Deciding on a goal
At the start of this whole project, we were given three themes to choose between to work with in this project; Education, Museums and Health. The group discussed for half an hour which theme we wanted to work with and ended up picking the theme Education. Thereafter, we discussed together about what to explore and work with within the theme that the group had chosen. Each of us came up with ideas/frustrations of our own within the information flow process, related to our theme. After deciding on one of these, we formulated a goal/question that we wanted to base our entire project around;
How is the lecturer conveying information to the bachelor students in the classroom?
After choosing a goal, we started coming up with keywords to use when searching for articles that were relevant to find information related to our goal. We came up with the following keywords;
Information, lecturer, students, teaching, interpret, classroom, receive, learning, styles, improve, freshman/sophomore, digital media, differences, communication, class, class performance, teaching skills, attendance, characteristics, challenges, problems, improvements.
Our four subjects and combining keywords
In this literature search, we are going to focus on four subjects. We also tried to connect keywords to each of these;
- The main characteristics between lecturers and students conveying information in class.
Keywords: Lecturer AND sophomore AND characteristics AND class.
- Challenges and difficulties when lecturer are conveying information to digital media students.
Keywords: Lecturer AND freshman/sophomore AND challenges.
- How to improve this specific situation/problem.
Keywords: Lecturer AND freshman/sophomore AND problem AND improvements.
- What technology solutions have already been developed to solve this particular problem.
Keywords: communication AND lecturer AND freshman/sophomore).
Deciding where to search for information
We decided to mainly use Google Scholar as our search engine as this gives us online scientific papers and reports, which we find more trustworthy than most other articles on the web. These scientific papers also often provide us with values from tests, that we can use or look at to strengthen our arguments. We ended up swapping out and changing some of our keywords during the start of the searching process, as they did not help us find the information we were looking for. An example of this, is the keyword “freshman/sophomore”. This keyword turned out to be a bit too specific, which resulted in few relevant search results. We therefore changed this to “students”, a more general keyword, and this gave us better search results.
We decided to search in English as that gives us a lot more articles than we would get searching in Norwegian. Using our keywords, we found 15 different sources that we thought were relevant for our literature search. Out of the 15 sources, we picked out the most relevant articles to use for our literature review and we then ended up with 11 articles.
After finishing the literature search and being satisfied with the results, the group was ready to conduct a review of the results. When reviewing the results we made sure the literature was relevant to our topic: Information flow between the lecturer and bachelor students in lectures.
Lecturers in universities have 3 main tasks. These are teaching, researching and management, and all information flow from the lecturer to students have these 3 tasks as their baseline. Most lecturers have had the pleasure and opportunity of teaching students one to one and could therefore directly adapt their teaching methods to that person’s needs. Now imagine standing in a traditional university lecture setting with everywhere from 30-500 students and try to convey and teach with the same precision to all students. To achieve that purpose, a lecturer must consider all instructional choices in a way that allows all students to understand and to be intrigued in the subject.
A lecturer therefore needs to find instructional choices that proves to effectively make and understanding between the lecturer and the students concerning the course. Effectiveness in the way a lecturer is conveying information is entirely estimated in relation to the lecturer’s goals of teaching (Brown, Atkins, 1988), which again depends on the context of teaching. Methods of teaching used in lecturers differs from subject to subject (Osman, Jaidi, Mohidin, Lim, 2009). For example, a lecture which has a sole purpose of providing a solution to a problem can be considered an effective lecturer if the goal of the lecture is to simply convey information. Another goal of a lecture can be to help make the students develop a solution to a problem and if the lecture is structured to merely deliver to solution it may be regarded as an ineffective lecture.
It is easy to see that effective teaching is a very intellectual and socially demanding task and that it takes a certain set of skills to become a lecturer. First and foremost a lecturer needs to have a deep sense of the subject being taught, being intelligent. They also need to be progressive, indirect, to draw attention to errors and not directly to the mistake and therefore make a learning experience out of it. He/she needs to be reflective when it comes to problem solving and at last, needs to be encouraging to the students (Wood, Tanner, 2012). With these skills in place and an understanding of the group of students a lecturer can put in place the right instructional choices to achieve an effective lecture.
