Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia

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Technology Used in Classrooms Today

New technologies like interactive whiteboards, e-books, and virtual meeting platforms are being adopted by universities around the world; but do they really empower students to learn better or are they simply a substitute for blackboards and paper? While traditional lectures continue to be an integral part of the student experience, innovative technologies, when utilised optimally, can provide students with experiences and opportunities that were not possible before. 

The battle against the Covid-19 pandemic has been catalysing the use of technology in the classroom. While Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) moved to completely online learning in April, following the implementation of the Movement Control Order in the country, virtual learning platforms are not new to NUMed students. The campus is equipped with advanced learning technologies to facilitate their learning journey. Among others, all learning spaces – from theatres and teaching rooms to laboratories – are equipped with video capture systems that record key teaching episodes, which students can access for reviewing later. The system also helps support assessment in laboratory and clinical skills.

The best system

While rapid technological advancement provides many options, the best system is the one that students will actually use.

The University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) system is hugely popular among NUMed students.The system allows lecturers to pre-record sessions at their own pace and time, and upload or share via a link in the VLE. On the other hand, NUMed's lecture halls are equipped with a video capture system that automatically records  the timetabled large group teachings assigned to a particular hall. Once the recordings are uploaded into the VLE by a staff member, students can have access the sessions to help with their revisions. 

Education across the continents

NUMed students also have opportunities to join live classes happening 6,500 miles away at the UK campus, where they can contribute to the discussions or ask the speakers questions directly. This lets them communicate with the world beyond the classroom and gain a global perspective on the topics they are learning about. Watching a live dissection from an expert in the UK campus, for instance, had been a great learning experience that NUMed's medical students appreciated.

The engaging learning experience at NUMed has led students to present themselves better as well. Last year, NUMed alumni Khaw Jia Yee and Goh Wei Pin emerged as the first prize winners for the Best e-Poster Presentation at the 11th Medical Undergraduates Annual Scientific Research Meeting (MUASRM).

How lecturers are using technology

Lecturers are able to offer a myriad of resources and presentation styles for their lectures, taking into consideration the different learning needs of students. Whether online multimedia content, videos and high resolution photographs or traditional printed materials, the varied resources are able to optimise student engagement and allow them to absorb the information more effectively using all their senses.

E-resources comprising databases, e-journals, and e-books enable lecturers to access materials easily for their classes. From Malaysia’s Medical Journal and Asia’s Medical Journal to the British National Formulary (a UK pharmaceutical reference book that contains a wide spectrum of information and advice on prescribing and pharmacology) the resources available for lecturers and students alike are wide-ranging and comprehensive.

published on: 23 June 2020