SUMMARY DATA FROM ANALYSIS OF THE STRASBOURG OATHS SEMINAR

This questionnaire was completed by 11 attendees at Exeter viewing a seminar given from Aberystwyth. A projector was used at Exeter. Art images were shown using Netscape's collaborative browsing facility. The tutor used an echo canceller at Aber.

SUMMARY OF THE DATA
The audio quality was rated highly by the participants, and it was not felt that the quality had fluctuated during the seminar. The majority of the participants did not think that it required more effort to understand the speaker in this mediated form of delivery. The video quality was not rated as highly as the audio, with 'delay' and 'jerkiness' being complained of. Lack of synchronisation and poor lighting were also mentioned. The quality of the art images was rated slightly higher than the video, and participants appreciated being able to view the images on the web afterwards. The majority of the participants did not feel intimidated by the technology in terms of asking questions at the end of the seminar.

Scope of the questionnaire
The questionnaire covers 4 areas in brief:

  1. Audio issues
  2. Video issues
  3. The display of the art images
  4. Further issues such as willingness to ask questions.
After the questionnaire results, comments from the tutor are included.
 

Audio Issues

The participants were asked to grade the overall quality of the tutor's audio in the sessions, where 100 is the best quality imaginable, and 0 is equivalent to totally inaudible. The mean score was 88.4, with a range of 75-99.

They were asked whether they felt it required more effort to understand the tutor than it would have done in a FTF tutorial. 4 of the 11 participants answered Yes, whilst 7 answered No.

When asked if they felt the quality of the audio varied during the session, all 11 participants answered No.

The participants were given a selection of descriptors of different types of audio degradations and asked to select up to three of them if they had experienced problems with the audio. Only 1 term was selected in total, 'broken up'.
 

Video Issues

The participants were asked to grade the overall quality of the tutor's video in the sessions, where 100 is the best quality imaginable, and 0 reflects that the video picture was no use at all. The mean score was 67.5, with a range of 50-90.

Asked whether they found the image of the tutor helpful or irrelevant, 10 of the participants answered that it was helpful, and only 1 said that it was irrelevant.

The participants were given a selection of different types of degradations and asked to select up to three of them if they had experienced problems with the video. 'Delayed' and 'jerky' were both selected 7 times, 'disjointed' and 'fuzzy' 3 times each, and 'broken up', 'inconsistent' and 'variable' were each chosen once.

Asked 'what would make the video better?', synchronisation between the audio and video was the most frequent request, followed by better lighting. Lower delay and higher frame rate were also mentioned.

The participants were asked whether the lack of synchronisation in this seminar was important. Only one participant answered Yes (odd!)

 

Art Images

The participants were asked to grade the overall quality of the art images in the session on a scale of 0-100, where 100 represents the best quality imaginable, and 0 is equivalent to the images being totally unhelpful. The mean score awarded was 70, with a range of 40-100.

The participants were asked what would make the art images better. The main improvements cited were clearer definition and larger images.

Asked whether the ability to view the images on the Web after the tutorial was useful, all 11 participants answered Yes.
 

Further issues

The participants were asked whether they would recommend taking a similar videoconference seminar to a friend. All the participants answered in the affirmative.

Asked whether if they had wanted to ask a question at the end of the seminar, would they feel more intimidated than doing so in a FTF seminar, the majority of the participants (8), answered No, and 3 answered Yes. Of those that answered Yes, the most popular reason given was 'not knowing the tutor' (3 ticks), with only one other tick, against the option 'intimidated by the technology'.

 

Comments from tutor

The tutor thought that the audio coming from the participants at Exeter was quite acceptable, and appreciated the facility by which they could ask him questions. He used an echo canceller at Aber and believed that this was less constricting than headsets. However, movement was still curtailed by the need to stay within the camera shot. He thought that the video image coming from Exeter was too dark and too small to get an adequate impression of reactions [this was due to the need to keep the room at Exeter dark so that the projected screen could be seen clearly], but it at least showed that there was someone there. He did not find the delay too much of a problem, and believed he would soon get used to it. The tutor thought that Netscape worked well as a tool for displaying the images, but he would have liked whiteboard-type facilities, such as the ability to underline words and point to different parts of text.