There are many instructional choices and measures a lecturer can choose between when conveying course information in a lecture. These measures are the characteristics of an information flow situation from a lecturer to students. The first and most obvious one, is to help students learn from the lectures directly from the information. There are also a lot of ways a lecturer indirectly conveys information. By helping students learn from smaller groups, helping students learn from laboratory sessions, helping students learn from private studies. As a lecturer you can also convey information by other indirect methods to helping the students learn that information by themselves. This by improving their reading, improving their writing and most importantly, to help them improve their problem-solving and problem-solving strategies and tactics (Brown, Atkins, 1988). In many cases the indirect information flow can be a lot more efficient than direct one.
Challenges encountered/what needs to be improved
International students are more common in the society since 1995. The amount of non-EU students in English speaking countries has risen from 100,000 in 1995 to 195,000 in 2004 (Caroll & Ryan, 2005, p. 4). Some benefits of studying abroad is to gain intercultural experience, studying different languages and other opportunities(Andrade, 2006, p. 132). One of the challenges that occurs within a lecture, is that the lecturer has to adapt to meet the students needs and different educational backgrounds due to a diverse set of students that includes both national and international students(Caroll & Ryan, 2005, p. 5).
Making use of quizzes and personality tests can help the lecturer get a better idea of the students and their educational backgrounds as well as their behavior, which will help the lecturer have an easier time adapting to the diverse set of educational background among the students. Getting a clear idea of how many international students there is and who they are, as well as building a closer relationship with them, will lead to a better understanding of their educational background and needs. Also getting feedback from the students after lectures, making use of websites like “menti.com” to get feedback can help the lectures make changes to their lectures and adapt to the students.
Another major challenge while studying abroad is the language barrier and different English speaking and writing capabilities. Students find it difficult interpreting information given by the lecturer as intended(Andrade, 2006, p. 135).
The lecturer being more prepared for diverse language English capabilities in lectures, by using more visuals and text to help conveying the information as intended can be a solution to this challenge. Also, helping the students prepare before lectures by informing them about the lecture ́s topic beforehand will be beneficial in this situation as it gives the students a better idea and more time to learn the curriculum.
Another common challenge students face is lack of sleep. This affects their mood, concentration and motivation during lectures(Lack, 1986, p. 105), which results in difficulties interpreting information given by the lecturers. This can also lead towards depression. A solution to this problem, could be better time management and planning by the students to avoid unexpected events and to make the most use of the day. Another reason why lack of sleep is a challenge, is bad habits such as using digital media right before going to bed, that may result in excessive use and become more time consuming than expected.
A fourth challenge is the size of the class, as it can affect students ́ performance and relationship with the lecturer. A smaller class leads to a closer connection between the student and lecturer, which will result in increased participation of the students in class. Furthermore, fewer students in the same lecture will make it easier for a lecturer to stay on schedule(Douglas & Walker, 2004, p. 326).
In order to solve this problem, though potentially problematic for the economy of the university, the government could make a maximum limit of students per lecture, to avoid lectures with hundreds of students. This would then require more lectures and also possibly more lecturers for the same courses.
Lastly, a students interest and motivation towards a course will play a major role in interpreting information from the lecturer(Freidman, 2019). Many studies include several compulsory courses, some that certain students might find uninteresting. This will make an impact on both the students and lecturers motivation to receive and give information during lectures.
Having less compulsory courses within a study and more elective courses, will result in a more flexible study and exciting for the students, but making sure the students take enough courses to fill the requirements for their bachelor is important. Also, keeping the lectures more engaging with different ways to hold lectures, using more physical activities or practical tasks in lectures will make it more exciting. Involving the students by holding quizzes such as “Kahoots” at the end of each lecture, as a repetition and a competition, can keep the students more interested and give them something to look forward to each lecture.
There are some available digital tools such as “Canvas” and “StudentWeb”. Also, at Østfold University College in Norway they use other digital tools for other purposes than just strengthening the information flow between students and lecturers, these are “TP:Timeplan”(Østfold University College, 2019) which keeps tracks on a student’s schedule and “TP:Rombestilling”(Østfold University College, 2019).
“Canvas” is a digital tool that focuses on keeping an information flow between students and lecturers outside of the classroom, regardless of time and place. However the digital tool does not guarantee effective learning, as it sole purpose is to make an easy communication way between student and lecturer. Furthermore it can be very misleading if the lecturer is not familiar with the tool, also technical issues might occur, hindering the information flow.
“StudentWeb” is another digital tool that the students of Norway use over the course of their studies. Instead of focusing on the information flow between students and lecturers, the tool helps the students go through necessary procedures when applying to a new study or starting a new semester, such as paying semester fees and picking elective subjects. In addition the tool also keeps tracks of a students grades throughout the course of their study.
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