THE EXPERIENCE OF DISTANCE LEARNING OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT A SPECIALIZED UNIVERSITY IN THE CONDITIONS OF THE PANDEMIC
1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
2 Kaunas University of Technology (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Online work at universities during the COVID-19 pandemic is fundamentally different from a cautious and slow transition from traditional teaching to online learning before the pandemic (say, one year ago). Therefore, it is expedient to discuss the present situation of specific studies at university as an extreme case. There was no mass distance learning and learning practice before the pandemic. Until a year ago, university teachers knew how to teach and understood how their students think and learn. Gaining knowledge in practical medicine (biology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, clinical sciences, and so forth) is not the only task medical students face but they also need to learn how to read and write medical texts. For this reason, the teaching and learning of the basics of medical terminology in a foreign language is an important part of the education and training of medical students.
This report is based on the approach that the environment of language studies is an important component in the process of teaching the basics of medical terminology to international students.
Before the pandemic, only a small proportion of university language lecturers employed technology in the process of teaching, i.e. only those who were online teaching/learning enthusiasts. Thus, the process during the pandemic can be described as working in extreme conditions because of the following reasons: limited resources; limited opportunities to train teachers, most of whom have never tried to work online before; a limited number of support staff; a short period of time for the transition from traditional teaching to distance teaching/learning.
In this case, the aim is not to create the best possible online learning system, but to create distance access for all university faculty and students. Change has not been easy: there are both positive and negative experiences. Thus, research on emergency distance teaching should highlight certain essential factors that are important for teachers and students to achieve their goals in a virtual learning environment.
The aim is to determine the attitude of international students and their teachers to the distance teaching/learning of the basics of international professional terminology in the conditions of the pandemic.
The article is based on the theoretical positions that highlight constructivist attitudes, educational environments that are conducive to student empowerment, the preconditions for the emergence of deep learning.
The participants of the research, i.e. first-year students (2020-2021) and the teachers working with them, were offered to answer the questions of the semi-structured (formalized) interview. The study involved 20 international students (N = 80) and teachers working with them (N = 9). The interview contents were processed by applying content analysis.
The results: learning the basics of professional terminology at distance during the pandemic required a great deal of effort on the part of students and teachers to acquire new learning competencies related to employing information technologies; this situation allowed to test the possibilities of distance communication; however, many methods and techniques of distance learning remained unused, as teachers and students tried to create a regular "classroom educational environment", only realized remotely.
Keywords: Distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning environment of specialized university, learning of the basics of medical terminology.