Home Forums HAQAA Training Space Teaching and Learning against the background of Covid19

  • This topic has 11 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 6 months, 1 week ago by Tharane Thananchayen.
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  • #1903 Reply
    Sarah Lang
    DAAD Staff

    Dear participants,

    on the last day of the training (Friday, 4th December) there will be a session about teaching and learning against the background of Covid19. How has the pandemic changed the way of teaching and learning? After 6 months in this “new normal” what are your experiences? And what does it mean for Quality Assurance?

    Please share with us the experience made at your university. What are 3 main challenges with regard to TL with Covid19?

    We are happy to read your posts and to discuss it on the 4th of December.
    Thank you very much,

    #1906 Reply
    Richard Ouma

    The Covid 19 pandemic has changed the way of teaching and learning at Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) in Uganda. 3 main challenges with regard to TL with Covid19 include: 1.Limited online teaching skills of our staff and students 2. Unreliable Internet connectivity for some of our students in rural areas 3. Lack of an online learning platform to facilitate online teaching and learning.

    The fortunate bit is that before Covid 19, we were working on a Project called Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa (TESCEA) which had/has a pedagogical training component. Already about 50 staff had been trained in online teaching and also as trainers. The university used this pool of the trained staff to scale up the training of other staff. When the universities were closed by government on 18th march 2020, we immediately organised the first internal training for academic staff on teaching online. This was in the month of April 2020. We again organised another massive training for staff (both academic and non academic) in July 2020 which greatly improved on our capacity to offer online programmes.

    The the TESCEA project enabled us to acquire an online learning platform (Moodle). The staff were introduced to this platform as part of the training to enhance asynchronous learning. They were able to upload courses and learning materials on the Moodle LMS with the support of the ICT support team. We also acquired several Zoom accounts to enhance synchronous learning. The university deliberately increased on the finance for the ICT department to improve on the ICT infrastructure and increase on the bandwidth for improved internet access.

    We then did a formal application to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) which is the government education regulatory agency that also permits universities to offer online programmes after the necessary processes and basics are already in place. The NCHE inspection team visited our university to check on our readiness to start online classes. After about 3 weeks, the NCHE declared UMU as the first university that could start offering online courses.

    We then embarked on training of the students in a period of two weeks to give them the basics/general knowledge on online learning with the hope that faculties will continue guiding the students during the actual learning period. At the beginning of October 2020, we started the actual implementation/teaching. There are challenges for both the staff and students but we consider every huddle to be a learning experience. As part of the QA input, we have already developed an Online Student Pedagogical Scenario/Learning Design Evaluation Tool, Peer Teaching Evaluation Tool, and Online Research Supervision Record Tool among others. The biggest challenge is that we have a skeleton ICT team to provide technical support but struggle continues.

    #1993 Reply
    Dalia Taha

    In the Egyptian universities, we faced unprecedent situation regarding pedagogical continuity of learning process that has been shifted from face-to-face approach to the online environment. The main three challenges from my point of view are:
    – Both students and teachers experienced technical difficulties in adapting to the online activities. The process of online teaching and learning was delivered, mostly on an untested basis.

    – Some students does not have enough facilities or access to the technology. Students also faced some difficulties, mostly related to the competences needed to operate the online platforms, different malfunctions of the platforms, and poor internet connection.

    – One of the most important challenges was designing appropriate teaching/ learning and assessment tools for certain skills, such as design skills and other professional skills. However, online education can hardly provide the tools needed for social skills development or problem-solving and leadership skills. Studying at home will limit learning such skills.

    #1996 Reply
    Sylvia Jebet Tuikong

    The teaching and learning process drastically changed in Kenya as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as was the case in many parts of the world. Majority of the higher education institutions teaching and learning experience before the COVID 19 were purely physical classes. Suddenly, institutions of higher education were closed down and yet required to continue with teaching and learning with no plans and strategies in place immediately.

    The move to online teaching and learning was certainly not easy since most of the lecturers and learners had no experience in online teaching and learning, they needed to be trained on this. Many institutions did not have existent and functional learning management systems, the students and some faculty members did not have devices that would support the process, reliable internet was lacking, the examination processes was and still is a huge challenge in that we still cannot guarantee the integrity of examinations in many institutions.

