[#EduTECHAsia Webinar Highlights] – Q&A with panellists on education going online now and for the future

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#EduTECH Asia’s Webinar series has been put together to continue sharing with our education community on what is upcoming in EdTech and how schools and universities are continuing with teaching and learning during current challenging times. 


Our 7th webinar which took place on 14th May was put together to discuss on the topic of “Education going online now and for the future”. The webinar focused on how some institutions are preparing their faculty, students and have adapted innovative e-learning platforms in a quick turnaround response to COVID-19. Joining us for the panel discussion were Fung Fun Man, Instructor of Chemistry & Learning Sciences, National University of Singapore, who moderated the panel; and May Wan Lit, Associate Director Learning Systems and Technologies, Singapore Management UniversityRogelio Dela Cruz Jr, Head – Educational Technology Office, De La Salle University – College of St Benilde, PhilippinesNick Hutton, Regional Director, D2L Asia,  who joined us as panellists.

Following our webinar, we sat together with our panellists to get you some more insights on this important topic. These are responses to some of the questions that came in from our attendees during the Q&A session during the panel discussion.

1. What are the best strategies that school administrators could apply in order to attain the sustainability of the teaching and learning process in new normal education?

May Lit: Study the possible solutions and design improvements for processes during the non-peak period. Take decisive actions, have clear and concise instructions for users during the peak period.

Nick Hutton: Keep yourself informed on the various forms of teaching and learning. There are plenty of books, articles in pedagogical periodicals, conferences, and online resources available to help inform you of what works and what doesn’t.

Keep an eye on student performances as that would give a practical perspective of what’s working or not, or even what’s to come. Use of ungraded pre-tests and quizzes can be used to see what learners already know about the content that will be covered enabling teachers and lecturers to tweak their eventual course delivery. The flexible use of technology aids the teaching and learning process.

2. Will online qualifications get the same accreditation as onsite educational qualifications in time? How can online qualifications be verified credibly in order to be considered on par with onsite qualifications?

May Lit: Institutions can work with the accreditation bodies to arrive at an acceptable model. As long as institutions can prove that they have sufficient controls, regular reviews, effective measurements in place, accreditation bodies are more opened to new delivery models with COVID-19 in the picture.

3. How can we ensure active student engagement and interaction in an online learning?

Fung Fun Man: Plant checkpoints from time to time in an online class. Poll the class.

May Lit: Structure your lesson well and communicate that to you students. When they understand your expectations, they can cooperate better, like what to read beforehand, when to participate in a Quiz/Discussion/Poll, when there are activities in virtual breakout rooms, etc. Award points for interesting input. Facilitate debate on controversial topics. Give examples related to students’ interest (sports, hot topics in social media, pop culture …)

Nick Hutton: Learning online is more than just sitting through lecturers in front of a computer – students can be tasked with group projects, interviews with people in the working field or analysis of data as proof of active learning in the process. That can be coupled with peer assessment so that students can better reflect on their own work and understanding through the articulation of their peer’s work.

4. I am looking at the idea of teaching a course with three demanding roles: content developer, technical support, and instructional facilitator. Do you see the trend of teachers in specific roles forming a team to teach a course in an online environment?

May Lit: Teachers can feel overwhelmed if they are expected to play all 3 roles effectively, but don’t forget that your students can help you with these. Consider a Co-Create model. Teaching Assistants in universities or even your own class students can help with Technical Support and Content Sourcing. Example: Assign 2 tech-savvy students to join the virtual class 15 mins early to help classmates that might have technical issues like audio or need to restart their laptops to refresh machine memory for better virtual class experience. Communicate the concepts/topics you’re teaching beforehand and ask your students to source for interesting examples, Youtube clips that can supplement your Content or submit relevant questions for those areas, so that you can enrich your Question Pool and know what your students care about.

5. With regard to “Emergency Teaching Program”. What kind of training were included and what were the considerations taken? This is especially so for the educators.

