5. Test

Introduction

For the last phase in the design thinking process: 5. Testing, we decided to do a Concept test for our solution that we ended up with in the previous phases: 3. Ideate and 4. Prototype. In this phase, we are going to test the two prototypes we made in the last assignment.

Goals for testing 

The goal of this concept test, is to test the concept behind our solution. The concept of our solution, is to make it easier for the students to ask questions in a bigger sized lecture.

A description of our mockup can be found in 4. Prototype.

Participants

Four students and one lecturer at Østfold University College:

    • Subject 1: 22 year old male bachelor student.
    • Subject 2: 20 year old female bachelor student.
    • Subject 3: 23 year old male bachelor student.
    • Subject 4: 24 year old female bachelor student.
    • Subject 5: 45 year old male lecturer.

Roles – Host/players/observers.

Host:

  • Active, asking follow-up questions, directing the users through the tasks

Players:

  • Fellow bachelor students.

Observers:

  • Observe and note

Procedure

The tasks in the test are:

  1. Watch the video prototype(4. Prototype)
  2. Test out the high-fidelity prototype(Adobe Xd)
  3. Interview 

The one having the role of being the “Host” had the responsibility of conducting the test of these subjects. The test began by having the subjects watch the video prototype(4. Prototype), followed up by having them test the high fidelity prototype(Adobe Xd) and finally interviewing them. While the “Host” was conducting the test, the “Observers” main roles were to note down answers and comments by the subjects. We tested four students and only one lecturer, due to difficulty finding available lecturers to test.

Interview

For the interview we did a semi-structured one, were the group put together the questions in advance: 

  • Did you understand the concept? 
  • Is this something you could make use of in a lecture, if so to what degree? 
  • Do you have any suggestions as to changes/improvements to the concept?
  • Any other comments about the concept?

Results of the interview

Subject 1:

  • Yes, they did. Ease the communication between student teacher, concept was presented clearly throughout the testing.
  • Yes, definitely. Can be used for more nervous students. Easily asking the questions to the teacher, without a large involvement (raising hand). 
  • Maybe hard to engage the students to use the app?
  • Comments: Easy to use, video presented the concept clearly, 

Subject 2:

  • Yes, concept understood, ease the communication between the student and teacher.
  • Yes, easily asking question, makes it easier for more nervous people to ask questions in front of the whole class.
  • Liked the name of app “PowerChat”.
  • Comments: Concept is presented clearly throughout the test.

Subject 3:

  • Yes, ease the communication between student and lecturer, making asking questions easier, concept was presented clearly during the test.
  • Yes, maybe 50%, depending on the course, and class size.
  • How the teacher will answer the questions, when they pop up.
  • No comments.

Subject 4:

  • Yes, the concept is presented clearly throughout the video.
  • Yes, in quite a big degree considering this subject is hesitant on raising their hand and asking questions during bigger classes, and would rather leave the question unasked than asking in front of the whole class.
  • “Bulletproof” , concept seems thoughtful.
  • No comments.

Subject 5:

  • Yes, the concept is presented clearly throughout the video.
  • I think it can be very useful if the idea is done correctly. It is hard to make students participate and ask questions in the lectures.
  • Will I have to check the chat a lot during the lecture? Disturbance? Notification sound?

Conclusion

The concept was easy for every test subject to understand from our video and high-fidelity prototype. Though in various degrees, all five subjects thought the app could be useful for themselves in their lectures. The test subjects also gave us some questions/suggestions that can help us make the app even more useful for them. In conclusion, the concept test has shown us that our concept seems good and relevant for our target audience, in this case being students and lecturers in a lecture. Therefore, we decided to continue working on it moving forward.

4. Prototype

Introduction

For this assignment, the group was given the task to create a high fidelity prototype and a video prototype presenting our concept, with help from high fidelity prototype. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate our concept in a clear way for our users.

Adobe Xd Demo Process

The group gathered together and started drawing low-fidelity prototypes, sketching the rough idea for the app. One hour was spent sketching, then the group immediately started working on a high-fidelity prototype using Adobe Xd.

High fidelity prototype – Adobe Xd DEMO

 

The first ting the users do once they open our app “PowerChat”, is to log in with a Feide account. This will ensure that the user is a student or a teacher at Østfold University College, and it will also help the app find their courses.

 

After logging in with a Feide account the users will be given two choices, either continue with their ID which will be their names or be anonymous. The users will have access to the same content regardless of what they choose, this is just for the chat function whether the user prefer to be shown as anonymous or not.

 

Once the user has picked whether they want to be anonymous or not, they can then start browsing through the courses that they attend to during their semester.

