PERCEPTIONS OF STUDENTS WHO TAKE SYNCHRONOUS COURSES THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING ABOUT DISTANCE EDUCATION
The objective of this study is to determine how students who are taking synchronous distance education classes via video conferencing perceive distance learning courses. A qualitative research approach was used for the study. Scale sampling was also used. The study’s subjects consisted of a total of nine students comprised of 2nd and 4th grade students engaged in a course via synchronous distance education. For the study, the case method, a qualitative research method, was used, and research data was obtained via semi-structured interviews and observation results. Data was analyzed by means of the descriptive analysis method. Findings obtained at the study’s conclusion indicate that students’ perceptions of the course changed during and at the completion of the course. It was generally seen in the descriptions students made about the environment before taking synchronous distance education that they did not have advance information or that they had a prejudice due to their misinformation. It is seen in the conducted interviews that these prejudices start to be eliminated thanks to the opportunities provided by synchronous distance education through this process. It appears, from students’ descriptions of the course environment prior to taking the course, that they did not have enough information or had preconceived ideas. As the course progressed, student perception changed and they were able to perceive more clearly the opportunities that synchronous distance education can provide. In this study, the most important problem in synchronous distance education was determined to be disconnection and sound problems. In this study, a significant problem was the hardware – i.e., sound, speed and connectivity issues. As well, students became bored after some time because of limited camera angles and cameras. It was concluded that this situation prevents the continuity of the course and so leads to distraction. On the other hand, it was observed that students start to get bored of the course after a while due to the fixedness of the camera angle and the small quantity of cameras. We also noticed that the fixed camera angle, small number of cameras and problems occurring in the images affected student perceptions. Besides these technical problems, the researchers observed, and the students expressed that the factors of teacher, environment, distance, course type and duration also caused the students’ perceptions to change.