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Distance Education at Corvinus, Part 1: Facilitating individual learning

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

An original KÖZGAZDÁSZ ONLINE post.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the universities in the country have been closed down, but teaching was resumed on the 23rd of March. As the buildings are closed students continued their studies online. The methodology for this was devised during the early spring break. What is distance education like at Corvinus? What can the students expect? This series of articles makes an attempt to answer these questions.

Photo: Zsóka Szép

How does distance learning work? At first it seems like an easy solution just to stay at home and study from there. But on second thought, all educational institutions have a hard task ahead of them, as education has largely been based upon personal presence so far.

The early spring break between 16-22 of March provided the educators and the Management of the University with some time to work out the new methodology in order to maintain quality education despite the extraordinary circumstances. It is important to note that there is not one single good solution, courses have always been different in their subject matter and format, so there is more than one way to do it right in the new system.

At Corvinus there are three main solution paths, from which the educators and the institute heads can pick the most suitable one for the courses they teach. The simplest of the three is facilitating independent individual learning, which entails sending materials to the students for processing, and this way they prepare for testing on their own. The video streaming option is a bit more time-consuming, where the instructors use their own devices to stream video and audio materials and sometimes share their own screen. The third option is creating e-learning courses. Teachers can create new content and materials, and this option requires the largest amount of preparation and teacher involvement.

The first part of our series is about individual distance learning, the background materials were provided courtesy of the Teacher Training and Digital Learning Centre of Corvinus University of Budapest.

During individual distance learning the teacher provides the student with learning tools that enable them to prepare for the tests on their own. This is the easiest solution both methodologically and technologically. The six suggestions below may help you. There are some solutions that are applicable in themselves, but some of them are to be combined with others.

1. Online consultation

Constant feedback is important during individual learning too, so you may want to offer online consultation. The advantage of this is that the teacher-student and student-student interaction is easy to manage. They can have discussions about the material, and it can be tailored to individual needs. The disadvantage is that all the participants have to be available at the same time, and this tool may not be sufficient to cover all the material and may have to be complemented by some other methods.

2. Individual study of literature with self-check

Here, the student processes the literature available on the internet, or made accessible by the teacher, on their own. The learning process is assisted by quizzes and exercises. The advantage of this is that open-ended and creative tasks may be used, and it facilitates a more thorough knowledge of the professional literature. Interaction is possible via e-mail, i.e. participants do not have to be available at the same time. The disadvantage is compromised personal interaction and longer planning of the exercises.

3. Knowledge processing based on independent student observation and research

At such a course, students research and model, and they do these on their own or in collaboration with one another. During the semester the teacher suggests research questions and assists students in the knowledge acquisition process. This way the students gain the necessary knowledge on their own. The advantage is that the students regulate their own activities, which leads to an enhanced level of responsibility for the learning outcomes, and when asked the right and intriguing enough questions, there is a higher level of student motivation. The disadvantage may be that students need to be able to learn independently. The changing the role of a teacher can be a challenge too.

4. PBL: Problem based learning

This is similar to the previous one, but here the instructor creates a problem environment where he or she offers problems and projects to be completed. The problems need to be subject-specific, relevant and interesting for the students. The advantage is that students can work independently and apply knowledge creatively. It also supports systemic thinking. On the other hand, it requires longer planning and, it may cause problems if students haven’t grasped the necessary background theory.

5. Application of online tools

It is also possible to apply various online teaching support solutions, especially in combination with other tools. This may complement online consultation or self-study of literature perfectly, for example. ) This link provides nearly 200 such learning tools. These are user-friendly pages that are interesting for the students, and they can even be used later on as well. However, this is not enough in itself, so you may want to combine it with another one on the list above.

6. Online teamwork, virtual cooperative teamwork, online collaboration

Students, during a joint activity, work together to develop a new “knowledge object”, which can be a web page, a presentation, a digital story, or even a video. The process can be completed online too, and the essential element is the creativity of the students. As is in the case of every teamwork activity, individual assessment may be a problem here, too, as, by looking at the final product, it is hard to determine the contribution level of each team member. For this reason, we suggest breaking the project down into smaller elements so that each student can get a specific task, making their contribution easier to assess.

The next parts of our article series will introduce the methodology of video streaming, together with suggestions, like here. The third part will be about the e-learning tools and further useful materials.

The professional material was compiled by the Teacher Training and Digital Learning Centre , namely Éva Bodnár, Olga Csillik, Magdolna Daruka, Judit Sass, Lídia Fekete Vinczéné, Krisztián Pálvölgyi, Zsolt Orbán and Péter Balkányi.

Photos: Shutterstock

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