Technology, teaching, and learning in the interactive television environment: An ethnography
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Interactive television (ITV) is one format of distance learning where one instructor can teach students at multiple sites simultaneously. ITV is capable of providing two-way and synchronous audio and video communication between multiple sites. ITV is valuable in that it provides access to education and convenience to students who otherwise cannot take college courses. This qualitative study examines the teaching-learning process and participants' experiences in the interactive television environment. The study investigates what it is like to teach or learn in the ITV context and how participants narrate their lived experiences. The fieldwork of this study was conducted primarily at a distance learning center of a university. The study used mainly two kinds of data collection: observation and interview. The data were analyzed following grounded theory procedures. The main body of the dissertation reports on the working of the audio and video technologies involved in ITV and how they influenced instructional communication and social relationships between the instructor and the student and among the students, which in turn influenced the instructor's teaching and the student's learning. This study finds that ITV has great potential to facilitate learning at a distance, although technology-mediated communication does not have the same effect as in-person communication does. The ITV technology has intrinsic limitations, and it is an enabling and constraining technology at the same time. The instructor and the student are dependent on the technology and the operator, and the technology shapes the instructor's teaching style. The ITV students experience difficulties that are not a problem for campus students, and ITV students and campus students sometimes experience different realities. This study recommends the use of face-to-face instruction as much as possible. When ITV is used, the study recommends that the instructor rotate and teach at each site; the instructor be trained on the techniques of connecting with students and engaging students; and the student be trained on how to use the ITV technology and how to combat the limitations of it.