Dongguk University’s Problem-Based Learning (PBL) classroom is greeting students to come.
/Photography by Kim Ji-woo
In the second semester of 2022, the transition back to face-to-face classes after two and a half years will take place, and Dongguk University’s campus will be alive again. To acquire a high-quality education, continuous change in the university and its development are necessary. Now that we are recovering our daily lives, we should think about how to provide and learn more advanced education based on non-face-to-face class experience. It is time to revitalize education technology in this New Normal era.
Let us look back on non-face-to-face classes
Online lectures are free from time or space constraints. Students can participate in the class by listening to lectures at any place where they want to take them. Professors can also give unlimited lectures to more students. When face-to-face classes are unavailable, providing lectures online can solve the problem.
Universities were aware of the advantages of online education before COVID-19. Nevertheless, they were not willing to strongly adopt online classes since it is exceedingly cumbersome to replace long-standing teaching methods. However, the pandemic has forced them to use online classes, and it has shown the possibility that university education can also be stably conducted online, overcoming concerns.
Dongguk University, setting a goal as a leading university in the Fourth industrial revolution, has attempted various teaching methods for the purpose of curriculum and method innovation. One of the representative examples is education and practice on how to conduct non-face-to-face lectures using metaverse on the metaverse platform “V-STORY.” To solve the main issue about increasing the immersion of students, which is the most difficult task of non-face-to-face classes, the realistic communication function of this application was also an effective solution.
The absence of an interactive education system makes students act passively
In the meanwhile, western students were dissatisfied with non-face-to-face classes. Even when Omicron was prevalent, most universities in Europe and North America turned into face-to-face lectures. On the other hand, in Korea, the preference for non-face-to-face lectures was higher. Why do Korean students prefer non-face-to-face classes? Concerns about infection may be the primary reason; however, as mentioned earlier, the main reason is “convenience.” This advantage will be similar in other countries. Therefore, it is difficult to explain why the preference for non-face-to-face classes is conspicuously strong in Korea.
The fact is that Korean students are already familiar with the Internet lectures with the experience of preparing for the university entrance examination. Also, the education system of Korean universities is still one-sided and delivery-oriented, rather than interactive and discussion-oriented. Until now, students have been educated to learn only what they are given, so it can be challenging to ask questions and communicate on their own in college. Professors would also feel frustrated when they give lectures without students’ participation or questions. There is no way to determine whether the contents were delivered correctly to students.
School education can develop through innovative teaching strategies
Certainly, discussion-style participatory classes are not always the answer. Unprepared discussion classes can have adverse effects. Student participation requires proper harmony of lectures and discussions. To actively participate in the classes, some basic knowledge of the topic is required, and this is the reason why lecture-style classes are also required.
The impact of the conversion to online non-face-to-face classes at universities was very influential, and discussions on the current situation and teaching strategies were actively carried out. Dongguk University also introduced an innovative teaching strategy. It is divided into four types; “Active Learning,” “Flipped Learning,” “Edutech Learning,” and “MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).” Active Learning refers to a teaching method that allows students to develop knowledge and procedural knowledge of problems in the process of finding and implementing solutions to real problems through active and cooperative learner-centered activities. In addition, Team-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Project-Oriented Learning, and Design Thinking are also included in Active Learning. Flipped Learning refers to a teaching method that acquires basic knowledge necessary for learning online before class, and then acquires high-level knowledge through discussion and presentation in offline classes. Edutech Learning refers to adaptive learning and hybrid learning by using digital technology. Finally, MOOC is an online open course for large-scale users.
In the interview with Kim Su-young, Dongguk University’s research professor of Center for Teaching and Learning, she explained that with these methods, students can acquire basic knowledge in lectures, and then learn in-depth through criticism and analysis in discussions. Moreover, there is a clear difference in the satisfaction with non-face-to-face lectures depending on students’ majors and classes. Therefore, it is necessary to use the right method in which students can learn properly, by considering the type of class.
Lecture-style classes online, and discussion-style classes offline is also a way to effectively achieve the purpose of university education, which is to foster students’ creative and critical thinking. Over the past two years, Dongguk University has developed related platforms and tools by adapting non-face-to-face class forms. Considering the advantages of non-face-to-face classes, if face-to-face and non-face-to-face classes are properly combined, the educational effect will increase compared to when only one method is implemented.
In particular, the advantage of non-face-to-face classes that exceed spatial constraints based on online networks needs to be implemented in designing platforms for university education soon. This semester, Dongguk University is going to phase in 29 Active Learning classes, 18 Flipped Learning classes, and seven Edutech Learning classes. If these education systems are further developed, creating a new class method that utilizes the advantages of face-to-face and non-face-to-face could be possible, students can enjoy more dynamic classes.
Kim Ji-woo firstname.lastname@example.org
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