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BCM 212 – Pitch

For my BCM 212 research topic I will be looking in-depth at the way that students have adapted to online learning and if they prefer it to on-campus studying after having done it for a year now. 

I strongly believe that obtaining research for this topic and achieving a thorough report is very possible due to how vast the sample size is. Every BCM student has completed two whole semesters of online learning due to the entirety of the Communications & Media degree going entirely online in Semester one of 2020, so this is a topic that can be related to everybody in the BCM 212 cohort. Due to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is the main reason that the shift to online learning was made this topic is still highly relevant with the Coronavirus still being a major headline and something that remains affecting the lives of many daily. 

Drawing comparisons to if students prefer online learning or face-to-face studying is also extremely timely as classes are slowly beginning to return on-campus for a wide variety of classes. With many students returning to campus whilst still taking some classes from home, a fair portion of the sample size will have a fair understanding of what both forms of learning consist of and therefore have a solid understanding of which they prefer, resulting in a more consistent result from research.

A poll I conducted on Twitter prior to any research gathered a basic idea of the way that BCM 212 students felt about online learning.

As a whole the topic of the negative results that COVID has had on universities across Australia has been widely covered due to the implications that it has had on many students nationally.  Shivangi Dhawan’s research article titled Online Learning: A Panacea in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis written in 2020 details the impacts of the virus to the education industry stating that it will have “negative effects” on the sector, particularly on the learning opportunities of the students. The reading details the main concerns of transitioning to online learning which include “Accessibility, affordability, flexibility, learning pedagogy, life-long learning, and policy”. However Dhawan also covers a lot of reasons that students have grown to prefer remote learning such as “the lower cost of transportation, accommodation, and the overall cost of institution-based learning.”. With Shivangi Dhawan’s article taking an insight into the pros and cons of online learning and it’s sudden transition following the COVID-19 pandemic it shows that there is a real issue to be explored here regarding how students were affected by this change.

An excerpt from The Theory and Practice of Online Learning states that “[there are] concerns that complex and deep learning cannot be satisfactorily achieved without real-time classroom experience.” (Anderson, 2004), this is a source written from 2004, it would therefore be interesting to challenge this theory now that online learning has become widely used, particularly in the BCM subject. With the research I’m conducting aiming to decipher whether students prefer online learning or face-to-face education the results they are receiving from assessments are an integral part for many students making this decision. With Anderson stating that there is a concern that deep learning can’t be properly achieved via online learning it will be interesting to see how valid this statement is now that remote learning has become commonplace in so many universities. 

In researching for this task I found that a similar study was already conducted by students at the Sakarya University of Applied Sciences in which the main focus point was The Effect of Online Learning Attitudes of University Students on Their Online Learning Readiness. From the 306 students in the sample group they found that 89% of the group felt negatively about online learning. This was despite the fact that prior research and scholars have stated that students should always be prepared for online studying and “students should have online readiness” (So and Swatman, 2006). So conducting a different form of research on a similar subject but with a relatively similar sample size will be interesting to see what sorts of information can be gathered from this relevant topic. 

In summary, having a look at the way that students have adapted to online learning and if they prefer it to face-to-face studying following having done it for a year will be an interesting research model particularly with a sample size that has all completed a full year of remote learning.

References
  • Anderson, T (2011) The Theory & Practice of Online Learning, Athabasca University, vol. 2, p. 354-357
  • Dhawan, S. (2020) ‘Online Learning: A Panacea in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis’, Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 49(1), p. 5–22.
  • Dönmez. A, Hergüner. J, Hergüner Son. S, Son. S, (2020), The Effect of Online Learning Attitudes of University Students on their Online Learning Readiness‘, The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, p102-110
  • Gallagher-Lepak. S, Reilly. J, Vandenhouten. C. (2004) ‘Collaboration in E-Learning: A Study Using the Flexible E-Learning Framework’, p. 1-12

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