Synchronous and asynchronous academic support for online students: A review of three technological tools

Saib Dianati, Marcia Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The need to provide academic support to online students has become a pressing issue. This paper reflects on the application of three technological tools to provide academic support in blended learning environments. Structurally, the paper describes the application of an asynchronous interactive tool called Office Mix to 1) embed discipline specific academic skills within online courses and 2) embed generic academic skills programs across online courses using Microsoft PowerPoint. Then the paper provides an overview of the two most popular web conferencing programs, Blackboard Collaborate (BC) and Adobe Connect (AC). These two synchronous technological tools provide new avenues of online academic support through Moodle that can act as a "Virtual Drop-In Centre". The research uses a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology to incorporate an ongoing reflexive inquiry. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) provided an analytical framework that allowed it to be determined that BC and Office Mix were easier to use, and more useful for academics in their adoption. The significance of this research lies in its guidance for other institutions to adopt either or both of these no-cost, minimal training, in-house technological solutions for online academic support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Academic Language and Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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