 

Next an overview of the all the PowerPoints used in the selected course will appear, for the user to look through and pick the desired PowerPoint.

 

When you have selected the PowerPoint you want to access, you will have 3 different elements on the page. The first is the slide-selection, the one in the middle is the slide the lecturer is currently on and the one to the right is the chat bar where the users can leave comments or questions.

The Demo: https://xd.adobe.com/view/bea11141-3a11-4b6f-5e49-e5fb7bf3f584-c890/

Video

https://hiof.instructuremedia.com/embed/676ea2a8-f7b6-4123-9ca3-491847bc031d?fbclid=IwAR2LVyv9m-r7lMaRlTlL0o5ijaDOIRjyhXCxwc-sZMwh8KxZTw2-IMsXeKc

Process of making the video

Firstly, the group sat down together and discussed how to present our concept in an easy and clear way through a video. Once the idea and how to solve the assignment was decided, we started to film immediately. The group decided to make a video of a situation that introduced a common problem which often occurs within a classroom to try and relate to the audience. In this way we could connect and empathize with the target audience, as well as present our concept and prototype to solve this problem.

The equipment that was used in this assignment was:

  • A camera
  • A microphone
  • An editing tool

The making of the video took 6 hours in total, where we filmed for three hours and edited for another three.

3.2 Personas, scenarios and storyboards

Introduction

In this task, we are going to create personas, scenarios and storyboards. The purpose of personas is to make it easier for us to understand our users’ needs, frustrations, behaviours and goals. The scenarios give examples of situations our idea can be useful in and help us examine our solution. The storyboards will help us share our vision among ourselves as well as to the stakeholders, also simplifying the solution.

Persona 1

Demographics:

Name: Oddvar

Age: 24

Gender: Male

Status: Single

Education: IT-student

Employment: Pizzabakeren

Income: 12000 NOK

Location: Halden

Bio:

Oddvar lives in Halden and has just started his studies in digital-media and design.  He is a part of a family of five, his mom, dad and his two little brothers. Lives alone because of his studies.  He has always been a talented designer and aspire for a future as a graphic designer.

Needs/frustrations:

Sondre is very shy and struggles to speak his mind during lectures in big classes. Therefore he doesn’t learn as much from lecturers as he want to because of misunderstandings between lecturer and the class that doesn’t get cleared up. he also struggles to participate in class activities because of his nature of being shy. 

 Motivations

 Oddvar gets motivated to work with school by being in and listening to engaging lecturers. He also gets motivation and a sense of accomplishments by overcoming problems occurring in his classes. Sondre also like and gets motivated by working with like-minded students in smaller groups with projects. 

 Goal:

His goal is to learn as much as possible when he is participating in his lectures and classes. He also has set a goal to graduate from his university college without a single “D” in any of his classes. He is also thinking about continuing to a masters if his bachelor goes well. And all of this contributes to his main goal for his studies. To become a graphic designer. 

Scenario 1:

Its early in the morning and Oddvar is in his first lecture of the day. He lives 30 minutes by bus from his university college, so he is very tired when he arrives at the university. Oddvar thinks his lecturer speaks very unclear and has a lot of questions about what is said in the lecture but he is shy and tired and doesn’t want to interrupt the lecturer by asking too loudly in the middle of this big class. In spite of this Oddvar still wants to speak his mind and therefore pulls up an anonymous chat function which was provided for the class. The chat function  There he can see the live powerpoint presentation the lecturer is using. He can freely maneuver throughout the slides and also see the current slide the lecturer is at. In this function there is a chat function which he can use to ask the lecturer. anything related to the different slides and the lecturer will have a screen to see the live chat in front of him. Oddvar can choose in this function to be anonymous or not, but will nonetheless get the answers to his questions when the lecturer sees them. This fits Oddvar perfectly, as he gets to ask all the questions he wants without having to concern about speaking up in class or anyone knowing a possible “stupid” question is from him. 

Oddvar writes a question in the chat function. The lecturer sees this question on her screen and reads it out loud in the class. Oddvar gets an answer to his question and can therefore move on with the lecture. 

Storyboard:

  1. Since Oddvar lives 30 minutes by bus from his university college he takes the bus.
  2. Oddvar sits in his first lecture of the day early in the morning after arrival at his university college.
  3. A combination of Oddvar being tired early and the lecturer speaking unclear makes oddvar misunderstand what is being said and he wants to ask the lecturer to retell.
  4. Oddvar looks at the anonymous chat function where he can see the live powerpoint presentation and give live comments to specific slides from the powerpointt to get an answer to his misunderstandings.
  5. Here the lecturer can instantly see Oddvars comment/question popping up on her pad and answers immediately to avoid further misunderstanding.
  6. Because of the anonymous chat function Oddvar gets answers to all his doubts and that makes him happy and makes him learn the most from his lectures. 

