Once I Had an English Class: A Story of a Change from Face-to-Face Instruction to A Distant Web-based One*

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Number of pages: 116-129
Year-Number: 2018-Volume 10, Issue 2

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to explore the transformation process from in-class instruction of English courses to web-based instruction within the context of a school of foreign languages at a medium-scale university in Turkey. In this university, English has been taught online (web-based) in most faculties/schools since the beginning of 2013- 2014 academic year. The present study was designed as a case study, where the case explored was the process of change from in-class to web-based instruction from the lens of instructors and students. Participants of the study were selected through purposive sampling method. Accordingly, fifteen English language instructors who have experienced both ways of instruction (i.e. face-to-face and web-based) during the 2014-2015 academic year spring semester and four students who also experienced both ways of instruction participated to the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data. The data were analyzed using content analysis method. Results showed that the foreign language school staff were not involved in the decision-making process and the change process was perceived as rapid and tough by the instructors. This, in turn, led to a resistance among instructors to change at first. Despite the initial resistance to the change due to the criticisms and concerns, both instructors and students had to adapt to the new online model of instruction. Then the advantages and disadvantages of the web-based instruction were realized in time. The foremost advantage of the web-based instruction was ‘ubiquity’ and ‘ease of class management’. While the most remarkable disadvantage of the web-based instruction was defined as ‘decreased student attendance and lesson participation’ resulting in ‘inadequate attainment of language learning gains.’

Keywords

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to explore the transformation process from in-class instruction of English courses to web-based instruction within the context of a school of foreign languages at a medium-scale university in Turkey. In this university, English has been taught online (web-based) in most faculties/schools since the beginning of 2013- 2014 academic year. The present study was designed as a case study, where the case explored was the process of change from in-class to web-based instruction from the lens of instructors and students. Participants of the study were selected through purposive sampling method. Accordingly, fifteen English language instructors who have experienced both ways of instruction (i.e. face-to-face and web-based) during the 2014-2015 academic year spring semester and four students who also experienced both ways of instruction participated to the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data. The data were analyzed using content analysis method. Results showed that the foreign language school staff were not involved in the decision-making process and the change process was perceived as rapid and tough by the instructors. This, in turn, led to a resistance among instructors to change at first. Despite the initial resistance to the change due to the criticisms and concerns, both instructors and students had to adapt to the new online model of instruction. Then the advantages and disadvantages of the web-based instruction were realized in time. The foremost advantage of the web-based instruction was ‘ubiquity’ and ‘ease of class management’. While the most remarkable disadvantage of the web-based instruction was defined as ‘decreased student attendance and lesson participation’ resulting in ‘inadequate attainment of language learning gains.’

Keywords