HELP TEACHING AND DIGITAL RESOURCES: A COMPARISON OF CLASSROOM AND DISTANCE-LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN A COURSE OF METHODOLOGY OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
University of Salerno, Italy
The contribution compares two teaching experiences developed at the University of Salerno in pre- and post-pandemic period.
The Help Teaching is a supplementary course that supports the official courses, preparing students for their exams. In these cases, it has supported the course of methodology and technique of social research.
Before the spread of the pandemic, the course was developed in classroom, using digital resources. After the pandemic, in virtual mode through the Microsoft Teams platform.
The course was divided in two main parts: a first part in which students were expected to acquire a scientific vocabulary and knowledge of theoretical, methodological, and technical issues; a second part in which students were guided into the critical application of collection, processing, and quantitative data analysis techniques.
The lessons were planned by developing five different interrelated topics: the research design, in which students were encouraged to reflect on the entire process of the research, moving from the theoretical to the empirical level; the survey, where students learn to design a questionnaire and organize a survey, reflecting on opportunities and constraints given by subjects and context; the scaling techniques, in which they learn to measure complex concepts; the univariate and bivariate analysis, in which they learn to organize and analyze data as well as represent them graphically.
In both cases, the course was designed mixing frontal lectures, collective activities, individual meetings, and self-assessment’s moments.
Before the pandemic, the frontal lectures were delivered in classroom, after the pandemic via web-conference, using online presentations with interactive images, able to engage and keep student’s attention.
The collective activities stimulate the active participation of students, encouraging debate, collaboration, and exchanges through examples, exercises, and simulations, built with the Office software. In the classroom, students and teacher have reflected together looking at the same interactive whiteboard. In distance-learning, the teacher had shared her screen, giving the commands to the students as well, so each student was able to work on a single shared file. In both cases, the activities also were proposed in an asynchronous way, allowing the students to take their time to reflect and interact also by their own: before the pandemic, giving them written exercises; after the pandemic, sharing pre-structured files.
The individual meetings were planned at teacher’s office before Covid-19, while afterwards by chat or video-calls. In both cases, the asynchronous forms of communication, provided by digital resources, have allowed a continuous student-teacher interaction, useful to help learners to overcome their personal difficulties, and teacher to adjust and individualize her pedagogical approach.
In pre-pandemic, the self-assessment’s moments were developed through written questionnaires, in post-pandemic using interactive quizzes. These digital tools give a real-time feedback in an informal way: students can understand the level of knowledge achieved, also in comparison with the others; teacher can monitor the teaching-learning process.
Catone, M.C., Diana, P. (2020), Teaching Social Research Methods in Digital Context. Torino: L’Harmattan.
Ferreira, C.M., & Serpa, S. (2017). Challenges in the teaching of Sociology in higher education. Contributions to a discussion. Societies, 7(4), 30, 1-11.
DISTANCE LEARNING: GIVING VALUE TO THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY
1Università degli studi di Milano -Bicocca, Italy; 2Università degli studi di Milano -Bicocca, Italy; 3Università degli studi di Milano -Bicocca, Italy
Since the early 2020 the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has activated a profound crisis at different levels, enlightening economic, social, and cultural fragilities even in those countries that were considered structurally solid. Among the most damaged sectors, that of Education and Training stand out with serious consequences for all its stakeholders.
This paper deals with the situation of Italian Higher education. On one hand, the COVID-19 emergency pointed out some vulnerabilities of Italian universities but, on the other hand, it enlightened their resiliency: in a short time, most of them were able to ensure the continuity of the teaching activities switching face to face experiences to online activities. Teaching activities are one of the main aims of higher education, but they are often taken for granted and undervalued, while research activities receive more attention. The pandemic had the advantage of bringing teaching activities back to the center of attention.
It became fundamental to redesign teaching activities using Distance Learning methods even if any stakeholder (including university lectures) was prepared for them. Indeed, in addition to the difficulties in accepting and using the information technologies, lecturers had to measure themselves with planning and designing new forms of teaching able both of protecting students’ attendance and guaranteeing their level of learning.
At the beginning Distance Learning represented an emergency "solution", due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic emergency. Its implementation has been requiring a significant investment in digital skills, such as learning of new softwares, and adequate availability of supporting hardwares. Generally, a crisis, like the one we are facing, leads men and women to deeply reflect on their future and on what can arise giving value to the emergency. Nowadays, the question is if, at the end of the health emergency, the outcomes of this digital investment can become an integral part of our educational offer, the new forms of teaching strategies can be able of going beyond the emergency of the pandemic.
This paper reflects on the experience of the University of Milan Bicocca, discussing the outcomes of a survey research administered to university lecturers with the CAWI methodology and distributed to their institutional mail addresses through the Qualtrics web platform. This data is supported by and compared to the administrative data referring to the same university lecturers and concerning the effective use of distance learning tools that are available on the University online platform. Therefore, subjective perceptions of the distance teaching experience, as well as self-reported behavioural indicators, are integrated with objective behavioural data, extrapolated by the Information Systems of the University of Milan Bicocca.
