RP – 2021 – 1

STUDIES

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING IN AN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT RESPONDING TO CHALLENGES OF ONLINE EDUCATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC | Leyla SAFTA-ZECHERIA, Sebastian ŞTEFANIGĂ, Ioana-Alexandra NEGRU, Francisca-Hortensia VIRAG, Anca MĂRGINEANU
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: The measures put in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 have had a major impact on the organization of educational processes. School teachers have been faced with overnight digitalization of their activities without always receiving adequate support with this transition. The present paper reports on a participatory action research project in the form of a tutoring program that sought to understand and respond to these challenges. The project took the form of an open learning initiative addressed to teachers in April – June 2020, followed by a data collection and analysis phase. 37 teachers in four Romanian counties benefited from personalized forms of support offered by 20 student- tutors enrolled in the Educational Sciences Department at the West University in Timişoara. All project activities were carried out at a distance, in the vast majority of cases, online. In analyzing the data produced by the project (tutor reflection log entries, qualitative interviews and focus groups with teachers and tutor students) we seek to answer the following research question: How did a collaborative learning process emerge as part of a participatory action research project carried out during the onset of online teaching and learning practices?. The collaborative learning responded to teachers’ immediate and individual needs regarding the development of digital competences, as well as related to pedagogical and emotional support. Through the tutoring program, the expected roles of the educational actors were reversed: since the undergraduate students were not primarily beneficiaries of the educational processes, but took on an active part as facilitators of the teachers’ learning processes. Thus, a competence transfer from the university to the pre- university environment took place, at a faster rate than it would usually happen.

Keywords: Action-research, collaborative learning, digital competences, remote teaching in times of crisis

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


ONLINE LEARNING DURING THE PANDEMIC: ASSESSING DISPARITIES IN STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION | Oana LUP, Elena Cristina MITREA
Vezi articolul | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: Student engagement is consequential for learning outcomes and is a key factor in student achievement. While its impact on educational outcomes in a face-to-face setting has made the focus of extensive research, less is known about its effects in the context of online learning, especially in Eastern Europe. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced all higher education institutions in Romania to switch to emergency online learning, with little or no previous experience in this form of instruction. This makes it a highly relevant and interesting case for the study of online learning effects on student outcomes. This article therefore investigates disparities in student engagement in the context of emergency online learning in a sample of undergraduate Romanian students. The article focuses on active learning as a key element of student educational engagement, exploring differences in student background characteristics, such as socioeconomic status, employment status and time spent caring for dependents, as well as studying conditions. Results indicate that the sudden change to emergency online learning has created new disparities in perceived levels of student engagement based on the lack of private, interruption-free spaces and a reliable internet connection, as well as time spent doing housework.

Cuvinte cheie: Disparities, higher education, online education, student engagement

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


HIGHER EDUCATION IN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT – CHALLENGES AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS | Luminiţa Mihaela DRĂGHICESCU, Ioana STĂNCESCU
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract:In the current national and international context, the education “hosted” in the online environment, which was once only a secondary solution, rarely used, has become the main way to ensure the continuity of the learning process. In this study, we aimed to capture the reactions of those who were the first to experiment an exclusively online, learning process, i.e. the reactions of the students. We used an investigative approach focused on the following objectives: identifying the perception of students/learners regarding the efficiency and quality of the educational process carried out in the online environment and highlighting ways to improve teaching activities conducted online. The main research method was the questionnaire-based survey. The questionnaire was administered online, integrating a series of items that addressed issues such as: students’ participation in educational activities, problems encountered, solutions to optimize the didactic process conducted in the online environment. Following the investigative approach, the main conclusions are the following: most of the surveyed students consider that the educational activities carried out in the online environment do not have the same efficiency as the direct activities (face to face); the main problems highlighted by the respondents were: overload, fatigue, demotivation, learning difficulties in understanding and operating with certain content, poor Internet connection, but also the lack of necessary indications to facilitate learning. We appreciate that the results of our study may be relevant for practitioners in the field of education, especially for those from higher education, but also for all those interested in digital education.

