One of the most impactful modern-day events has been the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent global pandemic of 2019. Aside from the notable health detriments, Covid19 has also impacted the educational system of most countries when forcing the closure of educational institutions due to safety reasons. For some students and teachers, dealing with the switch to online/remote learning was not an easy transition which in turn garnered some criticism about the quality of the practices and mechanisms used during this time.
My thesis aims to investigate the status of online education, discuss its pros and cons; and ultimately identify and define the main competences that teachers should possess to impart online education efficiently. All the data would be collected and analyzed from a Ulapland international students’ perspective and code based on the TPACK theoretical by Mishra and Koehler (2006).
TPACK is a theoretical model that categorized three different areas of knowledge (Technological, Pedagogical and Content) and their four interconnected areas necessary to impart online education efficiently (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).
The thesis included exchange and permanent master’s degree students as participants due to the lack of previous studies including this group as a study subject. The data collected reflects what participants find more relevant in each area of knowledge, what good practices participants have found at Ulapland, and which ones need to be improved.
The results show a list of 10 competences derived from the coding process and interpretation of the experiences, opinions, and beliefs of participants in each area of the TPACK model. Pedagogical knowledge (PK) and Technological knowledge (TK) are presented as the two most important areas. PK requires teachers not only to be highly competent in the subject matter they are teaching but in the different teaching methodologies and mechanisms involved in the learning process: e.g., new ways of interaction, more discussion, and innovative teaching methods according to the digital era. TK emphasizes the importance of teachers constantly adapting to the new technologies and incorporating new tools and digital software in the teaching-learning process. In addition, based on participants’ data, the results present a list of ideas, suggestions, and praises to maintain a high educative level during online lectures as well as the main criticism and negative aspect of online learning.
In conclusion, this thesis addresses how the implementation of online learning has affected international university students, interviews show their experiences and, once analyzed, the students’ opinions are used to offer a series of competences and good practices which may be considered essential to improve online education. Further research can be done to improve the reliability of the results by interviewing teachers and other educational agents or by increasing the sample size.
University of Lapland, Faculty of Education
The blog is based on the master thesis: “Ulapland international students’ experiences of online education during the Covid19 lockdown”.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record: The Voice Of Scholarship In Education, 108 (6), 1017–1054. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x