May Lit: In our Emergency Preparedness for Teaching and Learning programme (EPTL), we run regular workshops on the supported technology tools, we have pedagogy discussions on good practices, we track the usage of our tools to see if people are practising during peacetime and we have surveys to understand the practice on the ground, in order to gauge the readiness of the community in crisis time. 

6. LMS could limit the navigation of lessons if they cannot be readily used by learners especially if there are certain protocols to observe like passwords, IDs etc. and when these are changed at times, the learners are left high and dry. LMS is just one way but learners should be given more freedom to express their notions in learning via other ways – social media, emails, etc. in addition. Flipped learning could also enhance the process of learning. Still there is a lag now in doing all these due to over-control in various ways by the learning institutions. This can be quite intimidating, what are your views?

May Lit: Most LMS can reset password easily. The team supporting the LMS or the User Accounts and Passwords is very important in a virtual environment. During the crisis period, can consider lifting some complex controls in LMS to facilitate better access (e.g. Conditional Release of Content, IP address controls for Quizzes, etc). While using social media, emails and other external solutions can deliver Contents and Activities quickly, there may be compromise to the measurement and security. Data that goes into these external platform, may not get summarized into a report for you or worse, students’ personal data or sensitive assessment data get leaked to internet.

Nick Hutton: Going past logging in with a password, mirroring the question, there is a good reason why the Brightspace platform has widgets that model after social media platforms and day-to-day digital communication tools. These are interfaces that any student today is familiar with and can adapt to easily. An LMS platform offers a safe secure environment for students to learn – it’s not meant to control students but more so to ensure quality delivery and content is provided to all learners.

7. There are so many programs that require internship/practicum as a mandatory requirement for graduation. However, community lockdowns prohibits industries from operating yet alone take interns. Can you suggest alternatives to internship?

Fung Fun Man: Internship as a service. Does not have to be physical space. Work can be done virtually, we are walking the talk now!

May Lit: Besides being a requirement for graduation, I think the 3 main purposes of internship is 1) to have the opportunity to learn and apply the skills & knowledge in a workplace 2) Learner see if it is a suitable career in the long run and 3) Network and increase ones’s chance to a real job after graduation. Students can still approach industries that can deliver their service virtually (software development & Testing, data analysis, design, research study, etc) or do volunteer work to broaden horizon, reach out to seniors, alumni that have actual work experience to share and observe all the disruptions now and be creative to see if things can be done differently. Write to those companies and suggest a new service.  

8. The attention span of grade school students might be a challenge. What can you recommend to avoid disruptions during online learning?

May Lit: Deliver the content and activities in small chunk. Add humour in lessons. Give encouragement when they struggle and recognition when they do well.

Nick Hutton: Incorporate game-based learning to keep them motivated and engaged. Videos tools – be it as display or as live fact-to-face chats – are also good to use with children to educate and to keep connected. The key with younger students is to keep the activities brief and as mixed media to keep the experience fresh.

If you missed watching the live panel discussion, you can watch it on demand here.

Watch this webinar on-demand now >

Watch this webinar on-demand now >

You may also be interested in the following webinars on-demand:

About EduTECH Asia 2020

At EduTECH Asia, we pride ourselves on bringing together thousands of educators from across Asia to evaluate and plan for the future of learning. In 2020, we’re be going bigger and better than ever before. Spanning across 4 exciting days, the event will feature 2 conferences with 12 theatres of content spanning topics in K-12 Education and Higher Education. Plus, there will be Practical Workshops, EduSHARE Roundtables and more. The event will also feature an exhibition showcasing the latest edtech innovations and technologies. Join us at Asia’s largest education festival!

Book your seat now before the ticket price rises.

See you there!

If you have big ideas and experience in using technology to transform teaching and learning, we want you on our stage at EduTECH Asia  – Asia’s largest education festival! Email preeti.varadarajan@terrapinn.com to discuss speaking opportunities.

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