Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia

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Go Online for Effective Learning

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of education. Consequently, technology has been illuminating the way for large-scale online learning worldwide. Although the pandemic has not been what anyone could have predicted, “Innovative thinking and collaborative working groups have made this a successful endeavour,” said Dr Michaela Louise Goodson, Dean of Research at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed). 

NUMed has begun organising and executing various approaches to ensure that teaching during these trying times is not disrupted. “ReCaps (video recordings made using a software called Panopto), online tutorials, discussion boards, online seminars, webinars and quizzes are being utilised,” she highlighted.

The sudden shift in teaching delivery did not dampen the educators’ spirits, despite the increasing workload for class preparation. “Organising timetables were also crucial so they do not unintentionally collide with live teaching sessions on other modules,” explained Dr Bhavani Veasuvalingam, Research Associate at NUMed. The allocation of duties and roles are also communicated clearly to all staff members to facilitate a smoother transition.

Even as lecturers and students become more comfortable with learning aided by technology, competent support from IT staff members smoothen out the process even further, said Dr Goodson. In addition, webpages were set up to support colleagues to work from home. “A remote and home working toolkit for staff and students with specific guidance regarding remote working was provided. The Learning Teaching Development Service (LTDS) developed some good pages to support colleagues transitioning to online teaching,” she added.

With teaching delivery migrating online, NUMed is committed to ensuring that the quality of its medical education is not just preserved but also enhanced. According to Dr Bhavani, formative assessments for learning are implemented via quizzes and NUMed Blackboard, which is a built-in discussion board used for asynchronous discussions, and library resources are promoted to support online teaching and learning.

The collective support of all staff members, including the administrative staff, and students has made the conversion process to online learning a successful endeavour. “As NUMed embraces online technology to keep its education going, understanding priorities and mindful planning are important keys to successful learning,” concluded Dr Goodson.

Self-directed learning through videos, recordings, online discussion activities and engaging quiz sessions are keeping NUMed students on top of their studies.

While the NUMed campus might be quieter than usual during this time, its online learning platform is bustling with activities to ensure the quality of its medical education is maintained.

published on: 3 August 2020