Spike in Number of In-Class Attendance
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every facet of education all around the world. It has not just caused a move from classrooms to virtual environments, but it has brought along challenges in instruction, delivery and assessment methods, attendance and most importantly, human interactions. After more than a year of campus closing, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences reverted to its hybrid-teaching two weeks ago, permitting students to attend classes physically. However, unlike last year, where physical attendance was thin, lecturers have noticed a spike in the number of in-class attendance and participation.
For one bachelor's class, what started with one or two students out of a total of forty registered students in the first week, has reached eleven in the second week. This was quite a surprise to Fjorentina Muco, the Intercultural Business Communication lecturer. She asked, "What motivates students to come to class now?" She believed that it is the dynamics of the module in combination with the fun class activities that she has lined up for her students. "I think they have had enough of talking to virtual faces on screens. They now want to be the protagonists of the fun activities in class," added Muco.
Great interactive sessions
The same goes for the International Management class, a master's class, attended by Xavier Talla and lectured by Dr Arie Barendregt. Talla, who is from Cameroon, has been attending online classes since he came to the Netherlands on 17th May. He was glad to be in class and finally meet his new friends and lecturer in person. He said that on day 2, eight students turned up, which was a surprise. “It was a great session and good experience with lots of interactions,” commented Talla on the class. When asked why he prefers physical classes, he said, "I prefer physical class because it gives me opportunities for face-to-face interaction with classmates and especially the teachers. We can make use of the coffee/lunch breaks to have more informal conversation or discussions."
Happy with Wittenborg's online materials and 'world class' lecturers
For Talla, the online learning during the pandemic has given him a great opportunity to experience the wealth of online materials provided by Wittenborg. He is also very impressed with the 'world-class' lecturers who have taught him so far. He embraced the fact that these lecturers are not just teachers, but are experienced experts in their own fields. He especially loves the lessons by Dr Gilbert Silvius, an active researcher, writer and experienced project management and information management expert, as well as Dr Arie Barendregt, an active business-to-business sales and marketing expert in Europe and the US. "The lecturers made us imagine ourselves in the shoes of a general manager and then asked us really tough but relevant questions which managers usually face in their day-to-day dealings."
Remote learning may be here to stay, but studies have shown that majority of students and teachers still prefer face-to-face learning environments. After all, humans are social beings and we are hard-wired to connect, socialize and collaborate. It is this social behaviour that has been a significant part of our adaptive nature, allowing us to innovate, create, adapt and do things which we wouldn't be able to do on our own.
by Hanna Abdelwahab