Digital educational platforms emerged as an anticipated technological response to the need for the modernization of higher education. The digitalization of education was promoted at the state level as a strategy and an instrument to improve the quality and competitiveness of education. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the transition from the classroom to online-only, revealing the lack of purposeful online teaching methods, and insufficient digital competence among teachers.
The authors analyzed publications by foreign and Russian researchers to highlight the common problems of higher education digitalization, including datafication, limited capabilities of digital educational platforms, and the changing role of the teachers in e-learning. The article focuses on students’ attitudes towards online education, and their voluntary or unwilling involvement in the digital educational environment, considering synchronous, asynchronous, and blended forms of learning before and during the pandemic.
The achieved results suggest that such factors as the novelty and accessibility of online courses at Western universities initially served as a factor of attraction the students, inviting them to diversify their studies in their own creative way. However, increased stress and workload, various technical problems, tough teachers’ control on the one hand, and poor feedback, on the other, weakened the popularity of the digital educational environment. When asked to compare the pros and cons of online education, most students spoke in favour of maintaining the blended education format, as it allows for reducing the workload and – to some extent – enables the students to take control of their education trajectories.
This work is intended for educators and researchers interested in the challenges caused by integrating digital technologies into traditional forms of education.
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