Persona 2

Demographics:

Name: Laila

Age: 46

Gender: Female

Status: Married

Education: Bachelor’s degree in science, master in 

Employment: Lecturer at Østfold University College

Income: 42000 NOK

Location: Sarpsborg

Bio:

Laila is working at Østfold University College as history lecturer. In the past couple of years she has been working on some experiments in the classroom about helping students to get more comfortable and motivations on the lecturers. 

Needs/frustrations:

Laila wants to have a more active conversation with her students during classes and is afraid that the student does not care enough in the class and does not like her as a lecturer. 

Motivations:

Laila is motivated to help the students get more comfortable with being active in class, which will result in better grades for her students.

Goal:

Laila wants to deepen the relationship between herself and her students and to create a good learning environment, so that she can increase the participation from the students and lessen the tension in class. 

Scenario 2:

Laila is starting her day with a big cup of coffee. She is preparing powerpoints to today’s lectures, at Østfold University College for her students  and the first class is starting 10’oclock. The lecture were supposed to be in Norwegian, but she had to change it to English because there was some new exchange students in class. She isn’t quite good in english, and it might lead to miscommunication between her and the students. Her goals for today’s lecture is to make sure that every student in her class is following her lecture, despite her poor english competence. So in today’s lecture, she used a product that her colleague recommended to her. With this product she can create a chat room for the entire class, so that the students can ask questions without raising their voice in class. In addition to a chat room there will also be shown a slide of her powerpoint, which the students can freely navigate through and it will also show Lailas current slide. She used this product once the class started, and throughout the class some students asked a few questions to Laila due to her being unclear when conveying information to the students in English. After seeing the question pop-up on her screen, she immediately answered the questions until the students were content with her answer before moving on with her lecture.

Storyboard:

  1. The lecturer Laila is starting her day with å cup of coffee while preparing her powerpoint for today’s lecture.
  2. Laila needs to hold her lecture in english due to some new exchange students in her class. Because her english is a bit rusty some of her student might misunderstand what she is trying to convey. 
  3. Laila has here pc providing the powerpoint for the class, but also an ipad screen with the live preview of the current powerpoint with the comments and questions from the students. 
  4. On this screen Laila can see specific questions regarding spesific slides in her powerpoint to see which to answer first. She can here instantly clear all misunderstandings without the student need to go outside their comfort zone to ask her.
  5. After seeing what students are misunderstanding she then knows what to explain in a better way for them to understand.
  6. The class is happy with the lecture since they can leave fully understood what Laila was conveying. 

1.3 Cultural probes

What was the goal and who are the users?

In this phase of the design thinking process, we are going to create a cultural probe package related to our topic. Our goal with this is to gain insight on students’ experiences, thoughts and feelings towards the university and its lectures. We also hope to learn how the information flow process in the lectures might be improved.   

The users of the probes will be bachelor students at Østfold University College. We picked out 5 students, who we thought would be good representatives for our target users. 

How we thought the probes would help us achieve the goal

By having the students share their experiences with the lectures at the university college, we can get them to open up and give personal opinions on how well information is conveyed by the lecturer in lectures. 

Procedure

First, we gathered together to have a brainstorm session for about 1 hour for ideas on what the cultural probes could be. After the brainstorm session, we ended up with 4 probe ideas and created these. The probes were delivered in person by each group member and each group member was responsible for one cultural probe package. When delivering the probes, we made sure that we had an informal behavior, as we did not want the testers of our probe to feel pressured when completing the probes. The members were also responsible for collecting the probes. 

Collage

For higher quality picture: https://imgur.com/a/0Sp8ws7

What was most insightful/inspirational?

The drawings from probe 1 were inspirational as this was a very open task and this forced the users to come up with their own creative solutions. When looking at these drawings, where we asked our test subjects to draw about their school day, we noticed that they had been thinking outside the task and gave drawing of things outside the school, which affected their school day indirectly. This gave us inspiration to also start thinking outside the box when thinking of ways to improve the information flow between lecturer and students. There are other places and ways to improve the situation inside the classroom indirectly, through other positive experiences. 

