Effective Communication in a Large Class Via C.C.T.V: Lecturers / Students Perception

AGBATOGUN, Alaba .O.
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Abstract
This study examined the views of the University of Lagos academic community (lecturers and students) on the use of CCTV for effective communication in large classes. 300 respondents made up of 100 lecturers and 200 students were randomly selected for the purpose of this study. The Lecturers Perception Questionnaire (LPQ) and the Students perception Questionnaire with reliability coefficient of 0.75 and 0.82 respectively were used for the collection of data. The two null hypotheses generated for the study were tested at 0.05 alpha level using the t-test statistical tool. It was discovered that years of experienced played a major role in the perception of the less and highly experienced lecturers about the use of Closed-Circuit Television for effective communication in large classes. Students and lecturers were found to be positively unanimous in perception on the subject of the study. It was suggested that lecturers should not be phobic about achieving effective communication in large classes; rather, they should focus more on timely utilization of the appropriate technology that can enhance effective communication in large classes.  

Introduction
The phenomenon of large classes is fast becoming the vogue of higher institutions in Africa, if not all over the world. The large class syndrome has been attributed to the expansion in annual students’ enrolment. At any rate, education as old as man has been characterized with mass instruction and this is the peculiarity of large classes in various institutions (Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, 2003). Students, as many as three or four hundred, often cluster  in a small hall tending to pay attention to the “talking and chalking” lecturer who occasionally scribbles on the chalkboard, while it is mostly assumed that, as the lecturer passes the necessary information through verbal means, learning  takes place. Whereas Awoniyi, (1998) found out that in such a situation, much teaching goes on, but little learning takes place with only a few of the students as a result of the gap between the lecturer, the taught and the content.

In a large class, where lecture method is typically the mode of instruction, meeting the needs of the variety of students through effective communication has therefore been found to be a challenge. Though it is often thought that learning occurs in proportion to class size, that is, the smaller the size the more the students learn, however, the size of a class may not absolutely be a predictor of students learning and quality of teaching (Felder, 1997). In essence, there is the need to be conscious of the fact that the key to effective instruction and students learning is effective communication. However, Roger (1995) expressed that in most universities and other higher institutions, large classes are sometimes handled by graduate teaching assistants who have been assumed to know both “what” to teach and “how” best to teach it, despite the fact that most of them enter into teaching without experience. The question that may bother one’s mind is, are these graduate teaching assistants aware of what the students need and expect from classroom communication?

Communication is a vital key to effective teaching and learning, thus the ability of a teacher to effectively convey a concept to the students so as to understand and synthesis what the teacher is presenting is of paramount importance. Ogunsaju (2004) earmarked effective communication as the most viable tool for achieving effectiveness in teaching and learning. There is the need for exchange of meanings to take place between the teacher and learners before communication can be assumed to have taken place. Learning in itself is the resultant effect of effective communication between the teacher and the learner (Andrew, 2000). In his own words, Sleeman (1976) said that effective communication in the classroom exists when there is a good interaction between the learner, the information and the instructor. If the interactive nature must be achieved in a large class, the traditional syndrome of a lecturer talking to a sea of heads seeming to attend his lecture, while many of them engage in other activities other than those related to what is going on in the class, is a  problem that must be attended to. All students, even those with disabilities must have been considered to benefit from the process of teaching and learning before effective communication in teaching can be achieved (Protrowski & Reason (2000) as cited by Norkeliunas 2003). It could be  felt that, one of the primary purposes of effective communication in the classroom is to spark, and guide active mental processing, develop competencies, gain attention and catch the interest of the students when they have access to information and make meanings from such information.

Awoniyi (1998) advocated that, for the quality of education to be improved, technology must be employed. Riesland (2005) was of the opinion that communication; even in the classroom has been positively influenced through the use of appropriate instructional media, at least for the purpose of ensuring that all students benefit from the teaching and learning process. It is worthy of note that in most cases, a scenario of educational environment is not created in large classes because, many students of such large classes turn the back of the class and outside the classroom into market place by chatting and discussing with friends (Valenzi, 1997). No wonder, Adekomi (1999) suggested the need for teachers to have a change of style in order to meet the demands of learners and avoid complaints about poor performance.

