Let me start with how Covid-19 has caused a disruption of sorts. Firstly, 18 March 2020 was historical for those living in Malaysia. It was the first day of the country’s lockdown. Having been born much earlier than most, I was reminded of May 13 and how we had curfews. Except, lockdown is not the same as curfew. Almost but not the same. There was no question about having the lockdown. I certainly saw the need for many countries to do so.
However, for many professionals, it is about picking up new tools such as MS Teams to connect with colleagues at and for work. Online meetings have become the norm. And for many of us, we started “Zooming” to teach. Zoominars as some prefer to call it.
As someone who has and should be on top of 21st century learning, it’s time for me to make time again to be myself, the educator and a true advocate for online learning. Having been away from serious teaching and, instead, going into higher management attending countless meetings at the University, I find that I’ve missed some of the fun I used to have when I designed and facilitated courses for students around the world, all done entirely online. Seriously, it was 100 percent online. Few Universities had thought about it then. And, this was before MOOCs made headlines in 2012. My first online course was in early 2009 and my students were from at least a dozen countries in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, South America, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Several have started their own distance learning programs in their respective institutions after graduating with a Master in Instructional Design and Technology from the Open University Malaysia.
With the world switched on, we are witnessing a global phenomenon of “teachers” and “educators” having to suddenly teach online. Physical lectures are not permitted. Students and lecturers have to stay home. However, this can be a little worrying. While many perceive that going online to “teach” should be pretty straightforward once the techniques have been learned, others know there is more to just be in front of the camera. It is more about how to make the online sessions interactive. It is how to engage the students before, during and after the online sessions to produce the learning. More of this next.