Probe 1:

For higher quality picture: https://imgur.com/a/9t9jgng

Probe 4 was insightful since we saw a clear pattern in where students like to sit in their lectures. The majority of the students chose to sit between the center of the classroom and the front row. This tells us that lack of participation in class might not necessarily mean that the students do not put enough effort in class, but rather other things such as lecturer going off topic as we found out in probe 2.

Probe 4:

For higher quality picture:  https://imgur.com/a/PLKEBcE

Probe 2:

For higher quality picture: https://imgur.com/a/WLxudbp

What surprised you the most?

In probe 3, two out of five people rated Canvas as good, and one rated it neutral. This surprised us as we thought students’ opinions on this would be more negative, due to our own experience. After discussing this result, the group was more open to ideas/solutions involving website interfaces as Canvas was rated highly. 

Probe 3:

For higher quality picture: https://imgur.com/a/J67rSJP

We were also surprised about the small differences in opinions of where the students prefer to sit in lectures. As stated above, most students prefer to sit in the front half of the auditorium but not in the first couple of rows.

What probe results will help you with future designs?

The results from probe 2 can be very useful as these directly tell us what the students like about their lectures and what needs to be improved, and this is important to know when we are going to come up with an idea for a product in the ideate phase. Probe 4 is also helpful for this, as one of the three main challenges we learned about from doing a literature search, class size, is linked to this. From probe 1, we learned by looking at all the drawings that an idea for future designs didn’t have to be directly involved in the lecture itself, but could help indirectly. This probe helped us thinking outside the box.

In the expert interview, we learned that in big courses it is hard for a lecturer to have direct communication with all of the students. To replace this communication they add student assistants to be of assistance for the students instead. When we look at probe 3, we see that no one is satisfied with the replaced communication that the student assistants provide and therefore are left with a disconnected feeling towards the course. This can be a huge disconnect in the information flow between the students and lecturer. Just this one result from probe 2 can help us think of future designs to better this problem. 

All of the probes have potential to help out in the planning of future designs in their own way, but the second probe will maybe have the biggest influence.

1.2 Expert interview and Observation

Expert interview and observation

Introduction

In the next step of the design thinking process: Expert interview and/or Observations, we conducted both an interview and an observation. We chose to conduct both methods to get insight on both parties, bachelor students and lecturers, involved in our topic. This also made it possible for us to compare the two results at the end. 

Expert interview

Who was interviewed and why?

We interviewed an advisor at Østfold University College. The reasoning for choosing the university college advisor as our expert in this matter, is that we wanted to get more insight in the student problems concerning lecturers, to better understand the information flow between lecturers and bachelor students. Since it is the advisors job to listen to student problems, we thought the advisor would fit the criteria of being an expert well. Hence, we decided to interview the advisor.

 Where was the interview conducted?

The interview was in the advisors office at Østfold University College. Tuesday afternoon at 13:30, on the 24. of september 2019. The interview lasted approximately 15 minutes from start to finish.

How was the interview conducted?

We did a semi-structured interview where we had some guidelines, but we could also talk outside those guidelines. The reasoning for doing a semi-structured interview is to allow the interviewer freedom to express their views in their own terms instead of being locked to set specific questions. During the interview, we had two observers taking notes, asking follow-up questions and recording sound, and one main interviewer asking questions. We informed the advisor before the interview that we were planning on recording the interview by taking notes and a sound recording, asking for their permission, to make sure it was okay with the interview object.

What was the theme of the interview?

The theme of the interview was; “What problems do bachelor-students report concerning lecturers in a classroom?”

Why was the theme (s) chosen?

It is relevant for us and we can relate to the problems about the information flow between lecturer and bachelor students. It is also crucial to understand, to better the information flow between lecturers and bachelor students. When understanding the problem from the students’ point of view, we understand what kind of problems we can help do something about to better the information flow. 

Interview Guide (questions)

  • What school-related problems do students most often encounter? Why?
  • Are there any challenges associated with exchange students?
  • Will a large class affect teaching in a negative way? Why? Why not?
  • Is the failure rate higher in international subjects than those in Norwegian? Why? Why not? 
  • Are there some teaching methods that proves more effective than others? if so, elaborate.
  • Why do you think so many students drop out in lectures?
  • What measures can be taken to improve lectures?
  • Are enough measures being taken to improve lectures?

Transcription (voice recorded in Norwegian)

André: Så da starter vi bare da?

Advisor: ja!

André: eeeh det første spørsmålet er; er det noe problemer eller skolerelaterte problemer studenter kommer i vei? liksom går igjen ofte…

Andreas: liksom kommer noen ofte til deg når det gjelder skolen?

Advisor: mhm tenker i forhold til informasjon i forelesning?