In spite of the enormous communicative problems being faced in large classes of various institutions, effective communication can still be achieved through the use of appropriate technology. Innumerable research findings have shown that audio-visual media contribute immensely to learners’ understanding, performance in learning through effective communication (Arthur & Stephen 2003; Awoniyi 1988; Jenkins 1978). It is interesting to know that the speed at which technology is altering classroom communication is alarming, because of the strength it adds to the students and teachers interaction. Riesland (2005) in a study found that students were excited with the idea of content presentation through the visual and sound elements of the media he used. He further reported the overwhelming attention and active participation he received from the students through the audio-visual media. It follows therefore, that the use of Closed-Circuit Television in a large class will create a better interaction between the taught, the content and the teacher.

Oluyitan (1998) described the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) as a signal received on specific private receiver that can be achieved by direct transmission from the camera to the receiver through a cable system. Marc (2000) explained Closed-Circuit Television as a television broadcasting received only by a selected set and is connected to the source by cable or by over the air signals (those receiving over the air signals are equipped with decodes or adapters). To Marc, this medium is a good tool for achieving effective dissemination of information, skills to learners, even at different locations. Ebert (1998) observed that the use of Closed-Circuit Television increases students’ involvement in learning. Zimmer (2003) remarked that the use of Closed-Circuit Television allows for the incorporation of animation,  moving pictures and sound into the lessons and this encourages students’ interaction with the subject matter. According to him, students irrespective of their location in the  class can watch experiments in action, look microorganisms up close by through the magnification ability of the camera. Information and ideas are conveyed to students quickly. Martyn (1996), Foundation for the Blind Children (2002) Haynes (2005), and Mills (2003), revealed that the auditory and visual capabilities of CCTV, promote acquisition of knowledge, improve understanding and foster student’s ability to learn than the mere use of traditional method of teaching

The use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for instruction in Nigerian institutions is no longer a new thing. For instance, Obafemi Awolowo University (then University of Ife), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Distance Learning Institute, and College of Medicine of University of Lagos, Yaba, Akoka, Lagos-State  make use of CCTV for instructional purposes, in the classrooms, and laboratories. Few studies have been conducted on the use of technological devices such as television, video recorder and Television as well as audio-visual media to enhance and facilitate learners’ performance (Norkeliunas, 1995; Valenzi, 1997; Yiu, 2000). This study is a survey of perception of lecturers and students on effective communication in large class via the use of Closed-Circuit Television (C.C.T.V.)

Hypotheses
For the purpose of this study, two hypotheses were formulated:
There will be no significant difference between the perception of the less and highly experienced lecturers about the use of Closed-Circuit Television for effective communication in large classes.
There will be no significant difference between the perception of the lecturers and the students about the use of Closed-Circuit Television for effective communication in large classes.
 
Method of study
Sample:  
The sample for this study was 200 undergraduate students and 100 lecturers drawn from the Distance Learning Institute, and the faculty of Education of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.  56 students, 24 lecturers and 144 students, 76 lecturers were randomly selected respectively from the Distance Learning Institute, and the Faculty of Education of the University.
Instrumentation:
The instruments used to collect data for this study were the Lecturers Perception Questionnaire (LPQ) and the Students Perception Questionnaire (SPQ).  The instruments were designed on 4-point Likert type scale of SA, A, SD, D, and each of the instruments consists of two sections. Section A of each instrument consists of 18 items, while Section B consists of related demographic information of the respondents. Lecturers with years of teaching experience below seven years (7) were grouped as low experienced lecturers, while those with seven years and above working experience were categorized as high experienced lecturers. However, Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of the instruments yielded 0.75 (LPQ) and 0.82 (SPQ). Three educational technologists carried out both the face and content validity of the instruments.
Procedure:
The questionnaires were administered on one hundred lecturers and two hundred students with the help of two research assistants. The administered questionnaires were collected back within two weeks and were later scored. Meanwhile, the data collected through the questionnaire was analysed using independent t-test statistics
Result:
Table 1: T-test on perceptions of less and highly experienced lecturers on the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for effective communication.

