We have discussed some of the benefits using the digital technology to progress the educational systems set in place for students of all levels. There is however a discussion in the academical circles about the potential negatives of using solely an online form of study in educating.
There is an ever growing concern among the teachers involved in higher education. The concern is that the students might not be getting the same quality of education as a more traditional form of teaching might offer (Cooper, 2001).
To put a little light on this highly contested subject (Mansour et. al., 2005) conducted a study concerning it self with the experience of students of online and hybrid forms of study and to see what improvements could be implemented to negate some of the undesirable effects of online education.
There were two sets of participants in this experiment. One of the groups was called the hybrid group, and this group had face to face classes as well as access to online lectures. The second group was the online group that had access to the same content in the form of recorded lectures and same material as the hybrid group.
The participants were then interviewed about their experiences and about the positives and negatives of their particular way of studying.
The hybrid groups mainly commented on how the face-to-face style of studying allowed them to ask additional questions and clarify topics they weren’t sure about. Some of the negatives listed were clashes of timetables and a problems with managing time while on a day-to-day timetable.
The online groups expressed a positive feedback towards the way they could manage their own time and the way the lecturers would be very forthcoming in replaying to their questions that they could take their time formulating as it took an online form. Some of the negatives listed was occasional internet difficulty or the problems with the services disconnecting and also “the feeling of being lost in the cyberspace”.
Overall, more students expressed negative feedback in the internet group as many of the hybrid group participants claimed that the style fits their study life and attention spams while the online group found it difficult to stay motivated and not distracted.
This study gives a solid understanding of what the experiences students studying in both conditions go through. As a result we can see some established effects that both hybrid and online forms of education result in. As the study suggests, students in higher education prefer to have the face-to-face interaction with the teacher. This could be a result of the higher difficulty of study that might require more explanation then would be included in the lecture it self. The lecture is suited for an audience with a working understanding of the concepts. If a student isn’t familiar with a specific concept or piece of material, they might require further explanation which can be difficult to acquire in the internet only student population as it requires a learning outside of the lectures or materials provided under the curriculum and learning from outside sources e.g. Wikipedia or such can result in learning an unverified and often false information that can then have detrimental effect on the students education. Therefore, having the opportunity to ask questions in real time to the teacher can prevent such problems from occurring.
Another advantage of taking part in the hybrid course as stated by the participants is that it gives their learning a structure. Visiting the lectures day by day and learning in the specific way the curriculum was designed, means that as long as the students follow the instructions they have a very structured way of learning. The problem that many online only students were complaining about is that often they would put of their work as it is in online form they might often get distracted or post-pone their learning as it feels to them that they can do the work any time. The hybrid course confirmed this as they replied in the interview that their attention spam worked very well in the classroom settings as they wouldn’t get distracted and would complete the work given or the material presented.
There however, were issues with the hybrid course. Many of the students had a feeling that the stringent timetable didn’t offer them the option of working white studying which can be problematic if these students are not financially independent. One of the biggest positives given by the online group was that they could maintain their studying even while working a full time job thus allowing to use their time more effectively.
Another positive listed by the online only group was that they weren’t tied to one location and could travel while maintaining their studies.
Being time effective in today’s climate seem to be a very attractive quality. Many students that are returning to higher education after already having a career often don’t have the time to be dedicating their full attention to their studies alone and might therefore prefer the online way of getting a degree. There however seem to be a higher quality of education for people who choose to do the hybrid type of education as it allows them to take part in face-to-face lecture with a trained professional to help with any additional need the students have and to make sure that the quality of education stays up to par with the educational institutions standards.
Bassou El. Mansour, Davison M. Mupinga , Indiana State University , case study, viewed 14 July 2019, <https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0c44/b83c8ca86b055aa2bfa29c8d7e255ac6806a.pdf >
Cooper, L.C. (2001). A comparison of online and traditional computer applications classes. T.H.E. Journal, (28) 8. 52-46. March 2001.