COVID-19 Challenge: The Responsibility of University’s Lecturers and Students

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January 24, 2020 marks the start of this episode in Malaysia with the first three cases confirmed. Now, we are all facing the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) until April 14, 2020. The question is, how will the University survive this challenging season? Are lecturers and students facing different learning challenges?

The students as a whole can still be shocked. They did not expect that the “leave” this time was unusually long. Lecturers are also less challenging, having to adapt to the work-from-home mode. Because the trust in implementing learning and teaching (PdP) needs to continue. But how? Obviously, PdP online is one of the options.

PdP online is the antithesis of face-to-face meetings. PdP online is no stranger to University. What’s more, the philosophy of cybergogy is so close to today’s generation apart from heutagogy and paragogy. Dealing with this kind of learning style change is not easy. Students must notify their faculty of Internet access. This is important to ensure that lecturers are not at risk in implementing online PdP. In the meantime, with limited movement, students should make full use of online resources, such as electronic books, You Tube and even scientific calculators. Considering the challenge of whether students are still on campus or at home, they must be more disciplined, understandably, did not have to study in the college, but just sit at the computer or with a cell phone to study.

Realizing the challenges of the online PdP, lecturers must also change the way they work. Lecturers must be aware of the socio-economic background of their students and their level of learning ability. Lecturers can no longer sit comfortably in the traditional way. Technology needs to be a loyal partner as a tool for the PdP process. PdP online is categorized as synchronous and non-synchronous learning. These differences must be understood so that lecturers can apply them inclusively to all groups of students wherever they are.

Synchronous learning is an online PdP that takes place simultaneously with two or more parties in real time, such as video conferencing and live chat. This concept requires excellent facilitation between lecturers and students and access to it and involves high cost.

While the online PdP is out of sync, it is a session that is conducted concurrently and student-centered using limited online resources. It is designed to facilitate real-time constraints, facilities and the presence of lecturers and students. These methods include saved video, article reading, discussion posts and note-sharing.

Therefore, towards maximizing the concept of digital lectures, one of the considerations is:

  1. Lecturers should not transfer entire slides to a video without their voice and face immediately. Rationally, the efficiency of PdP is still influenced by the sound and facial elements.
  2. To foster interaction between students and lecturers, both parties must be able to see each other.
  3. Do not force technology with all PdPs to be done online in sync. Humans and technology have their limits!
  4. Online PdP must be student-centered. Students need to be more active and self-reliant.
  5. Students need to create a group study group to enable discussion and assistance with each other.
  6. Lecturers should identify groups of students who are likely to fall behind on learning and technology constraints.

In conclusion, as we face new challenges in learning and work, our lecturers and students need to change their mindset. Lecturers must be more creative and innovative in order for PdP tasks to work properly. Students, of course, have to work hard on the online PdP challenge. COVID-19 is not a reason we keep complaining!

By: Profesor Madya Dr Afandi Bin Ahmad

Timbalan Naib Canselor (Hal Ehwal Pelajar & Alumni) UTHM


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