LESSONS LEARNED? ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES OF VIRTUAL TEACHING AT UNIVERSITIES
U. Reisach 1
, A. van Kempen2
1Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU) (GERMANY)
2Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences (GERMANY)
Three semesters of digital learning taught professors and lecturers to act, think and provide learning experiences as if they were digital natives. Yet, the question, what students learned and whether their learning achievements meet pre-pandemic expectations of competency-oriented learning, remains unanswered. Thus, our study applies a mixed method approach to find out whether and how professors and lecturers got along with this novel teaching situation, and how they assess the outcome of their efforts.
Preceding studies focused mainly on questions regarding feasibility and practicability of online teaching. This study aims to deepen the understanding of the teaching situation and contentment of instructors with teaching conditions and outcomes. Some of the questions which we covered are: Did teachers use streaming or asynchronous learning or a combination of both? In which setting did they do it and with which results? Are students motivated and self-organized enough to work in a performance-oriented way? For which level of studying and for which subjects might this apply? Do students acquire higher thinking skills, a holistic understanding of complex issues, and the capabilities of a balanced dialogue with persons who are or who aren’t like-minded? Are instructors capable of guiding and coaching huge numbers of students digitally? Do they get the necessary support? Summing up, the main question is: Which degree of satisfaction do instructors achieve personally and with regard of the students’ competencies?
In order to draw a non-probabilistic purposive sample, we selected participants from a sampling frame that contains different characteristics such as type of university, disciplines and teaching subjects. So far, we acquired a volunteer sample of eleven alumni professors/lecturers of the German Federal Scholarship Association, and international liaison professors/lecturers covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Additionally, nine professors of Universities of Applied Sciences and Professors of the Intercultural Studies Association volunteered to participate, which makes a sample of 20 interviewees in total. With a 12-minute survey we gathered the basic framework conditions of our interviewees, their universities, and course subjects, as well as generalized tendencies of experiences.
On this basis we conducted in-depth interviews about the participants personal teaching goals, virtual classroom challenges, and whether the in different course types and subject-fields aspired competencies could be achieved as well as in on-site teaching. By analyzing (a) the survey results and (b) the interviews using QDA-software, we classified the results of the personal experiences and perceptions. Thus, we are able to provide examples for best practices and challenges which indicate reasons for successful approaches, as well as cues which and how elements of digital teaching could be used for a potentially hybrid future.