Completing an assignment, making the move to start studying for a mid session exam or preparing for your next class is usually a challenge. UOW is known by their students and staff members for their Wi-Fi. Despite changing the Internet numerous times, it is still almost impossible to access the internet via the UOW internet system. Being a Uni student, I know the stress of planning out your semester, perfect to match your part-time working roster and other social commitments, only to log on to tutorial enrolments and your Wi-Fi drop out. Now, I am not even going to begin to explain the anxiety one endures when this happens, because I am sure some of you already know.
As a University student, I have noticed how the Internet specifically caters for educational purposes. Looking back at how teachers despised technology in the classroom, such as mobile phones. Most Teachers also refused to use the latest invention, which at the time were smart boards. Now, online learning is almost the most favourable source of teaching. Lectures are now posted online for University students to watch at their beck and call, subject outlines only to be accessed online and emails are the way to communicate. According to Muniandy, the Internet has grown exponentially over the years and has emerged as the foremost source of past and present information. The Internet is not only ‘an online classroom’; so to speak, it is much similar to a library. The Internet is virtually timeless and allows students to access journal articles, books and information from across the globe! Studying or researching journal article in bed instead of getting dressed and heading to the library sounds so convenient. For me, there is Internet access at home, and home isn’t too far from the Uni. Also owning a laptop makes accessing Wi-Fi relatively easy…If it doesn’t ‘drop out’. However accessing the Internet may cause stress for some, due to a number of factors. This may be the cost of Wi-Fi, or accessing Wi-Fi with a fast enough pace that doesn’t make studying too time consuming.
“How does accessing Wi-Fi impact a student’s ability to study at UOW?”
In my research I not only want to expand my knowledge on the benefits of Wi-Fi, but to explore the implications of online learning. In the study “Academic Use of Internet among Undergraduate Students: A Preliminary Case Study in a Malaysian University” by Balakrishnan Muniandy, the primary focus is how the Internet is used and whether the students benefit from Online learning. Muniandy provides quantitative data based on method of Internet usage. He explores the quality of learning through technology and how people use it. This reading will be a main focus to guide me through the Research Project as it clearly relates to my topic, and allows me to expand my research further. Therefore, I plan to delve into the implications of accessing the Internet at UOW in particular. Aiming to find out where UOW students access Internet and to explore how accessing Internet impacts the student’s ability to study. Due to my past experience with UOW Wi-Fi and my own, I am intrigued to find out how the student’s study if Internet isn’t available at the time they plan to study. What are their experiences with UOW Wi-Fi? Is it reliable/ or not?How often they find that the service drops out? Do they have to travel to access Wi-Fi, switch servers constantly, go to an Internet Café, go home (if they have access), search the library for books (if they know how), or do they simply give up (because that is an easier option)? It would be interesting to explore the background information on how and why ‘freedom@UOW’ was a failed attempt at bringing a strong WiFi signal to the whole campus, and what makes this years change to ‘UOW’ better and different.
These questions lead me to a myriad of other questions that I will conduct through 2 methods. Over the next semester I will conduct 50-100 (confidential) primary surveys, used to obtain quantitative data based on their Age, Gender, where they live and how much they use the Internet to learn. The surveys will also aim to obtain qualitative data based on how the students access Internet, how far they have to travel and of course, the implications that come along with it.
For some online learning is all they know and sourcing information from the library is daunting. However, others find it difficult to navigate through websites and obtain reliable sources to reference for Uni purposes. By conducting 10-20 ‘case studies’ I aim to achieve in-depth quantitative data based on how students achieve high marks and if their marks could improve if the Wi-Fi was more reliable. By doing a case study I will also hope to achieve a clear and in depth understanding of each students experience with Online learning at UOW. Once the two methodologies are completed I will collate my data and reflect on the factors, which may impact their ability to access Wi-Fi. These factors may be as simple as the age of the student or where they are living.
Due to my experience with UOW Wi-Fi, it is important to remain unbiased in my research. It is also necessary to structure my questions ethically and collate my data with integrity. University is usually a fun and enjoyable place to be. I mean, socialising in the minimal time we have is usually doable. However accessing Wi-Fi through Monday-Friday is at times frustrating. And accessing a computer in a University full of thousands of students is almost impossible. In my research I hope to achieve evidence of stress and a pattern of declined motivation to study, due to one’s inability to access reliable Wi-Fi. If my theory is wrong, I will be glad to come across students who do not experience any implications of online learning at UOW.
Muniandy, B, 2010, ‘Academic Use of Internet among Undergraduate Students: A Preliminary Case Study in an Malaysian University’, International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, Vol. 3, No. 2 , pp. 171- 178.
Lois Stickley, 2011, Online Teaching, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, viewed 20 March 2016, <http://www.ttuhsc.edu/sacscoc/2015/documents/cs-3-13-C/soahs-dist-ed-pres2.pdf>.