University of Gdansk (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1792-1801
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1360
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Nowadays the development of both new information technologies and informatics influences not only business entities but also educational institutions. As a result an increasing number of HEI introduce and apply e-learning platforms to support traditional academic teaching. For several years this has also been observed at the University of Gdansk where the Moodle platform is used as a supporting tool for the blended-learning method. This article presents initial findings of a pioneering research titled “Usefulness of the blended-learning method in higher education” carried out at the Faculty of Management (FM) of the University of Gdansk (UG) in 2016.

For the purposes of the research full-time master students were asked about the following causes concerning:
- the blended-learning method understood as a support to traditional teaching delivered at the UG,
- benefits and drawbacks of the blended-learning method perceived by students in the process of their entire university education,
- the students’ opinion on supporting traditional courses with the blended-learning method that is being currently operated at the university.
A direct questionnaire method was adopted as a research tool. A selected group of full-time master level students of the “Accounting”, “Marketing” and “Small Business Management” specializations has been asked in the initial research. A total of 59 correct responses has been obtained reaching a response rate of 80%. The research is currently being conducted among the residual students of various study curricula at the FM.

The questionnaire consisted of 21 questions divided into two categories. The first concerned the personal data of respondents, and the second tackled problems of lecturers’ use of blended-learning, pros and cons of blended-learning for supporting traditional lectures and workshops, and students’ subjective judgment about its usefulness for education at university level.

We found out that:
- 97% of the respondents perceive blended-learning as a good solution for supporting traditional teaching ,
- 93% of the respondents think that it allows them to have easier access to teaching resources,
- 63% of the questioned students admit that it enables them to better prepare for exams,
- 61% of the asked students admit that it permits better attention on issues thought,
- 49% of the respondents criticize the lack of teacher’s solutions to the published tasks,
- 42% of the students complained about an unfriendly interface of software applied.

The major limitation of this introductory research is a small number of students who have been subject to the survey. The research should be extended to all students of the Management Faculty and entire university. As a result, a full assessment of the real effectiveness of the e-learning platform that is currently applied to support traditional teaching across the university will be possible.

The research provides information about advantages and disadvantages of the blended-learning method currently applied by academic teachers at Gdansk University. It also allows the method to be fairly assessed in terms of its current effectiveness in the process of supporting traditional teaching at the faculty level. And what is of its highest value, it may provide precious information concerning prospective ways of enhancing and developing functionalities of the e-learning Moodle platform.
Students, blended-learning method, University of Gdansk, Poland.