André: ja, eller om forelesere til deg om de faller ut

Advisor: eller hva de..

Andreas: ikke bare.. noe hovedsakelig, noe skolerelatert de kommer ofte til deg

Advisor: mhm… eeeh, eller det som er kanskje har mest eeeh det er kanskje de fagene som er på første året for studenter i forhold til å overgangen mellom elev – student, nytt sted, nytt miljø, flyttet hjemme ifra..

André: mmm

Advisor: at den tar jo litt for lang tid noen ganger føri de kommer igang med studiene fordi det er så mye nytt.

André: mmm

Advisor: også er det kanskje sånn for første studentene mye frister i forhold til arbeidskrav i emnene på første året.. ja, det er vel mer sånn rundt studie situasjon da

André: ja..

Advisor: som de kommer med.. mhm

André: også lurte vi på om det er noen utfordringer i forbindelse med utvekslingsstudenter som er bare er kun de internasjonale kursene men og de kombinerte norske og utenlandske studenter

Advisor: eh de som kommer hit på utveksling? mhm..

André: ja

Advisor: ja, en utfordring for noen kan være er at da hvor holdt på si forelesningene er jo på engelsk og det er jo ikke alle som synes takler like bra da mhm

André: nei..

Andreas: men får du.. er det mange utvekslingsstudenter som kommer hit…

Advisor: …nei..

Andreas: …og spør deg om ting fordi foreleserne er på norsk eller noe sånt?

Advisor: nei, jeg har lite med det ..

Andreas: lite med utvekslingsstudenter men det er mere fra de norske som har problemer fordi de bytter til forelesningene på engelsk?

Advisor: mhm ja.. det gjør det..

André: også det tredje spørsmålet som er om eeh: er det forskjell på store og små klasser når det kommer for eksempel på strykprosent og hva er det som er forskjellen på en stor og en liten klasse? Hvis det er mye forskjell idet hele tatt? 

André: det er jo noen emner som har høyere strykprosent og det er for eksempel innføring i programmering som ligger oppi der, og det er jo derfor man i år oppretter nye – for dere går i digitale medier?..

Alle: ja

Advisor: .. ja dere har annet programmering emne eller får til neste høst eller? nei *mumler for seg selv* ja, og det er nettopp fordi det er at har vært ganske stor strykprosent ehm.. men om det har sammenheng med stor og liten ja.. det kan jo være, på første års emnene så er det jo mange for det er mange fellesemner, eller det er mange som har de samme emnene også deler det seg utover i året

Andreas: tror du at det har noe kanskje med at det blir mindre liksom oppfølging i sånn enkeltvis på studentene fordi det er store klasser og sånt? eller er det noe med det å gjøre folk- siden det er store klasser føler ikke studentene de har noe direkte kontakt med foreleser?

Advisor: mhm ja det kan det være for det er nok at det er sikkert vanskeligere og tøffere å spørre-  stille spørsmål i en forelesning med så mange enn og da- enn i en klasserom og kanskje flere kjente og føler seg rundt seg mere trygg da, enn der, men samtidig så har man jo mye tilbud på øvingstimer med studentassistenter som de blir brukt og nytte av 

André: eh strykprosenten er dem høyere enn de internasjonale fagene enn de som foregår på norsk? da snakker vi om både nordmenn og de utenlandske studentene og de engelske kursene og.

Advisor: eh det vet jeg ikke, for vi har egentlig ikke hatt så mange forelesninger som har foregått på engelsk tidligere men det er vel nytt i år med at vi har både forelesere som er engelske så det ble jo litt spennende å se ooog at vi har nå i utvekslingsstudenter på et par fag som de også foregår på engelsk da, men nå må jeg bare spørre holdt på si dere har designmetoder gå det på engelsk?…

Alle: ja

Andreas: det og prosjektledelse går begge på engelsk..

Advisor: .. ja går på engelsk ja.. men er det på grunn av – det har vel ikke akk- designmetoder har vel gått engelsk tidligere også på grunn av hun Klaudia da, eh men jeg trokke det har utpreget seg med et fag med høy strykprosent, nei det kan jeg ikke..

Andreas: … det har ikke påvirket i noen form?…

Advisor: .. neeeei.. tror ikke det, det er ikke noe som vi liksom har tenkt på eller har tatt tak i at det har vært et problem og det har ikke vært noe i sånn i forhold til studenter på døra heller og at det da har vært noe utprega eller mye av det nei.

André: eeeh neste spørsmål om det noen måter forelesning metoder som er mer effektive eller bedre enn noen andre?

Andreas: kanskje det er litt vanskelig spørsmål?