Keywords: Digital competences, digital resources, online education, quality of university education, reflective practice

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES ON ONLINE LEARNING – ARE THEIR EXPECTATIONS MET BY CURRENT TEACHING PRACTICES? | Iulia GONŢA, Cristina TRIPON
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: The challenges of online learning, created by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted a significant demand in researching this particular field of education. The adaptation to online learning, unfortunately, was applied in a context of unprepared teachers and students. This situation was caused by the new format of education, which differs significantly from massive open online courses, traditional learning or distance learning. The new hybrid model of education, prompted by the pandemic, has certainly become a trend that could incite future transformations in terms of teaching and learning. To better understand the specifics of this type of online learning, we asked the students (N = 705) from the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest to express their opinion on their learning experience during the pandemic. The survey included the problems and expectations of the interviewees, and the research results were analyzed in the article. Our goal was to improve educational practices in the virtual educational environment. In this regard, we analyzed the important components of online learning, focusing on the following ones: the quality of the educational resources used to support the content, the improvement of the quality of the teacher- student relationships, time management, online assessment. The article also provides solutions for effective online learning, from the students’ perspective.

Keywords: Digital learning, online education, students’ perspective, teacher training

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE ONLINIFICATION OF TEACHING AND LEARNING | Adrian NĂZNEAN
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: Online education is of various types and can be defined in numerous ways. Over the last few decades, online education has gained popularity, but has also been regarded with reluctance and scepticism as to the benefits it may have. The COVID- 19 pandemic was declared on the 11th of March 2020 and forced many countries to impose lockdowns and restrictions. As such, several activities were shut down, schools and universities were closed, thus, the need for rapid solutions arose. Since the online environment was there for the taking, physical classrooms were virtualised overnight, homes became learning and teaching spaces for students and educators, whereas the latter were faced with adapting content and transferring it in order to suit its delivery via online platforms. With little to no experience in online education, educators sought to find ways to continue their work bringing emergency modifications. Although digital transformation is not a new phenomenon, the transit from physical classrooms to online ones has been and still is a rough learning curve for many educators. Apart from optimising digital technology to apply to education, another difficult task of any online teacher is to keep students motivated and involved, which can be achieved in different ways. This article discusses methods of content and course delivery, the technology-induced problems that online teaching implies, assessment, ethical behaviour in a virtual setting, and the risk of cheating in online examinations, as well as ways of preventing cheating. Nevertheless, the abrupt onlinification of education may lie at the basis of future exploration and research.

Keywords: Assessment, content delivery, online learning, online teaching, student motivation

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


“DISTANCED” TIMES: INVESTIGATING PRE-SERVICE MUSIC TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCES ON ONLINE TEACHING AND LEARNING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC | Miruna Luana MIULESCU, Florentina – Lavinia MATEI
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: The technology use is flourishing in a growing set of educational contexts. Music education is no exception, seeing more and more learning practices be actively incorporated into educational frameworks. Our study seeks to investigate the online teaching and learning experiences of music university students who are participating in the pre-service teacher education during the Covid-19 pandemic. The participants of the present study are pre-service music students (n=22) enrolled in the teaching education programme in their 2nd or 3rd year at the university. By making use of a phenomenological qualitative inquiry, data was collected through participating at semi-structured interviews via ZOOM videotelephony software in January and February 2021. The key findings indicate a neither overtly positive or negative teaching and learning experience, even if the students had to navigate an avalanche of offline learning technology requirements both as students and teachers in a limited amount of time. The results of the study indicate that teacher training programmes should consider the move to virtual teaching and learning as an opportunity for change and to go beyond the emergency online practices and develop quality online educational activities.

