KUALA LUMPUR, 26 March 2020:
Schools and universities closed? It should not be an excuse to stop studying during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period as teaching and learning can still take place outside the regular classroom or lecture hall.
For Syazana Mohamad Isa, 31, a teacher at Sri Ara International and Private School learning through virtual reality is the only safe measure in the current situation although it may seem a bit challenging at first, compared with the old or conventional way.
However, the Science, Biology and Chemistry teacher said the “e-learning” initiative, which had been introduced gradually by the school since last year, had so far went well with positive response received from students and parents.
“At first some parents find it a bit difficult but they have since managed to get used to the application and website.
“They even look forward to new assignments for their children…for bigger kids (upper secondary), the students may not find it difficult but for lower secondary students who are used to classroom learning, it can be quite challenging.”
Syazana said through “e-learning”, teachers could upload learning content as well as homework on a daily basis and students could consult on questions and queries with their teachers online.
“We try different mediums to communicate and interact and found that the easiest is Google G Suite which includes Google Classroom, Hangouts and Group.
“Students can just sign in to the Google Classroom by using the email provided and download their homework before sending it back either online or by using their exercise book according to the teacher’s instructions.”
Meanwhile, most universities around the country have also issued a special circular for lecture sessions to be conducted online to minimise direct contact among students. This includes Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
UiTM Faculty of Film, Theatre and Animation deputy dean (Research and Industry Network), Associate Professor Dr Mohd Syuhaidi Abu Bakar, all lecturers were required to prepare their teaching and learning materials before classes begin on April 13 .
He said various applications could be used for the purpose including Google Hangouts Meet and Google Zoom for teaching, Kahoot for quizzes, Google Forms for recording attendance, DropBox for submitting assignments and Google Docs for assignment assessment.
“I teach two subjects – Electronic Media Writing and Popular Writing. Electronic Media Writing is already on the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform so for that subject I am all prepared but the Popular Writing subject is new to me so I’m planning to use applications such as Google Meet.
“For online lecture, poor connection can be an issue as we want to make sure everyone is online for video conferencing and at the same time we have to follow the timetable.”
However, he said not all subjects could be taught online especially those that require practical training, such as the dance subject, adding that lecturers should think of the best method to facilitate online teaching and learning session.
Meanwhile, Farizalina Ishak, 40, shared the joy of her son Muhammad Aqil Raziq, 11, who took part in his first teaching and learning session via video calls.
The part-time writer said, her son, a student of a private school in Ampang near here started his online class by learning the Quran subject.
“This is a new experience for Aqil. At first he was a bit clueless but his uztaz (teacher) guided him. When he finally understood, he became excited.
“Children in primary school have no qualms using technology. Technology should be used for something more rewarding than merely for ‘chatting’ like learning the Quran.”