We must accept and acknowledge the differences between teaching and learning online
I REFER to “Coexisting with Covid-19 — university students in Malaysia” dated March 27, 2020, and “Covid-19 pandemic exposes shortcomings in varsity education” dated March 26, 2020.
Good online classes are about reading, assessing understanding and endless clicks.
With educational institutions around the world transferring their classes online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many academics are confronted with a steep learning curve, especially on effective online pedagogy.
Today, many educational institutions have digitised some of the learning programmes for students, especially at home.
Experience has taught us: Don’t expect too much of everything.
The general misunderstanding, among administrators and educators, is that those in charge of the digital learning unit have big buttons that we can magically press to make things happen online.
We need to be more realistic about how much we can produce in a short time.
Educators need a break from the teaching tasks, if you want good quality: Some to write materials, others to convert to digital content.
We must also accept and acknowledge the differences between teaching and learning online.
Most academics just want the best performance through the combination of PowerPoint software and broadcasting to re-create a lecture. But though their voices and presentations are appealing, it is a waste of time.
PowerPoint slides do not create great visuals, and unless the speaker reads the script, the broadcast administration is often full of doubt, distraction and false beginnings.
And it’s not easy to transfer lectures to digital platforms. Educators should be prepared to rewrite the materials, so that they have a logical and concise flow, making multiple screens eye-catching.
Educators should also provide and incorporate assessments and tests into their presentations.
The best function of digital content as a small series of related learning is to increase the assessment of the knowledge built into each level.
What students want from the materials online is the opportunity to interact.
The more clicks you can make, the more they love it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a question of choice, a chance to drag and get a summary in the right order or just a button to reveal information.
The more templates you can create for your digital content creator to use and customise, the more time you will have and the more integrated the teaching materials will be. But pay attention to accessibility issues.
Watch out for the firewall too. Some students who access your materials may be in an area that prevents coverage.
Therefore, a lesson that revolves around YouTube clips will not be accessible to firewalls that may also impact Google Docs’ embedding.
Remember, too, that not all students have high-speed broadband connections.
If people do write, edit and publish their own materials, the content they produce makes sense to them, but probably not to others.
Giving feedback is a learning event. Providing feedback shows students what they got, but they don’t get a chance to ask why something isn’t right.
We are now on the verge of artificial intelligence and we do not have to expect this. In the real world, programmed responses to responses may be unrealistic.
For students who want the touch/power of educators, we have to offer visual guidance.
And it is another tool to help create ideas for a unified course, rather than the different materials that you may, in fact, have been assigned to pull together.
- Azizi Ahmad Senior educator Kuala Lumpur
- The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.