Keywords: Covid-19, music education, pre-service teacher, teacher education, technology

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


STUDY ON TEACHING WITHIN THE CURRENT PANDEMIC CONTEXT | Monica MORARU, Anda MIRON
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the educational process has undergone significant transformations. Teachers, students, lessons, additional materials, homework, school guidance and discussions displayed new ways of expression, while applications commonly used for communication became working tools. Specialists in the field of education were encouraged to identify the most appropriate scenarios for the specifics of the school and the local context, so that the training and development of students’ competences be continuous, both in accordance with specific school curricula and new ways of organizing the teaching process. The debates about the digitization of education are accentuated by the major structural problems that the Romanian educational system is facing. In many rural schools, especially, the digitization remains a difficult goal to achieve. As the Ministry of Education has recently acknowledged, more than 250,000 students today do not have access to the infrastructure needed for education during the pandemic. Without proactive measures to balance the situation, education during the pandemic is currently discriminating, instead of being an integrative solution. The present study offers a model for conducting online education in a rural school: Secondary School no. 1 in Valu lui Traian, Constanþa County. Through this, we want to show the benefits of online education, but also its limits determined, especially, by the absence of collaboration and direct communication between teachers, students and parents in a space suitable for the educational process: namely the school and the class of students.

Keywords: Digitization, online education, pandemic, teaching activity

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


READING SCREENS AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING: ONLINE LEARNING BY MAKING GOOD USE OF THE PISA RESOURCES | Angelica MIHĂILESCU, Ligia SARIVAN
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: The paper highlights the results of PISA in reading literacy as well as the new computer-based released items published by OECD. Screen reading allows – and challenges for – rapid access towards several texts. In order to get informed and mainly for quality learning it is crucial to identify the source and its quality. In this context, the research question that our study refers to is the following: How do we prepare students to deepen the multiple text and to identify credible information? Our investigation targets a group of 95 students in grades 8 and 9 from four schools located in two big cities, one of them being a technological high school. The students went through one of the reading units in the anthology published by PISA OECD (Galapagos) which requires reading several texts, from different sources, viewed on the screen, in order to answer comprehension questions which focus processes of different complexity. Depending on the difficulties of the students and the problems they have with various issues related to the credibility of the sources, the article indicates solutions to improve learning by the innovation of reading practices in the class. The conclusion of the article shows the need for change in the selection and approach of information texts in order to prepare young people for in-depth reading in a world where learning and documentation take place mainly through the screen.

Keywords: Multiple text, PISA, reading for comprehension, sources credibility

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


ENGLISH FOR THE COMMUNITY – DESCRIEREA PROIECTULUI | Nadina Carmen NICOLICI
Full article | Abstract&Keywords

Abstract: This article is the general presentation of the project “English for the Community” set up by British Council Romania in partnership with the Romanian American Foundation (RAF), and which has as target group about 150 teachers of English as a foreign language in nine counties in Romania, who teach in schools located in villages or small towns. The first stage of the project took place from 2018 to 2020, and a second stage began in March 2021, and it will last until 2023. There are presented details related to the general aim of the project: to provide professional development for the Romanian EFL teachers who teach in lower and upper secondary schools located in areas which have potential to develop ecotourism. The article includes information about the way in which the project has been organized from the beginning up to now, the areas where it takes place, how it has been developing, which steps have been taken, and the impact it has not only on the members of the target group, but on the whole community as well. A special focus is on Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs), an innovative method for Romania, in the benefit of the teachers directly involved in the project. All these are further illustrated by testimonials provided by the members of the target group, the trainers, and the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the program.

Keywords: Ecotourism, local community, professional development, teacher activity groups (tags), teachers of English

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


REVIEWS

SPERANŢA FARCA, LEACURI PENTRU FRICA DE NECUNOSCUT (REMEDIES FOR FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN). Bucureşti, Editura Universitară, 2020, 269 pages, ISBN 978-606-28-1168-6 | Andreea-Diana SCODA
Full review


FULL ISSUE