|The Homepage Image of the New I-Campus (https://icampus.skku.edu)|
Last semester our university unveiled the upgraded version of i-Campus, the new online lecture program. The new version of i-Campus showed improvements in the overall quality of lectures to enhance the general academic achievements of students taking online lectures. Nevertheless, there are still quite a lot of complaints regarding the quality of the new system. In this article, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) is willing to figure out the status quo of the new i-Campus, some merits and demerits of the online lectures, and lastly, about some solutions to improve the new i-Campus.
Our school’s online lecture program website is called i-Campus. Thanks to the release of the system, students were able to take more diverse courses anytime, anywhere. The upgraded version of i-Campus was launched last semester initially as a test operation. The system was adopted for some of the lectures to test its functions and capabilities. From this semester, the new system was adopted for all lectures.
What is the New i-Campus?
The new system has several improvements in the aspect of the quality of the online lectures. The previous system presented online lectures with only one screen, and without any division of the screen. The new i-Campus, however, provides online lectures with divided screens; one section as a blackboard where professors can write notes, one section that shows the presentation slides, and one section for reference paper that professors also use. Also, on the new i-Campus, students can only receive their attendance credit when they take the lecture for more than 95% of the whole lecture time. These qualitative improvements allowed students to pay more attention while taking the online lectures and therefore increased their academic achievements. The total number of online lectures, including major courses and liberal arts provided every semester, is approximately sixty. The number of major courses that are provided as online lectures is different from major to major. This semester, the School of Business Administration offers 13, three for Economics, two for Systems Management Engineering, but most majors under the School of Art and the College of Medicine do not provide any online lectures.
Merits and Demerits of Online Lectures
- Efficient Time Management
The most significant advantage of online lectures is that students can manage their time more efficiently. As students can take online lectures anytime within the designated period, they can utilize their time much more efficiently when compared to offline lectures. There are quite a lot of students who prepare for their job hunting or internship programs and take classes at the same time. For these students, online lectures are very helpful as students do not need to come to the campus and take the class at a fixed time. Furthermore, for students who live in a distant region, online lectures can dramatically save their long commutes. They can register for one or two online lectures every semester and take a day off every week. Students can use their day off with more productive activities such as a study on certification tests or internship program preparation. One senior student majoring in Economics said, “I live near Samseong Station, and as it takes more than one hour to arrive at the campus from my house, online lectures became indispensable every semester. I can study harder on my certification tests as I could save time on the long commute.”
|Students Taking Online Lectures in the Library (https://www.mk.co.kr/news/society/view)|
- Repeatable Online Lectures
Another strength of the online course is that students can repeatedly take the courses. Some classes, such as major courses, are difficult to comprehend at once. Therefore, in some offline classes, some students record the voice of the professor for the whole lecture. Students listen to those recordings repeatedly to understand the class materials and to prepare for their exams. As online lectures are provided as permanent materials for the whole semester on the new i-Campus, students can replay the part they did not understand clearly.
- Relatively Greater Capacity than Offline Lectures
Last but not least, online lectures can afford a greater number of students than offline classes. In the case of offline classes, the maximum number of attendees is about 80 to 90 students. In order to accommodate 80 to 90 students in one offline class, the largest lecture room in the Teogye Hall of Humanities on the Humanities and Social Science Campus needs to be fully packed with students. Students must sit right next to each other without any empty seats. Nonetheless, because of the limitation of the size of the lecture room, some students cannot enroll in the class that they wanted to take. On the other hand, online lectures can afford a greater number of students as online classes do not need physical lecture rooms.
- Class Without Questioning and Discussion
One of the chronic problems of online lectures is that they cannot allow students to throw questions about lessons or allow students and professors to discuss class materials during class time. The time for students to freely ask questions to professors during the lecture is as essential as regular classes. Students can learn something that is beyond the regular syllabus through questions, and they can acknowledge different thoughts through discussion. However, the online lecture cannot provide a platform for students to ask questions or share opinions with other students. As students can only take online lectures privately with their laptops or tablet personal computers, there could not be a questioning platform to be organized. If the college class does not include any questioning during the class, it will become a big obstacle to both students and professors to take one step further. If professors cannot receive any questions from students, they cannot earn motivations to improve their teaching methodology or to update the teaching materials.
- The Lack of Methods of Communication
Compared to offline classes, online classes have far fewer kinds of methods to communicate with professors. Therefore, sometimes it takes a substantially longer time to get answers regarding private inquiries such as assignments, attendance, or class curriculums. In the case of offline courses, students can easily ask their individual inquiries before or after the class or during the break time between long lectures. On the other hand, in the case of online lectures, the methods to deliver private messages to professors are via i-Campus note box or e-mails of professors or teaching assistants. The methods listed above take quite a long time to get a reply from. Even though most professors pay attention and keep in touch with their students, there are still some online classes that sincerely need improvement in the aspect of communication with students.
- Low Academic Achievement Due to One Way and Cramming Education
It is hard for professors to figure out the academic level of students or how much they have understood the class materials of online lectures. Therefore, there is a high probability for professors to set exam questions that are way too difficult for students or move the course along too quickly. In the case of offline classes, professors can communicate with students face-to-face, and thus, they can easily recognize whether students are following the course or not. With the online lectures, however, these kinds of interactions are challenging. Without professors’ correct perception regarding the level of students and the degree of their understanding, they can move on with the lectures too quickly or teach too difficult materials for students, and this can cause students to lose their interest in the lectures.
|The Limitation of the One-way Teaching of the Online Lectures (https://icampus.skku.edu)|
Solutions for Improving the New i-Campus Online Lectures
- From the Aspect of the School Authorities
Adding a question box at the end of every online lecture where students can freely write down their questions could resolve the problem of a lack of platforms to ask questions on. Students can raise their ability to question, and this can improve the overall academic ability of students. Also, when the note box on the new i-Campus is connected to the professor’s email or mobile phone, the professor can receive an instant alarm w
hen there are any notes or messages from students. In this way, communication between students and professors will be enhanced smoothly and speedily.
- From the Aspect of Professors
As online lectures cannot provide face-to-face communication between students and professors, professors are required to put more effort into covering up these limitations. Professors need to upload assignments or quizzes every week to check whether students are following the course or not. Through quizzes or assignments handed every week, professors should analyze parts that students are not yet familiar with. With this data, professors can upload some references to make students understand better about the class materials. Furthermore, to overcome the difficulty of communication via email or note box, professors should pay more attention to reply quicker, this can be a remedy for online lectures with communication limitations.
- From the Aspect of Students
Students need the right attitude to utilize online lectures properly. Instead of relying only on online lectures, students must look up information in reference books and self-study, or they need to have a passion for visiting the professors’ offices and asking questions. Only when students have enthusiastic attitudes, can they gain more knowledge and wisdom from the online lectures.
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