Adapting to the ‘‘New normal’ with effective Technology-Enhanced personalized teaching & learning

By Wafaa Wajihah Mohammad Rosmadini, AUN Intern

The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at the Singapore Management University (SMU) held a whole day webinar on the 8th October 2020 from 9.55am to 12 noon and 1.55pm to 5pm (SGT, GMT+8). The Executive Director of MERLOT and SkillsCommons discussed the sharing of digital resources among the educational community via MERLOT, an e-library platform. As well as various academics from Hong Kong University, Mahidol University and the Singapore Management University shared how they used digital platforms to support personalized learning through the use of videos, simulations, games and other varied digital systems. Each session was followed by a Q&A session where participants asked more specific questions to the speakers directly. The sessions were moderated by Dr. Yeo Wee Loon from the Centre for Teaching Excellence Singapore Management University. The first session was formally opened by the AUN-TEPL Chairman, Associate Professor Lieven Demeester who welcomed all the speakers and participants to the webinar. He also provided an introduction on the series of presentations on the forming of the AUN-TEPL resource-sharing community

Dr Gerry Hanley, Director of CSULB Center for Usability in Design and Accessibility (CUDA) and the Executive Director of MERLOT and SkillsCommons initiated the morning session with a presentation on Enabling the Educational Ecosystem for AUN-TEPL's Success with MERLOT's Open Educational Services. MERLOT offers free and unrestricted access to online educational content through a range of academic disciplines that provides open educational services for the exploration, sharing, adoption and curation of online educational content by individuals, organizations and communities. Dr Hanley illustrated how MERLOT would be integrated into practical institutional strategies immediately as the platform functions as both an open archive for educational resources and practices. With extensive OER and free collections from 75 different libraries, 700 open educational practices in e-portfolios as well as a customizable resource pool engine, institutions and individuals can accelerate their success in educating strategies. Dr Hanley also highlighted that this e-library also offers virtual labs and workshops for new members. MERLOT looks forward to supporting the AUN-TEPL community and welcomes new memberships and contributions.

The session was followed by a comprehensive discussion on the forming of the AUN-TEPL resource-sharing community by Associate Professor Lieven Demeester of Singapore Management University. As part of the key initiatives of propagating the use and exchange of digital resources, the AUN-TEPL’s resource-sharing community was launched at the Learning Innovation Festival by the Chairman of AUN-TEPL Associate Professor Lieven Demeester. He emphasized the prominent role of AUN-TEPL in maintaining a resource-sharing community within AUN+3 member universities. Instructors in the AUN+3 Universities have designed and created many excellent digital resources, especially so during this pandemic period. Since its establishment, the AUN-TEPL Thematic Network has set out to address missed opportunities of not adopting a common approach for AUN+3 instructors to:

1) scan, select, and use digital resources developed at other AUN+3 members
2) review and endorse available digital resources
3) share self-developed digital resources with other AUN+3 instructors

Professor Demeester also shared the rationale of forming a community in sharing readily available digital TEPL resources within AUN+3. He laid out the strategies, support structures and plans in supporting members along this collaborative journey with their partner, MERLOT, and fellow AUN+3 members. One of the strategies include incentivising individuals in recognition of the contribution to the AUN-TEPL community. Such recognitions can come in the form of a certificate of recognition. As one of AUN-TEPL’s mission to form a partnership with MERLOT in efforts to create a resource-sharing community within AUN+3, the network is inviting members to join them in their journey to promote a community which shares, curates and exchanges educational resources with the aim of improving student success through the propagation of TEPL approaches across universities.

For more information on how members can participate: https://www.auntepl.com/shared-resources

The morning session was concluded by Ms Melody Chin with her presentation, Practical Considerations in Selecting and Applying Creative Commons Licenses. Ms Melody Chin is a Research Librarian for Economics at SMU Libraries and trainer for the ASEAN University Network’s Train-the-Trainer OER workshop. She delivered a practical introduction for selecting and applying creative commons licenses as an essential part of the process for sharing Open Educational Resources (OER) on platforms such as MERLOT. Ms Chin explained that Creative Commons (CC) licenses allow creators to share their work and, depending on certain conditions, allow others to use their content. The introduction of CC licenses makes it easier for instructors to make their own instructional materials and interactive learning objects publicly accessible in a structured way to other instructors and institutions. Topics discussed include linking copyright to Creative Commons licenses as well as various license styles and the primary considerations for licensing material such as:

1. Ownership rights to digital resource
2. Clearing any external rights beforehand
3. The license may not be subjected for revocation
4. Determining how you want your material to be used