    Luckily for us, we had a learning management system in place but had not been used much for a long time. We rolled this out and the students and faculty were trained on its use. However, a number of students did not manage to continue and upon physical reopening, this group were invited back to campus. The huge challenge has been to get faculty to understand the details of online teaching and learning. Some lecturers have continued to insist on the use of zoom, Microsoft teams and the like as the mode of online learning despite the training on the use of the existing learning management systems. Further, on several occasions the learning management system has malfunctioned plunging us into a crisis as the classes continue. Fortunately, this challenge is quickly fixed and has been more rare with time. Another major challenge was e-learning resources, availability and ease and knowledge of accessing them. With time, the Library department has done a lot of training and new subscriptions and collaborations to beat this challenge. Examination integrity was a challenge initially. This has been addressed through training faculty on proper setting of open book examinations as well as use of case studies which cannot be easily copied. Currently, the University is sourcing and will soon have a software that will enable faculty to invigilate examinations to ascertain the integrity of examinations. This will work better once all students have access to computer devices that have cameras. Before then, this may continue to linger as a challenge.

    Most definitely, these experiences affect the quality of of teaching and learning and puts to question the quality of education being offered if the mitigation measures are not properly thought out and implemented. If examination integrity cannot be guaranteed, then the whole degree awarded is questionable hence the need to properly address examination matters in this pandemic season. If institutions do not have a learning management system, then online teaching and learning is not possible, zoom and teams and all other meeting solutions are insufficient for online teaching. There is need for institutions to invest in functional and reliable learning management systems that have the necessary plug ins to make learning meaningful, relevant and possible. It is important that students in remote areas or who have challenges during the class hours get access to the learning platform at their own pace and time to learn. Institutions must heavily invest in e-libraries and collaborations for ease of access of e-resources so as not to compromise quality through inability to access these vital resources for the learning process. Quality assurance is definitely affected when our understanding of online learning and teaching is different, there is need for harmonization for a common understanding, common standards and at least comparable expectations of processes, infrastructure, equipment, capacity building and all other learning resources in the diverse institutions in order to transition from doing remote teaching and learning to real impactful, vibrant, relevant and actual online learning.

    #2025 Reply
    Penine Uwimbabazi

    The first case of COVID-19 appeared in Rwanda on 14th March 2020, obliging the government to take strong measures including lockdown and closing up schools in order to prevent its spread. Preventive measures, as guided by the ministry of health had to immediately be considered. Different public and private sectors, was encouraged to work from home through the use of technological tools that are available, (for the case of HLIs) to assist students with online teaching. Knowing that the practice of online teaching and learning was not part of the mode of delivery for many HLIs, including my institution (PIASS), a clear gape of IT infrastructure and low internet connectivity was visible especially for students living in rural areas. Through a close monitoring of the involuntary online support to students, I would only share experience on challenges related to teaching and learning and financial aspects related to that.
    Teaching and learning
    Different views from students and lecturers on the use of online teaching and learning during the COVID-19 lockdown period, could be considered adventure; because most HLIs were only accredited to deliver face to face teaching and learning, thus, students were adapted to meet their lecturers only in physical classrooms, except only when there is a need of inquiries related to their assignments, outside classrooms. Therefore the first reaction was how to adopt prepared contents to the online teaching content, and what suitable and accessible means to use especially by students. Different tools were tried. At first it was much easier for students to use whatsApp, meaning that lecturers should also use it to assist them and others tried Zoom and Google class, among others. For the case of my institution, after two month of trying different tools, a Moodle Platform was tried and adopted as the only appropriate platform for teaching and learning. This took a lot of efforts by the university to do an everyday monitoring and a survey which help to understand what student and lecturers are going through as a result of COVID-19 and the online teaching. The most common challenges faced by students are related to insufficient data bundles, Poor or disruptive internet connectivity, lack of proper tools such as computers (for writing and submitting assignments), while some students do not own neither smart phones nor laptops. Although the number of those with no proper gadgets was small, it was an obvious fact that the online teaching and learning during COVID-19 could be judged of presented a kind of inequality based on economic status of rural – urban life, as much as internet connectivity and the related infrastructures could be observed.
    Financial challenges
    Financial challenges are mainly seen as a huge problem. While public university and schools were supported by the government at least through receiving their monthly salaries private university lecturers and school teachers where not, instead most private schools and HLIs had no choice other than terminating contracts of their staff, understandably that after 5 to 7 months of lockdown, there was no more income to support its staff. This meant that, lecturers have to find their own way of supporting their students online, and those who could not afford internet bundles could not supporting students.
    Some of university students are also working students, whom most of them had also lost their jobs due to total closure of the sectors of their income activities, interrupted the outcome of teaching and learning during COVID-19. A detailed short and long effects of Covid-19 on teaching and learning is yet to be recorded, however, one could anticipate a lot not only in terms of economic crises but staffing and students dropout due to different factors. However, it is predicated that within education sector and probably other sectors, the clock will not turn back. Even though universities are reopening slowly, in Rwanda, it recommended that universities start by adopting a blended mode of teaching, yet calling for a conscious learning on the new mode of teaching, changing of mind set, and improving IT infrastructure.

