Current pandemic not an obstacle in pursuit of knowledge

By Iylia Marsya Iskandar

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2020: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The recent shift to online teaching and learning (TnL) due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic should not be viewed as a stumbling block to students in their efforts to pursue knowledge, Cheong Ming Hao told the audience in a live webinar.

He was among five inspiring students from local tertiary institutions who took part in a sharing session titled “Adoption of Online Learning for Non-Disruptive Learning Process,” the first series of the Public Relations Student Dialogue organised by Taylor’s University School of Media and Communication earlier today.

Ming Hao who is from Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) believes that online learning is the future of education. “With the diverse learning experience, students will be able to become more independent and prepare themselves to work for the industry later on,” he said.

“Supervisors will not have to guide fresh graduates step by step and employers are prone to hiring independent workers,” he added.

The customised learning experience due to online learning has proven to foster student engagement, Jes See Ooi, a fellow comrade also from TAR UC, shared her experience. She told the audience that students are able to access extra resources to answer questions from lecturers and can easily ask for help and clarification in chatbox.

Although online learning has its range of advantages, it can be challenging for students as well. Following three weeks of online teaching and learning through ERTL (emergency remote TnL) which began early this month, Afzal Nushamiera Musa from IIUM shared three main challenges – internet access, lack of face-to-face communication and home distractions.

She said: “Students can overcome these problems by learning at their own pace. If they fail to join a synchronous session due to internet problem, they can take advantage of the time when they have a good internet connection to download all materials. It is important to stay proactive and attentive in virtual classes to make up for the lack of interaction.”

Nurshamiera shared that the key to a successful online learning experience is to be disciplined. Students can always plan ahead of their daily schedules, set up a to-do list and create a working corner to enhance productivity.

Meanwhile, Janice Xin Hui from Taylor’s University shares Nurshamiera’s view on the importance of maintaining self-discipline. She further said that to become more productive, students should have their “me-time” and also take this online opportunity to up-skill themselves such as by taking additional classes on Coursera, a personal branding on LinkedIn and others.

On the challenges faced by the international students, the issue faced is of a different kind which requires them to cope with different time zones, said Naahy Rasheed, a student of Taylor’s University from Maldives. However, she said that online learning can also pose as a distraction from the worldwide restriction order that gives students a purpose at home and enhance productivity.

“Things can be overwhelming especially when facing a pandemic like this, but online can be a new norm and be regarded as a welcoming process in the long run,” Naahy shares her opinion.

The webinar session held from 12.00 noon until 2.00 p.m on Zoom application was attended by both lecturers and students from various institutions. ***

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