March 26, 2020, by Lisa Chin

Online teaching – No easy feat but it’s the way forward!

This post is written by Dr Revathy Sankaran, Research and Training Assistant Manager. 

Online teaching

It is the way of the future, but it’s happening now. With the current C0VID-19 outbreak and Restricted Movement Order (RMO) in Malaysia, the University has decided to implement its online teaching environment. In light of this, we successfully conducted our first online teaching course, titled Light Your Fire – Motivational Tool for Researchers on Monday 23 March 2020, aimed at our postgraduate students.

There are many behind-the-scenes activities and work that need to be done before the online teaching can take place. There’s a lot to learn about online teaching. It’s not a matter of teaching your go-to lesson plans in front of a video camera and pressing send. In the beginning, it was a daunting experience when all of a sudden, we are required to move all of our face-to-face courses online, within a short notice. Additionally, most of our courses depend on and require interactions as well as feedback from the students to proceed. Fortunately, with the efficient help of our IT services and well preparation, we managed to come up with solutions in moving forward with online teaching.

Our online teaching was conducted using Microsoft Teams. For the first class on Monday 23 March 2020 we had 26 participants. The session lasted slightly more than 2 hours, and we received positive feedback from the participants. Some of the feedback received is as follows:

It was good & effective platform. Although the discussion between participants was not feasible, but the module convenor was sufficiently engaging!

It was effective and more interactive. It removes the fear in asking questions because no one sees you.

I prefer this form of learning to the classroom. The interaction was great and feedback on point. Well developed learning environment. Thumbs up!

We allocated ample timing for the participants to perform some of the activities and asked each of them to share their responses via the microphone or writing their answers on the meeting chat platform. Participants were actively engaged in all the activities during the session. Some of the problems that we encountered during the session include several participants having problems with their microphones. This was sorted by requesting them to answer on the meeting chat platform. Another problem encountered was loading of the videos on Moodle due to unstable internet connectivity. This problem was solved by requesting the participants to view the videos on their own.

Even though we encountered a few technical glitches along the way, overall, our first online teaching session went on really well and was successfully implemented within the same time frame of a face-to-face session. This experience taught us a very valuable lesson, which is to be able to teach online, you not only have to be proficient with the ups and downs of technology but at the same time the need to inject some form of creativity as you convert a traditional classroom teaching into online teaching.

Here are some tips for students using Microsoft Teams:

  • We recommend you to download the Microsoft Teams application into your desktop/PC rather than using Microsoft Teams web.

  • The videos online are best to be viewed using Google Chrome for better and fast streaming. For those of you who enrolled in the specific Team courses will be able to download the class materials either from the Moodle page or from the Team itself and you are able to watch the recorded class session using the Stream application that is available in the Microsoft Teams.

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Posted in News and EventsPostgraduate lifeResearcher Development