The questionnaire was administrated to a sample of 1,205 lecturers who taught during the first semester of AY 2020/21. Currently, a total of 955 questionnaires have been collected, of which 456 are fully completed.
This survey is part of a broader research project, which makes use of mixed methods strategies and involves, in addition to lecturers of the University of Milan Bicocca, students and technical-administrative staff.
STUDENTS' PERCEPTION OF ACADEMIC E-LEARNING ACTIVITIES DURING THE FIRST LOCKDOWN IN ITALY
University of Salerno, Italy
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the education system all around the world. In Italy, one of the first measure adopted to contain the spread of the virus concerned the suspending of educational services for students attending schools at all levels, including universities. The first lockdown coincides with the beginning of second term of the a.y. 2019/2020. It has led to the reorganization of teaching activities and a bursting of distance learning services. Thus, the rise of e-learning courses marked the transition from traditional to online teaching activities by using digital platforms.
This sudden change of students’ habits, from face-to-face to remote interactions, has produced several effects on students’ life and learning ability. This circumstance has attracted the interest of many scholars on the study of the consequences determined by the changes introduced in the educational services offered by universities and the analysis of the students’ ability to quickly adapt to them. Several studies focused on the one hand, on effects to the students’ mental health and the impact of contact restrictions, social isolation, and other related risk factors. On the other hand, the influence of the re-organization of the education system on students learning behaviors and individual performances is analyzed.
The aim of this contribution is to explore the resilience of university the student community during the “Phase One Lockdown” in Italy by administering an online survey. Students enrolled in the Bachelor's and Master's degree courses in Sociology at the University of Salerno were contacted in May-June 2020. We study the students’ perception of the e-learning experience, their ability on the use of the digital platform to support learning, and their overall satisfaction level about the e-learning services. A specific section of the questionnaire was devoted to the definition of the latent concept related to the distance learning experience using Semantic Differential scales. The concept has been split into four dimensions: e-learning activities, online interactions, use of digital platform, and self-study. The distance learning experience defines a sort of network configuration, considering the adjectives emerging from students’ perceptions as nodes, and ties among adjectives are defined considering both the polarization of the scale and both the number of students that jointly choose that polarization. Indeed, the proposed analysis allows to interpret the cohesive set of adjectives in the network as a semantic definition of the concept. Graph visualization and network measures aid the recognition of the role played by each adjective in the students’ perception.
Since this study was one of the first attempts to detect students' perception of university activities at the beginning and during the spread of the pandemic, it has the advantage of not suffering a memory bias. At the same time, given that it is limited only to the degree programmes in Sociology in a single University (Salerno), its generalizability is very limited. It would be interesting to administer the same survey to assess how the attitude gained by students after one year of e-learning experience has changed and then extending it to other universities and programmes.
LEARNING SOCIAL RESEARCH TECHNIQUES THROUGH DIGITAL RESOURCES AND COLLABORATIVE APPROACHES: THE POINT OF VIEW OF SOCIOLOGY STUDENTS
University of Barcelona, Spain
Starting from a theoretical overview on the role of the “practice” in teaching of social research techniques at university level and its implications with Information and Communication Technologies, in this presentation we will illustrate the main results of a student evaluation activity aimed at exploring the learning processes in a multivariate analysis course in the third year of the Sociology degree at the University of Barcelona.
More specifically, by using a structured questionnaire, students evaluated the experience realized during a workshop, i.e. a problem based and collaborative learning activity, that allowed them to design an empirical research on a “real” and contemporary social phenomena; moreover, the workshop - made up of two sessions - aimed at fostering an aware use of the digital resources and tools which in recent years are taking on an important role in the social research process. The questionnaire was articulated in the following dimensions through which the students assessed: the level of knowledge and skills - acquired before and after each session - on different methodological and technical issues; the tools and resources used; the relationship with the classmates with whom they carried out the activities.
Taking into account the interconnection of disciplinary, technological, pedagogical, social components that usually characterize a university course implementation, according to us, this didactic strategy has been an attempt to: 1) encourage the socialization of learners into the “culture of research”, making it “visible”; 2) to involve students in the practice of multivariate analysis techniques in real world contexts; 3) to try to overcame the sense of anxiety and even fear over statistics usually felt by social sciences students; 4) to channel into a scientific framework the use of new digital resources that are part of the cognitive, social and cultural background of the current generation of students.
TRAINING FOR TRAINING: MOODLE AS A TEACHING TOOL BY AND FOR TEACHERS
1Università Telematica Internazionale "UniNettuno", Italia; 2Università di Salerno; 3Università di Salerno
The advent of Coronavirus has accelerated the digitization process in all the areas of daily life, including education. Remote learning has become an indispensable tool from primary school to university.
If today remote education does not always prove to be a fruitful experiment, there is no doubt that in the near future e-teaching, both with synchro and asynchronous methodologies, will become a component of the educational program. This research starts from this assumption and aims at creating a training tool for teachers which enables them to face the challenge of digitization in an adequate way.
