Case Study 6: Web conferencing to enable presence in sexology (lecture discussions)

Face-to-face student view

Face-to-face student view

Remote student view

Remote student view

In this design Matt Tilley from Curtin University holds an interactive lecture discussion with sexology students over two hours using the Blackboard Collaborate web-conferencing system. The content matter of sexology (including sexual function, dysfunction, pleasure and emotions) is often confronting to students, and they need to be taught to concurrently draw upon and distance themselves from their personal experience. In this context, web conferencing is used to provide more embodied presence and participation of remote students in the face-to-face lectures. The teacher presents material but frequently opens up discussion to the students so that they describe experiences and share their views. Remote students are able to broadcast their webcams so that the conversation with their on-campus peers and the teacher can be more personal. The teacher, through the environment, plays a critical role in fostering an open and safe atmosphere that encourages everyone to contribute.