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Participation of undergraduate and Master’s students at the UCA EiTIC: Facilitators and barriers

Participation of undergraduate and Master’s students at the UCA EiTIC: Facilitators and barriers

03.05.2021

 

The Innovation and Teaching Quality Team at the UCA EiTIC has conducted a study on participation in class among undergraduate and Master’s students at our school in order to:

  • Know how many students have the equipment and an environment appropriate to attend distance classes,
  • Know how and to what extent participation and interaction among undergraduate and Master’s Engineering students have changed comparatively in on-site and online environments, and
  • Identify what elements act as facilitators and which ones as barriers to participation and interaction among undergraduate and Master’s students.

To obtain these data, an online instrument was designed and applied, and the number of responses obtained was 147 from undergraduates and 42 from Master’s students.

The most relevant conclusions were:

  • In terms of participation and interaction, undergraduates were more affected than Master’s students; specifically, 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-year, and male students, who reported more significant changes in participation than women.
  • Regarding camera activation, Master’s students do not seem to feel self-conscious in front of this item nor the fact that lessons are recorded.
  • Master’s students show a neutral approach towards oral and written participation.
  • Regardless of years, undergraduates prefer not to activate their cameras. This preference is more frequent among women. Students from all years prefer to use the chat as a means of participation, which men tend to prefer particularly.
  • Oral interventions have little sympathy for 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-year students, and a little more among 4th-year students. Regarding gender, most undergraduates, both male and female students gave the worst rate to their affinity for this kind of intervention.
  • Organization in small groups was very welcomed as a facilitator for participation among 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd--year students, and a little less so among 4th-year students. Regarding gender, male undergraduates rated the role of small groups as facilitators with the highest score, while women students rated it slightly less (mode values of 4/4 and 3/4, respectively).
  • Considering the elements that act as facilitators for or barriers to participation according to the descriptive analysis of qualitative data, it was found that:
    • Organization in small groups is the best facilitator for participation, both among undergraduates and Master’s students. The second best-rated facilitators were interactive sessions (involving the students) and a kind, non-judgmental attitude on the part of teachers.
    • The difficulty to interact online or distractions derived from attending classes at home are two major barriers to participation according to both undergraduate and Master’s students. It should also be noted that undergraduates are particularly critical of the online format, which is mentioned explicitly as a barrier to participation.

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