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Learning Opportunities Amidst the CV19 Pandemic: Successful adaption of a f2f subject for online delivery at a Polytechnic in Singapore

conference contribution
posted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 authored by Linda Fang
During the CV19 pandemic circuit breaker period in Singapore (7 April and 1 June 2020), classes were moved online in educational institutions. While Business Continuity Practices have been in place since the outbreak of SARS in 2003, it tested how successfully plans put in place could manage this disruptive change. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of adapting a face-to-face subject for fully online learning. Current Issues and Critical Thinking (CICT) is a 15 week, 2 credit, 30 hour subject offered to all first year students at Temasek Polytechnic. It provides students with “the knowledge and skills to apply critical thinking tools to examine local and global current issues and to promote independent thinking by considering multiple perspectives” (School of Humanities and Social Sciences , 2020, p. 3). Students develop their critical thinking skills by asking questions, engaging in discussions, researching, and they use objective and logical reasoning to arrive at decisions. The first adapted online offering for the April 2021 with MS teams as the main contact point, and the Learning Management System (Blackboard) providing supporting online resources. It was positively received despite the fact that freshmen had not met their classmates and subject tutor in-person. The subject continued to be offered online for subsequent semesters. This paper aims to ascertain the effectiveness of the adaptation of an f2f subject to fully online learning. This qualitative case-study of one class of Aerospace Engineering freshmen from the April 2021 cohort is driven by the following research questions and sub-questions: 1. How were students adapting to fully online lessons? 1.1. What was their response to online learning activities and tasks? 2. What did they learn? 2.1. What enabled or not enabled learning? Data from the following sources were collected and triangulated: 1. Assignment marks 2. Online responses of individual and group assessments, activities and self-reporting of what they learnt in MS Teams 3. Observations by the tutor on MS Teams – student’s ability to follow lessons, willingness to respond etc. The findings show that despite the technological challenges and the lack in-person contact, students were still generally able to learn well. In fact, many were comfortable learning this way and delighted with using the new technology for their group presentation. Lessons Learnt These were the key lessons learnt: 1. Design: The CV19 provided a challenge and an opportunity to teach fully online. Despite having to adapt to a technology that was still evolving (namely MS Teams), e-Learning theoretical principles enabled the effective adaptation. Adaption needs to go beyond delivery, to include assessment, feedback and administrative matters (mark entry/mark checking). 2. Initiate: It was important to initiate the students to the technology and the methodology. If in doubt, find a support group to experiment with peers. 3. Be present: Teach, demonstrate, coach with love and lots of patience. Be available at the students’ time of need. Key terms: Critical thinking, academic disruption; curriculum adaptation; online learning

History

Journal/Conference/Book title

Applied Learning Conference 2022, 20-21 January 2022, Online

Publication date

2022-01