    #2044 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    From Aminata Njie:

    Covid 19 situation in my country –The Gambia.
    In my Country-The Gambia, Covid 19 came as a surprise, when no preparation had been made for its cure, or to mitigate its impact. Today the situation is such that:
    1-Covid 19 has a serious impact on our economy. Income generating sectors have become seriously affected by the pandemic. This includes the airline industry. Travelling has become a major problem during this period. As a result, a lot revenue is being lost by the sector.
    It includes as well the Tourism sector. The Gambia is highly dependent on tourism as it plays an important role in our economy as a major foreign exchange earner and a job provider. Because of Covid 19, Tourists cannot cannot visit The Gambia. Consequently, hotels are mostly closed. This in a way has led to employment in the sector.
    2- Because of Covid 19, our country is going online in every aspect. This is experienced mostly at workplaces, in our schools and in shopping centers. Meetings at workplaces are virtual. Interaction with students in our university is virtual. Most shopping centers are now going online.
    4- Because of Covid 19, there is less movement in the country. Apart from major activities like going to the supermarket for basic necessities (as online shopping is mostly not very effective), the Bank or the Hospital, people stay at home as much as possible to avoid contracting the virus. At a certain point, the normal time for markets to operate was changed. They operated from 6:00 am -2:00 pm. This was a very short period for the population and led to a lot of rush on the side of people. Markets were also closed on Sundays. A curfew had to imposed at one point. This led to a lot of hardship on night workers like restaurants and bar owners.
    5-There is less interaction as well. In my country, social gatherings are very frequent. It is part of our culture to celebrate weddings, naming ceremonies, birthdays and many more of these social events. Because of Covid 19, social gatherings are, if not stopped at all, greatly reduced.
    6) There is a problem with local transportation. Local Transports are not allowed to carry their full loads. They are only required to carry half of their load. This has an impact on the local population as transport fares have to be increased to enable transport owners to regain the total cost of their full loads.

    3 Main Challenges of Covid 19.
    1-A lot of money is being spent on IT. This is because everything is going online.
    2- A lot of resources is being lost in the attempt to mitigate the impact of Covid 19. This resource outflow is not being regained as the country is not generating much income during the period.
    3-Education in my country is seriously affected. Junior and Senior school students go to school three times in the week instead of the normal 5 days of the week. This has an impact on the number of contact hours of these students

    #2046 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    From Habibatou Drammeh:

    Teaching and Learning with Covid19 (The Gambia)

    The emergence of COVID 19 has been a blessing in disguise as it has transformed teaching and learning at the University of The Gambia (UTG). Over the past months, UTG invested heavily in online education, highlighting the importance of technology and the University’s continued interest in fulfilling its mandate as a higher institution of learning. For the first time in history, UTG launched its online education shortly after the Gambian government announced the first state of public emergency due to COVID 19. All aspects of University education – from lecturer training to improved IT infrastructure, partnership with GSM operators, government engagement, and the distribution of Internet Data SIMS to full-time and adjunct staff of the University were accomplished within 21 days. Online learning resources such as Google Classroom and UTG ERP have been used to deliver online lectures.
    Although the continued surge of the virus led to more innovation in online learning, the university faced a lot of challenges some of which are discussed below.
    1. The sudden need to improve the UTG IT Infrastructure. There existed a need for swift improvement of the UTG ERP in order for it to support the learning environment which continued to evolve with the increasing usage of the platform due to the COVID lockdown. There was also the need to scale up the ERP so that it can be hosted on both cloud and on-premises servers with large storage capacity, to enhance file management and also to reduce session’s downtime.

