1 University of South Wales (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul Campus Porto Alegre (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 4147-4154
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.0881
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
This paper highlights how remote classes support students during enormous educational disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During these tough times pre-service teacher undergraduates in the Natural Sciences, Biology and Chemistry at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS) Brazil, participated in synchronous and asynchronous meetings. Students (n=44) from the Natural Sciences starting remote classes in September 2020, answered questions about their learning experiences at the end of the semester. At INTED 2021 we presented a short profile of these students and, some perceptions about their online experiences. In this paper (EDULEARN 2021),these online-student perceptions are compared with Part A of the Pedagogical Variation Model (PVM, Rogers 2013) evaluation questionnaire. Three Matrices, represent the PVM graphically, based on a Boston (2 x 2) Matrix format. One of these matrices, the PVM e-moderating (teaching) aspect (Part A), is represented by two leadership variables:
(i) x-axis, varying degrees of transactional, task-giving
(ii) y-axis, varying degrees of transformational, empowerment/motivation (i.e.4 Quadrants A, B, C and D).

From our initial ICERi 2014, collaboration, we recognise how pedagogical leadership, the central focus of the PVM, contributes in reducing attrition (drop-out rates) thereby increasing student retention rates. We are enthusiastic in promoting pedagogical leadership, comparing an instructivist “teacher-centred” approach which we believe is essential for those students who find difficulty to participate in online forums, with a “student-centred” approach, i.e. “constructivist” for those actively engaged in collaborating in constructing new knowledge, imaginatively together. Researchers (Harasim, 2012; Roseli and Umar, 2015; and Salmon, 2011, amongst others) provide practical guidelines to ensure online participation. Online learning/teaching is a complex undertaking where prior understanding of student’s strengths/weaknesses and preferences become paramount when delivering both synchronous and asynchronous activities matching students’ e-learning preferences with e-teaching styles.

Findings reveal:
(i) ‘independent’ e-learners (66%) prefer organised study routines with established times for remote classes, finding it ‘easy’ (45%) to participate with plentiful task-giving.
(ii) a ‘constructivist’, student-centred , online synchronous environment is enjoyed by those using text ‘chat’ boxes and speaking through their own ‘unmuted’ microphone.
(iii) Some ‘timid’ students prefer an ‘instructivist’, asynchronous environment without using ‘chat’ boxes/microphone, showing ‘indifference’ to participation. Very few e-learners find difficulty in logging-in to remote classes. 23% are unhappy with their remote class study routine. 34% find remote classes ’difficult’, possibly unable to accomodate fully to e-learning, prefering face-2-face, in-person learning.
(iv) 45% of e-learners find it ‘easy’ to participate.70% show willingness to accept collaborative knowledge construction with differing degrees of task-giving, some prefering ‘more tasks’ while others prefering ‘fewer tasks’.

The emergence of remote classes for pre-service teacher undergraduates alleviated the crisis, whereby teachers developed their professional online expertise by reflection /assesment of their online experiences while successfully conducting remote classes in the fulfilment of curriculum demands.
Online learning and teaching, e-learning, e-moderating, pedagogical leadership, instructivist, constructivist, attrition, retention, collaborative research.