The afternoon session commenced with a presentation on the topic, Supporting Personalised Learning Online: A Focus on Inclusivity and Compassion by Gina Marchetti and Tracy Zou. Gina Marchetti is a renowned author who also teaches courses in film, gender and sexuality, critical theory and cultural studies at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Meanwhile, Tracy Zou is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at HKU. They shared the practices and approaches from the perspective of inclusivity and compassion that cater to diverse learner needs and support personalised learning. Ms Zou presented the first half of their discussion on being inclusive and compassionate by addressing differences in the unanticipated move online through Dual-mode teaching that caters both students in and out of class. Ms Zou highlighted the necessary approaches to design a teaching mechanism that is more inclusive, compassionate and globalised by ensuring accessibility, diversity as well as considering relevant role models, convention and community in the education pedagogy. Ms Marchetti continued the discussion by recommending blended Asynchronous and synchronous teaching with the utilisation of Zoom together with Massive Open Online course platforms (MOOC) to ensure practicality, diversity and inclusivity amongst students, teachers and administrators.

The next presentation, titled The Approach of Educational Filmography was presented by Dr Kosmas Marinakis. Dr Marinakis is a senior lecturer of Economics at SMU who was elected as Best Professor of the Year for six consequent years from 2013 till 2018. He shared his experience with video lectures used in his Economics class to deliver effective asynchronous lessons as well as the benefits and the challenges of educational filmography, both from his and the student's perspective. He also compared the different types of conventional teaching methods such as Lecture-based teaching (F2F) and Live online delivery (zoom) with video lectures. However, Dr Marinakis also reiterated the issues or limitations to conducting video lectures. He further gave out guidelines on how teachers can incorporate filmography into their teaching mechanism with the correct equipment and software to synchronise slides and sound. He also shared how he had used 3 FHD cameras and Video editing softwares (such as Adobe premiere pro) in his video production work.

Ms Namkang Sriwattanarothai, assistant professor at the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol university continued the afternoon session by presenting on the topic, Engaged and Empowered Learners: Pedagogical Practices Supported by Classroom Response Systems. Ms Sriwattanarothai emphasised on the role of students in the learning environment as they actively participate and engage in learning. She shared some of her strategies in bringing about knowledge acquisition, cognitive growth and higher-order thinking skills. She also addressed the pedagogies of interaction to make students become online and classroom drivers of their own learning. Her presentation explored the practical ways to engage and empower students by introducing two teaching mechanisms; blended learning and flipped learning. The former incorporates online and (face to face) F2F strategies, while flipped learning acts as a supplementary guiding tool that utilises both synchronous and asynchronous learning systems through gamification, collaboration and critical thinking with the aid of technology. Professor Namkanf believes that the use of classroom response applications can generate learning. She uses some readily available classroom response applications which can create the learning spaces filled with motivation. These applications include Kahoot!, Mind Meister, Plickers, Spiral and Jeopardy game.

Next was Dr Prachyabrued, who is a faculty member in the Faculty of ICT at Mahidol University in Thailand. He is also the Director of the ImmerSense Laboratory, and Chair of the MS in Game Technology and Gamification. He delivered a presentation on Medical Training in Virtual Environments where he showcased the application of virtual environments for medical training. The first virtual adaptation is a virtual stress training simulation involving the design of a story- driven, stress-inducing environment for inoculating medical personnel to stressors using (virtual reality) VR. It includes a 3-phase SIT features namely, Cognitive preparation, Skill acquisition & rehearsal as well as application and practice. The VR creates scenarios and situations for training that are too dangerous to be imitated in real life as well as induce emotional connection. The other simulation provides vascular access training focusing on visual landmark inspection, correct needle insertion, and haptic sensations when the needle pierces the body. Internal jugular access using VR simulation is safer with minimal incremental cost and rich feedback. The simulation also offers training and examination modes.

The final presentation, titled Gamification Transformation was presented by Assistant Professor Aidan Wong, a trained economic geographer who currently designs and delivers courses on both Urban Cultures and Food Cultures at SMU together with Assistant Professor Fiona Williamson who is an environmental historian teaching 'Climate, History and Society' and 'Science, Environment and Empire' at university. They shared ways of utilising Gamelead to gamify their classroom content as well as their experiences, challenges and feedback from students. Both presenters stated the use of Gametize which is an app to gamify class activities, games and quizzes have been tremendously helpful. This method of teaching has been very interactive and flexible to be used in any learning environment as it allows interaction, perspective sharing. Students engage actively in-out classroom, field-based learning and are immersed in the field of the surrounding and become more aware of the people and politics of society. Both Mr Wong and Ms Williamson also use Gametize and gamelead to create a series of questions and quizzes to connect/engage with students during field trips to Asian civilisation museums, Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Marina Barrage.

The webinar ended with Dr. Yeo Wee Loon expressing gratitude to the presenters and attendees for their time and active participation. Dr. Yeo closed the session by sharing that while the pandemic has posed challenges to the education community, these conditions could also facilitate the acquisition of new skills and innovations, in turn open us to new possibilities

To access the shared materials and the recording of the webinar, please visit https://cte.smu.edu.sg/learning-innovation-festival-2020