GROUP N X δ
Lecturers 100 13.60 1.65
Students 200 13.69 1.59


 
The results in Table 1 is highly revealing in that, there exist significant difference in the opinions of the less and highly experienced lecturers about the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for effective communication in large classes. The calculated t-value of 2.73 was found to be greater than the t-tabulated value of 1.98. Thus the first hypothesis, which states that “there will be no significant difference  between the perceptions of the less and highly experienced lecturers on the use of Closed-Circuit Television for effective communication in large class” is rejected.

Table 2: T-test on the perceptions of lecturers and students, on the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for effective communication.

GROUP N X δ
Lecturers 100 13.60 1.65
Students 200 13.69 1.59


 
The results on Table 2 show that there is no significant difference in the perceptions of lecturers and students on the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for effective communication in large  classes. The calculated t-value of 0.323 was found to be less than the t-tabulated value of 1.98. Thus, hypothesis two which states that there will be no significant difference between the perceptions of the lecturers and the students on the use of Closed-Circuit Television for effective communication in large class is accepted.

Discussion
It is obvious from the findings of this study that years of experience played a major role in the difference in the opinions of the less and highly experienced lecturers about the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) for effective communication in a large class.

Among the lecturers, 62.5% of them who were highly experienced on the job attested to the fact that, the CCTV is a good tool for enhancing and achieving effective communication in large classes. The perceptions of the less experienced lecturer contradicts the finding of Norkeliunas (1995) who recorded immeasurable high level of effective communication with the use of CCTV in teaching Russian language within his early six years as a lecturer. However, this finding of  Norkeliunas corroborates with the findings of some other researchers such as (Ebert 1998; Zimmer 2003), and the perception of the highly experienced lecturers used for this study. Therefore, one may be tempted to say that; the difference in the perceptions of the two groups of the Nigerian lecturers used for this study could be as a result of their exposure to the use of technological devices for instruction, which is relatively affected by their years of experience.
 
Another major finding of this study is that, there was an agreement between the perception of the students and the lecturers (highly experienced). They both agreed that the use of Closed-Circuit Television in a large class produces effective communication. The result on Table 2 therefore tallies with the findings of Nathanael, (1998) and Smith (1990).

The opinions of Norkeliunas (2003) and Davis (1991) that the audio and visual presentation of CCTV in a large class keep the students alerted and focused, was corroborated in this study. However, the perception of lecturers and  students that CCTV is highly efficient in large classes for achieving effective communication is supported emphatically by the findings of Yiu (2000) and Chester (2000) which revealed that students can give feedback, reactions or even answers to the lecturer’s questions in their different locations via the Public Address System (PAS) that is connected to the CCTV system. To Yiu and Chester, students access to the screen gives an opportunity to the lecturers to inform, instruct and communicate with the entire class easily.
 
Conclusion
Large number of students’ enrolment in higher institutions is becoming unavoidable, especially in Nigeria. The desire to meet the needs of all the students in such large classes through effective communication should not be an issue for discussion but rather a challenge that must be addressed adequately and given necessary positive approach. The idea that effective communication is unachievable has been proved to be obnoxious, because the potency of the efficiency of Closed-Circuit Television for achieving effective communication in large class has been authenticated in this study. Whatever the feelings of individuals, it should be accepted that technology has come to play central role of information and communication between instructor, the content and the students. There is therefore, the need to enlighten, and sensitize the lecturers of large classes about CCTV as a “magic wizard” that can be used to improve the quality of communication, open up communication among students and lecturers.
 
Recommendations
As a result of the outcomes of this study, it is therefore recommended that lecturers of large classes should discard the notion that effective communication is not achievable with large number of students; rather they should focus more on the utilization of the appropriate technology that can enhance effective communication in large class. We are of the view that, if lecturers are taken through the operation and the use of technology in education during seminars and workshops they will be more equipped with information, strategies and skills that will help them to overcome the challenges of large classes. There is need for Nigerian University authorities to find means of providing alternative electric power supply because of the erratic and epileptic nature of national power supply which could in no small way jeopardize the effective use of C.C.T.V.

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