Advisor: mhm ja.. det vet jeg ikke om jeg tør å si noe om jeg..

André: nei.. da hopper vi videre til; hvorfor tror du så mange studenter faller ut i forelesningen? Tror det er kanskje mye av det samme tror jeg

Advisor: hehehe ja

Andreas: ja blir litt for vanskelig 

Advisor: … haha jaaa det blir jo litt synsing da, så tror jeg at det har kanskje er veldig personavhengig på min oppfatning hehe på hvem som har forelesningen

André: da har vi neste spørsmål; hvorfor tror du hvorfor mange studenter faller ut i forelesningen? 

Advisor: da tror jeg kanskje det er engasjementet på forelesere jeg da om de klarer å engasjere, holde oppmerksomheten, gjøre forelesningen interessant..

André: men tror du at det er for eksempel //?det kan at de andre ikke kunne?// for eksempel med 4 timer kun snakking og mer effektiv litt ikke kun teori men litt praktiske og ?

Advisor: ja det er klart… eh ja det er vel noen fag som har sammenhengende med kanskje mye teori og at det blir veldig trått når man ikke har noe variasjoner i forelesnings formen da

Andreas: da lurer jeg på- har du noen spesielle erfaringer med at studenter har kommet til deg på grunn av at de faller ut av forelesninger og sånt og om hva de eventuelt har sagt til deg om at det hvorfor det skjer?

Advisor: mmmm nei men det kan bare være ikke noe sånn eh som er liksom sånn mønster da, hvis det kommer seg liksom sånn holdt på si “slengere” i en nå da på grunn av et eller annet det er liksom ikke sånn at jeg ser et mønster, det kan være årsak da…

Andreas: ..det er bare veldig sånn enkeltvis fra person til person 

Advisor: jaa det er egentlig det, noen liker det og noen liker datt og ja 

André: yes, eeeh i hvilket tiltak kan gjøres for å forberede forelesningen?

Advisor: for å forberede forelesninger… mhm.. nei bare for å – kanskje at man har sånn kollegaveiledning da? At de foreleserne går på hverandres sine- ja kollegaveiledning, at de har noen til å evaluere seg og ikke bare studentevaluering /mumling/ ja, evaluering da

André: det er litt samme spørsmål og: gjøres det nok tiltak for å forberede forelesninga? for det blir tatt evalueringen men føler at det ikke har tatt noen konkrete tiltak for det da.. 

Advisor: neei.. vi har jo- det er jo studentevalueringer og som vi går gjennom og ser på og prøver innimellom med noen tiltak da og noen forelesere har har kanskje ikke tatt det faget men tatt noen andre oppgaver eller man har satt flere personer i timene så noe er i gjentakere problemer eller noe sånt enn de som er fra flere år da, så prøver jo man å bytte litt og sette flere personer eller ha litt variasjon da 

André: yes.. som du har nevnt i programmeringsfaget som ble det nå ja..

Advisor: mhm..

André: er det noen annet du kan tenke på at det er relevant for oss å skrive om temaet vårt?

Advisor: mhm..

Andreas: som vi tenker da er jo veldig forskjellig når det kommer til hvordan folk tar imot informasjon og sånt fra foreleser også da, det er jo veldig på person til person også er det veldig vanskelig tiltak til tilfredstille mesteparten 

Advisor: ja, ja.. eller.. noen av foreleserne er jo veldig flinke på å ha åpne kontor da, det er veldig lett å gå inn og spørre om hjelp og det tror jeg at det er viktig at man skal kunne å spørre om hjelp da, det er noe av det vi prøver på da og markedsføre da med at vi er liten og tett høgskole da, det skal være kort avstand eller god kontakt mellom studenter og foreleser.

André: de fleste foreleserne vil jo at studentene går til studassene? så de slipper alt det selv da..

Advisor: joda det er klart, hvor det er de kullene hvor der det er 250 stk studenter så haha..

André: ja det blir litt mye ..

Advisor: haha.. ja det blir litt mye ja, ellers er det også at man er flinke til å bruke canvas da til å legge ut forelesningsnotater og tror at de har blitt flinkere etterhvert men det er ikke alle som er.. ja bruker det like aktivt da, tror det er – nei jeg vet ikke jeg tror det er variasjoner i faglæreres eller hvor mye de bruker canvas da, hvor flinke de er til å legge ut stoff og tips

André: har vi noen mer? noe som er aktuelt?

