I never thought seriously about online education as I always took it for granted. If they said that I had to study online, I just followed this instruction and learned online. However, fortunately with the help of our mini-project on online education suggested by our instructors of thesis writing I really explored this topic in details.
I really liked this experience and with every step (literature review, methodology) of the assignments I understand more how to apply given practice to my thesis. For my mini-project on online education I chose qualitative approach and one on one semi-structured interview.
Let’s start with the main challenges that I faced. Firstly, it was difficult for me to select appropriate number of participants in order to get more qualitative answers. Later, analyzed some expert works I understood that the main thing is not quantity but real quality of responses. And then I met the next difficulty – which questions do I have to ask? I sketched a lot of variants for my questions about online learning and the quantity of questions was enormous. After I realized that all my questions deviated from the stated purpose of research and established research questions. At this stage I remembered the advice of my supervisor who always tell me to follow the real purpose and research questions. Finally, I was full of questions and theory with posed research questions to investigate the reason of implementing the online education and why not all educators use such kind of learning system.
I had the list of questions and was ready to conduct the pilot interview. I decided that only 1 pilot interview is enough, nevertheless later I understood that it would be better to conduct one more interviews. During the pilot interview I realized that I could not really logically lead my participant to the right questions directed to my research questions. There were a lot of unnecessary information from my participants. Next challenge was adaptation to each participant. It wasn’t easy just asking the same question for each person. I was luck that my participants were my acquaintances from university and different educational institutions and they helped me to adjust to more successful way of interviewing.
The easier work was coding. I analyzed again the Creswell book on educational research and in more details I investigated the chapter on data collection of qualitative study. I found that Creswell (2014) mentioned that there are a lot of special programs for coding the information. Eventually I found wonderful special software for qualitative method data analysis. I was happy because it is very useful for my thesis as well.
Overall, mini-project on online education really helps me with my thesis and I learn a lot from this practice. I’m looking forward to our further assignments that lead us to more productive work on our final work with thesis.
Creswell, J.W. (2014). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4thed.). London, UK: Pearson.