Useful PdPR elements may be retained post-Covid-19

KUCHING: Online teaching and learning (PdPR) will not be retained full-scale post-Covid-19, opines an academician.

Associate Professor Dr Ting Su Hie

“There is a general feeling that it is not as effective as face-to-face teaching and learning,” said Associate Professor Dr Ting Su Hie, who is the head of strategy, Faculty of Language and Community, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

“However, some useful elements may remain. For example, teachers who are used to writing on blackboards or whiteboards may find that PowerPoint slides have their usefulness or the use of Google classroom or other similar platforms for dissemination of materials like notes, exercises and recorded lessons for students to refer as well as to upload their work.”

On the need to help students gain exposure and acquire skills to benefit from PdPR, Assoc Prof Ting noted that it was something that could not be taught formally through a subject.

She pointed out that the effectiveness of PdPR relied on several factors, including the students’ own character traits.

“It is easy for students’ attention to stray during PdPR. Once, I heard the radio DJ talking away because one of my students forgot to mute his or her audio.

“I know of students who can juggle between listening to online classes and playing games.”

Chuah Kee Man

Meanwhile, Chuah Kee Man, a senior lecturer in the same faculty majoring in educational technology, computational linguistics, learning sciences/analytics and instructional design, said a wider approach of blended learning should be adopted.

He noted that the push for blended learning allowed both educators and students to have the best of both worlds.

“I would encourage a wider adoption of blended learning which is often branded as the flipped classroom approach.

“The flipped classroom strategies have been exposed to Malaysian teachers almost a decade ago and it is emphasised in the education blueprint as one of the ways to cultivate the 21st century skills.

“However, the adoption has been slow largely due to connectivity issues as well as infrastructures at schools.

“The reason for the push is that it allows teachers and students the best of both worlds. We cannot leave the online learning part all together after the pandemic since the future is rather unpredictable and another pandemic or disaster could hit us again.

“So, it is best to make blended learning a practice and whenever a situation in which physical classes are not feasible, online learning can still be implemented seamlessly.”

Information and communication technology (ICT) or online learning skills should be embedded within all subjects so that students would learn the skills as they are doing the tasks or activities designed by their teachers.

Chuah said efforts must be intensified to help the students who are left behind in their studies due to the difficulties of joining online teaching and learning during this pandemic.

He also said the efforts should be initiated at the school or institution level since the teachers or lecturers know their students better.

“There is a need to intensify the efforts to increase network coverage and make Internet plans affordable to students. Those who are really in need should be given more support.

“At the school level, a stronger collaboration through Parent-Teacher Association should be fostered as well since sometimes the difficulties may be due to family issues such as not having a conducive learning environment at home or parents who are not aware of online learning requirements rather than technological barriers.”