    2. Internet connectivity was a critical component of the success of the UTG e-learning initiative. Therefore, the university had to spend a lot of money that was not budgeted for to maintain and provide reliable and stable Internet connectivity to all its stakeholders (Lecturers and Students) in the delivery of efficient and effective online classes.

    3. The university currently does not have mechanisms to control cheating in examination if it is to be administered online. Therefore, lectures are generally conducted online while exams are taken face to face with COVID 19 regulations in place and strictly adhered to for the duration of the examination. This process is very expensive as large halls have to be rented to allow certain large classes to be held there with the appropriate physical distancing.

    #2047 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    From Adeniyi Temitope ADETUNJI

    Covid-19 came as a shock to everyone and most especially caught the higher education institutions unaware. Of a truth, may are not prepared for such unexpected changes in the landscape of learning; such as teaching from home. The Covid-19 came as a swearword and blessing to the education sector. Some institutions have taken the blessing while others leave in the swearword to Covid-19 by wasting their time without meaningful productivity within the period.

    1. Covid-19 Exposes academic staff ICT competencies: Majority of the academic staff does not even own a laptop or electronic device that can be used for as teaching aids. No presence on the social media to aids teaching and learning
    2. Covid-19 reveals academic staff fear of change: The traditional professors are not willing to embrace change. It will shock you to know that some universities were completely shut down since the beginning of covid-19 in March 2020 till now. I am afraid that the university claim to be a training institution where students were trained had refused to be-trained in-line with emerging environmental and technological trend that is relevant to work place requirements.
    3. Covid-19 exposes inadequate facilities in the education sector: such as lack of power, internet, laptop, teaching aids and other electronics communication devices.

    #2072 Reply
    Tashmin Khamis

    Thanks for highlighting your efforts and challenges with the rapid transition online through COVID – we see much commonality in experiences. I look forward to discussing with you tomorrow how we move forward from emergency teaching mode to BL as a the ‘new normal’ and what needs to be in place to ensure equity and quality for our students. Tashmin

    #2074 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    The University of Rwanda has officially resumed Learning Teaching and Assessment (LTA) activities on Monday, October 19, 2020 and the blended mode of delivery is recommended to apply in all academic programmes and the institution. The use of blended mode of delivery is new to most of lecturers, students but also to those who are monitoring LTA activities at UR. We should understand that the current situation at UR denotes more an emergent remote teaching which is quite different from a well-planned online learning experience.

    Although online instruction can enable the flexibility of anywhere, anytime teaching and learning, the speed with which the remote instruction is expected to happen at the University of Rwanda is unprecedented. Although the University Centre for Open and Distance eLearning and other support staff are usually available to help UR academic staff in matters relating to online learning, many lecturers still lack the required skills to successfully manage online instruction. UR lecturers are at varying competence levels and could not get the same level of support in such a narrow preparation window. Some UR academic staff are improvising quick and unconventional online solutions and no matter how clever a solution might be many lecturers will understandably find this process cumbersome.

    #2075 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    Challenges due to corona virus crisis

    – Lack of adequate resources for a different educational modality (online and distance learning) at different levels (institutional – national – and individual).

    – Need for time and resources to train all member of education society to build their ability to deal with new educational environment.

    – In medical education field, there is a very challenging situation as there is no other alternative for clinical training with high infection risk for students, faculty and the patients themselves (there is great challenge to create a safe educational environment).

    – Challenge to modify the new educational modalities used during this crisis so we can use it to achieve learning objective and perform proper student assessment.

    #2076 Reply
    Tharane Thananchayen
    DAAD Staff

    It has been a new experience having to conduct several training, and mentoring programs to empower our teachers on campus to adapt their teaching to the new normal. Hybrid teaching (blended learning) is now what we’ve migrated to. We have to offer close support, mentorship, and training for faculty and students in order to maining quality standards at our scholl. So far we have been recording growing success in this.

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