Learning Process: Blended Learning and Pandemic

Generalize blended learning is nowadays applied in higher education institutions. Blended learning incorporates both face-to-face learning and non-face to face (technology media use) in teaching and learning activity. In the process of learning, it will not decrease student’s interaction with the other student’s teachers/educators; indeed it will make them more interactive and communicative with each other. However, there are still some obstacles and constraints in implementing blended learning. In UMK, we already applied blended learning by using eCampus as  a medium for blended learning that are easy to access especially to upload lecture notes via file upload, link from internet such as Youtube, or any other methods that already prepared. The medium for assessment is readily accessible in e-Campus which in my opinion, a user-friendly teaching platform. In Faculty of Bioengineering and Technology, 15 subjects already conducted using blended learning with 40 to 60% of the syllabus are using online approaches.

The first problem in conducting blended learning is the lack of interest in modern way of learning courses and gaining knowledge. The e-Campus serves different platforms of information, in particular the online course of each university course taken. In order to make the online course engaging, a lecturer must be innovative and set up a student-centred learning approach. The lack of involvement of learners in online courses is another concern in the conduct of blended learning. It is accepted that the online course is a stage in which students study without the physical presence of any instructors as an entity. Many participants, because of their lack of interest, do not participate very well in this online course. For years, some of them are the last to be seen online since there is no physical lecturer to push them to. It is also very important for the lecturer to vigilantly track the online activities of the students. To promote their willingness, the attendance must be taken online after each participation and using QR code. For each online class, the lecturer must be responsible for allocating a particular time and preparing effective materials for the students.

That’s the story of blended learning before impact of pandemic. Now, we have been going through for 3 semesters in doing fully online learning in higher education. When the pandemic hit our country, we only had 1 month face to face learning process in Semester February 2020 before all the students need to go home. The academic schedule were then changed after the unexpected chaotic conditions that’s we faced. Learning process officially changed to synchronous and asynchronous which gave new environment in teaching and learning process for us as a lecturer and students as a receiver the knowledge. The synchronous is the learning process is occur at the same time of knowledge sharing between lecturers and students meanwhile asynchronous is the learning process is not in real time for an example by using prerecord etc.

How about continuous assessment? Students still need to complete the assessment in order for us to evaluate their input and knowledge. However, the types of assessment changes as the face to face learning process are forbidden. For an example, for some subjects, there’s a lab activities that they need to conduct. Despite on the limitation, we need to have some critical idea either to proceed the lab or change the assessment. However, if there’s a chance that we can proceed the lab, we still manage to have our students doing their lab at home. By then, there will be varied option to evaluate them by not only focusing on doing an assignment on writing based. However, to complete the assessment, the assignment are needed and still compulsory but in variation of ways. There also additional apps that 100% been used nowadays in learning process such as Padlet, Kahoot!, and Chat which 100% used nowadays in teaching and learning process. Google meet, Webex, Microsoft teams are been used as a medium for teaching with the help of other apps for evaluation purposes which is very important in the learning process during pandemic.

Prepared by,

Dr. Norfadhilah Ibrahim