The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students.
The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said.
The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added.
Photo courtesy of THE Union via CNA
The online program drew much criticism from students online, the union said, adding that it undermined students' to education, as well as quality of education.
Clifton Hoyt, assistant professor at the MCU English Language Center (ELC) and president of the union’s MCU branch, said that the best way for the center to improve the English program would be to drastically reduce class sizes so that in-person contact can take priority.
“Replacing that kind of face-to-face interaction is going exactly in the wrong direction,” he added.
About 84.7 percent of the 287 MCU students who participated in a survey conducted by the union from Nov. 14 to Dec. 5 last year said they disagreed that the online English program could help enhance their English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
About 81.5 percent of respondents agreed that it would be more accurate to call the online English program an “online testing system,” rather than an “online course,” the union said.
The results also showed that about 89.9 percent of respondents supported a “change to a digital course where teachers instruct students with technology support,” while the other 10.1 percent of respondents preferred to “keep the current test-based online program.”
The university said that years of experience have shown the center that students in traditional instruction can overlook English oral practice.
The use of customized, online teaching materials can make up for shortcomings in traditional instruction and provide students with the opportunity to learn repeatedly without being limited by time or space, it said, adding that face-to-face instruction was taking place at the center, alongside the online courses.
Additional reporting by CNA
This story has been amended since it was first published.
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