Andreas: nei jeg tror vi fikk noen koblet og det var noen spørsmål som var vanskelige enn de andre, kanskje for deg kanskje når det kommer mer direkte om studenter

Advisor: eeeh ja det er det jo.. ja

Andreas: ting må jo gi mer langsiktig om det skjer rundt, men det er ikke noen sånn generelt trenger ikke akkurat å være noe om det her liksom, det er ikke noe ofte klare gjenganger om hva studenter kommer til deg og sånn? når det er omhandler om skolen? 

Advisor: .. nei, som studieveileder så er det veldig mye det at man kanskje har strøket et fag og må ta opp igjen og lage en utdanningsplan da for studentene og ja også skal man plutselig ta igjen fordi at man har vært litt slapp da i et semester også ahaha ja.. så det går mye igjen på studenter som har strøket et fag 

Andreas: som faller ut og kommer tilbake på skolen liksom?..

Advisor: ja..både og om de har kanskje både falt ut og noen sliter litt med motivasjon, noen syns det er vanskelig fa.. hold på si fremlegg eller presentasjoner, selv om man har kanskje hatt mye av det på videregående og barneskolen eller hele veien så syns dem…

André: for det er eller blir så større klasse 

Advisor: ja at det kan bli en utfordring ja og ja.. og det å jobbe i grupper er det mange som sliter med fordi at det ; det å finne grupper og hvordan det fungerer dynamisk på en som ikke bare henger på og vet ikke hva man skal gjøre og ja.. litt sånne praktiske ting også som de kommer med ja

André: yes.. skal vi si oss ferdige, eller hvis ikke dere har noe mer ?

Andreas: nei, tror ikke vi har noe mer nå hvertfall.. takk veldig bra, takk for samtalen og takk for tiden

Advisor: bare hyggelig, håper dere gjør det bra på oppgaven haha

Analysis and summary of findings with quotes

We chose to interview an advisor at the school who represented an expert in this field. The advisor was relevant to our information flow situation because  had complementary experience with insight in various school-related issues students have, and even more specific to our information flow, issues related to how bad performed lectures affect their studies. In order to achieve the desired results, we explained our communication flow situation before the interview and then asked our questions related to it. 

According to the expert we chose to interview, the most overtly school-related problems that students come to her with are the following;

 “Mainly, it is the first year students who seek counseling from me. Counseling aimed at the transition from high-school to university. New location, new environment, new living situation, a lot of deadlines in terms of work requirements and so on.” 

This transition ended up putting these freshman students in the advisors office, with a lot of doubts. They may have failed a class, lagging behind, lack of motivation or maybe they have anxiety performing in front of the class. All of these problems do not always come directly from poor communication flow between the students and the lecturer, but it is definitely a part of the cause.  

Another problem we came across and would like to focus on is exchange students and how they may come across dealing with the language barrier and the fact that some courses are taught in english and others in norwegian. According to the advisors experience, exchange students almost never come to them with problems related to norwegian courses – it was rather the opposite. “Their had been occurrences with norwegian students coming to them because they had difficulties with courses running in english.” So either, exchange students don’t have a problem with the language barrier, or they are not aware of the services the school offers in advising.

Another factor that affects the communication between lecturer and student, is the size of the class. “The failure rate in courses with high student numbers have a tendency to be a little higher than small classes.” The difference is even clearer among freshman courses. The reason for this is impossible to point out directly, since the reason for failure can vary a lot from one student to another. A general observation from the expert was that in the larger courses, the students lose the direct contact with the lecturer that they are used to from their high school. For that reason, they feel more helpless now when they are struggling in a course. To make up for lack of direct contact, there are offered student assistants in many larger courses, but for many these are not filling the educational needs the same way.

At the end of the interview we wanted to find out how we could improve the information flow situation. Therefore, we asked the advisor what they saw as the main reasons why a lot of students fall out during lectures. They believed that the main reason for students’ loss of focus, is lack of engagement from the lecturer when lecturing, which then can seem like the lecturer doesn’t have interest in what they are teaching. If there is little variation in the methods the lecturer uses to teach, students can also lose interest and get bored.

When it comes to how the situation can be improved, the advisor had some suggestions; “It can be added colleague assessment between lecturers, to have the lecturers give criticism to each other about what is good and what should be changed to engage the students.” Many students think that the student assessment of the lecturers is not received as seriously. There can be applied more lecturers in a course, as this would give a better opportunity for direct contact with the students. “In cases where this is not possible the lecturers need to have an open office for students to enter with questions.” Most importantly, the lecturer needs to make sure to have clear communication with the student assistants, so that both the lecturer and the student assistants convey with the same goal and focus in mind. Otherwise, the students will only get more confused. Since the issues can be so diverse within a course, several measurements need to be put in place for it to make any impact. 

