Technological Or Face-To-Face Communication: Research Project Supervision

Presenting your undergraduate research project for vetting is usually a signal to the completion of your research project writing; however most student are having difficulties in reaching out to their project supervisors. Institutions are trying to see if the use of technological communication can be used to replace face-to-face communication between supervisors and students; especially the students whose project supervisor is not always on seat or out of the state or country of residence.

TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNICATION

One of Information Communication Technology based learning and teaching’s basic characteristics are the possibility for students to access the contents and materials all the time from everywhere. In order to participate research project, it just is necessary to have only a computer connected to the Internet. Various students who live in secluded and far places may participate in project supervision if the supervisor is far from the student and also willing to help. Some of the technological communication tools used by project supervisors are:

Skype: Skype is a proprietary voice-over-Internet Protocol service and software application. The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones are charged via a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including file transfer, and videoconferencing. Skype has 663 million registered users as of September 2011. The network is operated by Microsoft. Voice-Over-Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks like the Internet. VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol (IP). VoIP calls can be made on the Internet using a VoIP service provider and standard computer audio systems. Skype is one of the early technological communications used to communicate with one another. Final Year students can communicate their choice of undergraduate research project topics with their supervisors. After getting approval from his/her supervisor; he or she can go ahead with writing of the project. The importance of tools like skype is that you can present your research work to your audience because it has enhancement for video communication.

Zoom: Another tool for video conferencing between supervisor and his/her student is the Zoom app. Zoom offers the ability to communicate in real time with geographically dispersed individuals via computer, tablet, or mobile device. However, unlike many other VoIP technologies, Zoom possesses a number of additional advantages that enhance its potential research utility. A key advantage of Zoom is its ability to securely record and store sessions without recourse to third-party software. This feature is particularly important in research where the protection of highly sensitive data is required. Other important security features include user-specific authentication, real-time encryption of meetings, and the ability to backup recordings to online remote server networks (“the cloud”) or local drives, which can then be shared securely for the purpose of collaboration. The possibility that VoIP technologies like Zoom can improve researchers’ and participants’ experiences of qualitative data collection is yet to be validated. The merits and shortcomings of VoIP technologies, as well as comparisons with in-person data collection, are typically based on researchers’ subjective assessments of the quality of interview data.

FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION

When a project supervisor is not getting sufficient information or explanation from his/her student concerning his/her research project; he/she might decide to invite the student for a discussion. Here no technology is used; the communication is just between the student and his supervisor. Alternatively, it is often the supervisor who decides to complement the written description of his student research project might decide to praise his student face-to-face..

RESEARCH PROJECT AND SUPERVISION

Research project is a pre-requisite for completing degree courses in higher institutions as in many universities around the world, where students are expected to show knowledge and skills of conducting research using various sources in a specified format including identification of research problems, setting of research objectives and hypothesis, data collection, analysis and interpretation and report writing as well as referencing. This process includes the students and research supervisor who is usually one of the faculty members. The supervisors have the responsibility for providing academic guidance and an enabling environment in which research is seen as creative and exciting activity. The project is yearlong and runs in parallel with the other courses taken by students. All project supervisors are members of academic staff and are generally assigned about 6 undergraduate project students per year. Responsibilities include providing help and guidance with the planning of the project and the experimental aspects, giving students’ encouragement throughout the module and developing their analytical, oral and writing skills. The help provided may also come in the form of courses such as computing, statistics and library information retrieval.

        In the institution, the procedure for starting a research project includes a student identifying the area of concern, visit the lecturer and discuss the topic. The agreed topic has to be registered with the research coordinator; the student and supervisor then work together on the research topic for the proposal to be developed. The conduct of the research project is a learning process that is different from the conventional class room setting and based on more direct relationship and interaction between the supervisor and the supervisees. The relationship between the supervisor and the learner is crucial and could determine the success of the research. Research supervision involves training and development of students undertaking research courses.

TECHNOLOGICAL AND FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION IN RESEARCH PROJECT SUPERVISION

Face-to-face communication is always better than the use of technology like skype and Zoom app for research project supervision; this because the supervisor can clearly discuss what he or she wants without wasting more time. Secondly, the use of technological communication tools are affected by some factors; some of these factors are stuff like poor internet connectivity, lack of fund for buying data and also the ability of some students to be able to use tools like Skype and Zoom app. Lastly the nature of device used in technological communication is another issue for research project supervision. Some students do not have laptops they only have their mobile devices. This made it difficult for effective video-conferencing between him/her and his project supervisor.  

CONCLUSION

In conclusion the face-to-face communication is better off to the use of technological communication from all ramification unless if the supervisor is out of reach or during this period corona virus pandemic. If not the face-to-face kind of communication between the supervisor and his student is way better than the use of technological communication

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