The faster and faster changes due to technological innovations can be a great resource when an individual has the skills to master them rather than to undergo them. According to a research carried out by Ipsos Institute on over 3,500 high school students and about 2,000 primary and secondary school teachers, during remote learning, 96% of students chat with their friends, 88% eat and 25% cook. These results show that students tend to engage in other activities during remote learning, since they do not feel at the center of the educational program as active subjects of the lessons. If teachers become skilled in using the digital tool, it can be an opportunity to fully develop the principle of learning by doing. For this reason, teachers should fully know the potentialities of the tools at their disposal.
This research, therefore, aims at creating an educational workshop for teaching staff (from primary school to university), which, in view of lifelong learning, helps teachers to improve their approach to remote education. Teachers will take on the role of students and will personally experience remote learning through the Moodle platform: being students will enable them to fully understand both the platform tools and the innovative dynamics triggered by this platform in the field of education.
At the end of their training program, teachers will have an in-depth knowledge of the platform and will be expert in the use of Moodle. Consequently, they will be able to create interactive educational programs and to make students active subjects.
Brooks J., Brooks M., (2000), In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, NJ, Prentice Hall Published
Calvani A. (a cura di), (2001), Innovazione tecnologica e cambiamento dell’Università: verso l’Università virtuale, Firenze, University Press
Renzi P., (2004), E-learning open source user friendly: il caso di Moodle nella sperimentazione in corso alla “Sapienza”, in Workshop a cura dell’AIDA – Associazione italiana documentazione avanzata, Roma, 28 ottobre 2004
Sansone N., Ritella G., (2020) Formazione insegnanti “aumentata”: integrazione di metodologie e tecnologie al servizio di una didattica socio-costruttivista in QWERTY 15, 1 (2020), pp. 70-88
TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE ERA OF PLATFORMIZATION. THE EFFECTS OF GOOGLE CLASSROOM ON A UNIVERSITY COURSE
1Università di Salerno, Italy; 2Virvelle, Italy
In recent years the use of ICT in higher education has increased significantly, providing important changes in reshaping teaching practices and learning processes. The integration of “real” and digital spaces, conceived as environments of collective and connective knowledge determine a reconfiguration of the educational setting in terms of space, time, communication codes and activities as well of the identity of the actors – teacher and student - who are involved in a transformative process in terms of skills, knowledge and actions. Within this complex scenario that recalls an articulate debate on pedagogical, technological, disciplinary, social and policy aspects, in this article we present the experience of the Open data for social research university course offered in the 1st year Sociology and policies for the territory Master degree of the University of Salerno and in particular the use of Google Classroom, a service part of the Google Suite for Education, that has been employed to support the frontal lectures. Starting from a theoretical overview on the introduction of technology in learning and teaching processes as well as on the role private companies in the definition of educational practices and policies, in this paper we present the main results of an empirical research aimed at exploring the experience of Google classroom from both student and teacher points of view.
More specifically, we carried out two focus groups administered to students attending the course in order to investigate the possible changes of learning process, due to the use of Google Classroom platform, such as the time, the places, the method of study, the relation with the peers and with the professor. Moreover, the teaching point of view is explored by a description of the experience developed by the professor who during the course collected a set of field notes that allowed him to describe and reflect on his relationship and approach to technology, the changes in the transmission and knowledge building processes due to a use of the Google platform, the skills and a general reshaping of the role of the teacher. This self-reflexivity process allowed the teacher to acquire awareness on his own cognitive processes and skills in order to guarantee a possibility of intervention and modification on the contexts in which he operate.
Abazi-Bexheti, L., Kadriu, A., Apostolova-Trpkovska, M., Jajaga, E., & Abazi-Alili, H. (2018). LMS solution: Evidence of Google Classroom usage in higher education. Business Systems Research Journal, 9(1), 31-43.
Catone, M. C., & Diana, P. (2019). Expansion and Reconfiguration of the Action of the University Teacher in Relation to ICT: a Qualitative Analysis. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 11(1), 20-45.
Landri, P.(2018). Digital Governance of Education: Technology, Standards and Europeanization of Education.London-Oxford: Bloomsbury.
Kumar, J. A., & Bervell, B. (2019). Google Classroom for mobile learning in higher education: Modelling the initial perceptions of students. Education and Information Technologies, 24(2), 1793-1817.
Supriyanto, A., Setiawan, A. C., & Budiarti, E. M. (2018, December). Social Media Diffusion of Google Classroom in Teaching and Learning. In International Conference on Education and Technology (ICET 2018). Atlantis Press.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION CHINESE SYSTEM. EMERGENCY REMOTE TEACHING IN CHINA
1Università di Salerno, DSPS, Italy; 2University of Nottingham, Head of Teaching & Learning, Language Centre, Ningbo, China
China is the second largest economy in the world. One of the fastest growing industries in China is English Language Teaching for youth and adults. English is the most widely learned foreign language in China. Covid-19 has taken hold of all industries and brought them to their knees. In China, the government has introduced the education policy of suspending classes without interrupting learning. This study aims to describe the challenges faced by ELT teachers in China during the pandemic.