 The major things we found out from this expert interview

  • Class size: According to the university college advisor, students in bigger classes feel more disconnected to the lecturer of their teachings and are more likely to not participate and take an interest in the course
  • Language barrier: When exchange students and norwegian students end up in the same courses, the lecturers are often held in english. This makes it harder for the norwegian students, who are often the majority, to follow the lecture as closely and they lose interest.
  • Educational background: High school students come from different places and different living situations. Therefore, they have a lot of different expectations towards a university college, which makes it hard for courses and lecturers to uphold all their different expectations. Because of this, some students might feel excluded and unmotivated.

Observation

Who was observed? 

Bachelor students in a foreign class and the lecturer for the foreign class. We chose this class because of its diverse educational background, language barrier and small class size. These factors would affect the lecturers way of conveying information in a classroom, which we learned from the literature search that we wanted to investigate.

Which was the observation scene? 

Public setting; A smaller classroom at Østfold university college. 

The role of the observer 

The novice; a student. 

The observation method we used 

Fly on the wall – go to a location and unobtrusively observe what goes on there. 

The intention of the observation

Observing the professor giving a lecture to international bachelor students in a classroom. 

Why we chose to observe this specific behaviour 

To learn about which methods the lecturer uses to convey information to bachelor students.

Field notes transcript 

  • Checking attendance
  • 20-25 students attended the lecture
  • Many absent students
  • The lecturer went through the students’ homework. Some students were chosen to present parts of it.
  • The lecturer spoke both Norwegian and English. She spoke extra clearly when she spoke Norwegian
  • Lecturer asked if any of the students had not gotten the homework in the last lecture
  • The lecturer was energetic and engaged
  • A lot of practical learning – Students were picked randomly to present homework, two at a time. Later, everyone read out loud at the same time as well sometimes.
  • The lecturer knew and used the names of the students, which made their relationship more personal
  • The students had to improvise a conversation in Norwegian with the help of their textbook
  • Textbook was used a lot during the lecture
  • The lecturer read a dialogue in norwegian out loud
  • Group work, 2-3 students worked together
  • The lecturer did not use a powerpoint presentation at all during this lecture.

Analysis and Summary of Observations – What? How? Why? 

We decided to observe bachelor students in a foreign class, as this would help us gain relevant data for the empathy phase. The group then decided to send 2 observers to observe a class at Østfold University College. The course we decided to observe was “Norwegian as a foreign language 1”.

First, we asked the lecturer for permission to do the observation in her lecture, which we were granted. We then sat in the back of the classroom in this lecture and observed. The lecturer had more of a practical approach to how they held the lecture, with a lot of practical tasks for the students. The class size was about 20-25 students. This gave us an impression of a closer relationship between the lecturer and the students, as the lecturer knew the names of each student. This, combined with other factors, gave an increase in participation. The other factors include: a lot of practical tasks in class both while seated and in front of the entire class, the lecturer being more energetic while conveying information. It is also less intimidating for the students to perform tasks in front of the entire class, while being a smaller sized class. The lecturer was also making sure that the students were on the same page, actively asking if the students had some questions. The lecturer also actively used a textbook while lecturing, this made it easier to follow the lecture and as well as understanding the curriculum. We observed for about 45 minutes, before leaving mid break.

The major things we found out from this observation:

  • A smaller class size affected the relationship between the students and the lecturer and resulted in increased participation from the students in the class.
  • The lecturer used a practical form of lecturing, such as activities in front of the class and was actively using the textbook, which made the lecture more interactive and easier to follow.
  • The behaviour of the lecturer played a major role in conveying information. The lecturer in this class was engaged and energetic and therefore kept the students involved. By doing this, the lecturer ensured that all the students were on the same page regardless of their educational background.

Summary and comparison of expert interview and observation. 

When looking at the results from both of these methods, we can see that a lot of the same results are occurring. Class size, language barrier and educational background were three points that both the expert interview and the observation touched on. In the observation, there was a small class size, and this affected the relationship between the students and the lecturer to become more personalized. This was the case because the lecturer had time to be more personal and with each of the students, which again resulted in increased participation from them. On the other side, we learned from the expert interview that some students have problems with large courses being very general, and therefore they become disconnected from the lecturer and its teachings. In the observation, we also learned that an engaged and energetic lecturer can make all students more involved in the course, despite their educational background and interest in the course. The interview told us that it can be very hard to take everyone’s background into account in bigger lectures. By looking at these recurring results, we can know what problems we need to focus on going forward to the defining process.