Faculty-to-student and student-to-student interactions are fundamental components of effective instruction. In fact, quality interactive instruction has been found to increase comprehension (Pica, Young, & Doughty, 1987), achievement (Cole, 2007), student satisfaction (Fulford & Zhang, 1993), and retention (Tinto, 2007). The issue at hand for online educators is how to effectively facilitate meaningful interaction in online formats.
The notion of “anytime, anywhere” is a popular and appealing foundation for which online education has grown. As a result, asynchronous instructional methods (AIM) have prospered to allow students to learn at their own pace. Synchronous instructional methods (SIM), on the other hand, require real-time interaction similar to face-to-face instruction. Limitations such as time constraints and technological requirements have hindered the effectiveness of SIM in online education. However, in comparing AIM and SIM in online formats, researchers found students preferred the following features of SIM to AIM: the real-time nature of the discussion, the immediate feedback, the challenge of thinking critically and learning from peers, and the convenience of having a chat in one sitting (Levin, He, & Robbins, 2006; Skylar, 2009).
This paper supports the weekly use of Wimba Live Classroom to provide real-time course discussion. It is the author’s contention that this synchronous practice is a user-friendly and essential complement to AIM which ultimately results in more effective online instruction. In addition to research-supported rationale for SIM implementation, this paper will offer challenges, solutions, and best practices for the use of Wimba Live Classroom as an effective medium for instruction.
Carrie LeCrom, Ph.D.
Director of Instruction & Academic Affairs
Center for Sport Leadership
A member of the Center for Sport Leadership staff since 2003, Carrie LeCrom became the director of instruction and academic affairs in 2008. As a Lynchburg College undergraduate with a dual major in Business Administration and Sport Management, LeCrom was honored as an Athletic and Academic All-American soccer player on a team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2001 Division-III NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship.
In 2003, LeCrom graduated from the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU and, realizing her passion for academics, then completed her doctoral studies in the VCU School of Education in 2007. Her main responsibilities at the Center for Sport Leadership include handling academic and advising matters, teaching (focusing on research, global sports issues, sport leadership and sport sociology), coordinating and overseeing student research, and expanding the global reach of the program through grants and other opportunities. LeCrom has generated over $365,000 in grant funding for the Center since 2007 from sources such as the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the NCAA.
Some notable global initiatives that she has coordinated include travel to Ethiopia, Africa, for a coaches training program, as part of a U.S. State Department-funded grant that VCU and the Academy for Educational Development were awarded in 2007. More recently she completed another U.S. State Department funded grant which involved a 2-year exchange between soccer coaches in the United States and China that aimed to help build cultural understanding between the countries. She also initiated the Center for Sport Leadership’s participation in an international conference where students and faculty traveled to Paris, France, to attend the 2007 World Cup of Rugby and participate in the World Sports Forum held in St. Denis, France. Additionally, since 2004, LeCrom has coordinated the European Model of Sport course, a 12-day study abroad trip offered annually where students travel overseas to various European cities to gain new perspectives on much more than sport.
LeCrom’s research interests lie in quantitative measures of success in sport, the student-athlete experience, and sport for development and peace, focusing mainly on utilizing sport to promote cultural understanding. She has published in journals including the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, and Sport Marketing Quarterly, in addition to presenting at various conferences such as North American Society of Sport Management’s Annual Conference, the International Sport for Development and Peace Association’s Power of Sport Summit, the National Symposium on Student Retention, and College Sport Research Institute’s Annual Conference.
LeCrom is married to Erwan, the U.S. Development Academy Director for the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club. They have one daughter, (Lena) and one son (Kenan).
Brendan Dwyer Joining the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU in August 2009, Brendan Dwyer is the director of research and distance learning. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in business economics, Dwyer holds a master’s degree and doctorate in sport administration. His primary focus is on the marketing and financing of sport, but he also has a strong foundation in research methods and the social components associated with both sport and higher education.
Dwyer’s research interests include sport consumer behavior with a distinct focus on the media consumption habits of fantasy sport participants and issues pertaining to college athletics. Currently, he has articles published in the Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Sport Management Review, the International Journal of Sport Management and the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics. Dwyer also has presented at numerous professional conferences, including the North American Society for Sport Management, Sport Marketing Association, Sport, Physical Activity, Recreation and Law Association, College Sport Research Institute’s Scholarly Conference on College Sport and the North American Society for Sport Sociology. In 2010, he was honored along with his colleagues Joris Drayer (Temple) and Stephen L. Shapiro (Old Dominion) at the Sport Marketing Association’s 2010 Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The trio’s paper, titled “Segmenting Motivation: An Analysis of Fantasy Baseball Motives and Mediated Sport Consumption” was given the Best Professional Paper Award.
In addition to teaching and scholarship, Dwyer has worked with a number of sport organizations including the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Running USA, the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado State University Athletics, University of Northern Colorado Athletics, Shanghai Football Association, Richmond Strikers, Villa 7 and VCU Athletics.