National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 9102-9111
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1904
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The purpose of this research is to provide valuable insights into the current expectations of communication and marketing students in Romania in the context of using information and communication technologies for e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research consists of two main parts:
(1) qualitative investigation consisting of 10 interviews with students who study communication,
(2) quantitative research containing 100 questionnaires filled by communication students (bachelor's degree).

The qualitative research is aimed to investigate the criteria used to evaluate students` e-learning experiences, engagement factors, and satisfaction triggers during e-learning. The online questionnaire aims to identify the satisfaction levels related to online courses (the extent to which their expectations are met), the most important factors that affect their engagement during online courses, and their perspectives of the use of ICT platforms for e-learning purposes.
In the past eight months, higher education students have been learning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic context. According to research investigating the perspectives of Romanian students and instructors on distance learning experiences (Lupu & Mitrea, 2020), more than a half of students evaluated online courses negatively, perceiving them as worse than the offline classes. Students also have expectations related to their instructors, who are perceived as facilitators in the learning experience, providing support, expertise, and guidance, thus maintaining their role in the knowledge acquisition process (Paechter et al, 2010).

Therefore, the specific objectives of this paper are identifying:
a) the most important criteria students use when evaluating online classes,
b) the satisfaction levels referring to the use of ICTs in e-learning,
c) the expectations related to university instructors in e-learning,
d) the motivations of students to participate actively in online courses.

According to the preliminary results, students consider as the main criteria when evaluating the classes:
(1) the instructors’ flexibility of adapting the pace of the curricula to students’ needs and
(2) the level of involvement the instructor shows during the online class.

When it comes to measuring the level of involvement, most students understood it as being expressed through repeated verbal feedback sessions during the online class or simply by providing students multiple means of interacting, such as writing in the chat section, completing anonymous forms, or splitting the class into smaller teams and distributing dedicated homework to each team formed. However, when evaluating their satisfaction level referring to the use of ITCs in e-learning, both the qualitative and the quantitative research results show that students are not satisfied with the lack of face-to-face interaction as they consider online classes to provide them fewer opportunities when it comes to networking and developing soft skills.

[1] Lupu, O. & Mitrea, E.C. (2020). România în contextul pandemiei COVID-19: Experienṭele studenṭilor. Editura Institutului de Cercetare Făgăraș, Făgăraș.
[2] Paechter, M., Maier, B., & Macher, D. (2010). Students’ expectations of, and experiences in e-learning: Their relation to learning achievements and course satisfaction. Computers & Education, 54(1), 222-229.
Distance learning, e-learning expectations, ICT learning experiences.