Wetenschap - 7 april 2020

Rapid transition to digital education appears successful

tekst:
Albert Sikkema

Wageningen teachers experience few problems with offering online education but could use help in setting up digital exams.

©Sandra Sikkema

A survey conducted among course coordinators by the department of Education & Student Affairs showed these results. Last month, after the university was forced to switch to online education because of the corona crisis, WUR conducted a survey among teachers coordinating courses in the fifth period. Of the approximately 300 coordinators, 177 responded. The survey shows that over three-quarters of the teachers managed to start their course online according to the initial planning. At the same time, some 20 per cent experienced some delay. Only two courses were cancelled entirely.

Homemade
How did the coordinators manage this? Sixty per cent of the coordinators use online classes from the previous year. In contrast, more than half use lectures that were newly recorded on campus. A further 40 per cent uses video’s recorded at home. Over half of the teachers uses Brightspace and Skype to discuss the content with their students.

Most teachers seem to have few issues with the sudden transition to online teaching. However, 30 per cent requires some help in making use of Zoom to chat online with their students. Still, the crucial question among coordinators is how they are going to administer exams online. According to the survey, sixty per cent needs help in setting up the online exams.

No obstacles
Whether online education currently meets the learning objectives remains to be seen. Less than 20 per cent of the coordinators are able to ‘fully’ transfer all of the learning materials to a digital environment, while 40 per cent is able to do so for ‘most of’ the content. Still, a significant portion (almost 40 per cent) of the coordinators indicates only being able to ‘partially’ offer their learning materials online. A small group of 5 per cent is entirely unable to offer their course content online. Thus, the rapid transition to online education could negatively impact the quality of education.

Nevertheless, the rapid switch to online education has not caused noteworthy problems among teachers. Almost half the coordinators have experienced some issues in their Skype for Business connection at home, and 30 per cent has occasional problems starting up an online class from home. But, eighty per cent of the coordinators indicate they have experienced no obstacles in teaching from home.

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