13(2), e13536. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13536

Rapanta, C., Botturi, L., Goodyear, P. Guardia, L., & Koole, M. (2020). Online university teaching during and after the Covid-19 crisis: Refocusing teacher presence and learning activity. Postdigit Science and Education, 2, 923–945. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00155-y

Rufai, M. M., Alebiosu, S. O., & Adeakin, O. A. S. (2015). A conceptual model for virtual classroom management. International Journal of Computer Science, Engineering and Information Technology, 5(1), 27–32. https://doi.org/10.5121/ijcseit.2015.5103

Simonson, M., & Schlosser, L. A. (2009). Distance education: Definition and glossary of terms (3rd ed.). Information Age Publishing.

Telles, J. (2010). Do we really need a webcam? The uses that foreign language students make out of webcam images during teletandem sessions. Revista Letras & Letras, 25(2), 65-79. https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-639820155536

Todd, G. (2020). COVID-19 and the education systems in Tanzania: Brainstorming for a true ed-tech disruption? (Part II). https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/covid-19-and-education-systems-tanzania-brainstorming-true-ed-tech-disruption

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2020). School closures caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19). https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

Venkatesh, V., & T. A. Sykes. (2013). Digital divide initiative success in developing Countries: A longitudinal field study in a village in India. Information Systems Research, 24(2), 239–260. https://doi.org/10.1287/isre.1110.0409

Yildirim, A., & Simsek, H. (2011). Qualitative research methods in the social sciences (8th ed.). Seckin Publishing.

Zimmerman, T. D. (2012). Exploring learner to content interaction as a success factor in online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4), 152–165. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v13i4.1302

Zydney, J. M., McKimm, P., Lindberg, R., & Schmidt, M. (2019). Here or there instruction: Lessons learned in implementing innovative approaches to blended synchronous learning. TechTrends, 63, 123-132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0344-z



How to Cite

Debbag, M., & Fidan, M. (2022). Examining Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions About Virtual Classrooms in Online Learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 23(3), 171–190. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v23i3.5925



Research Articles