Enhancing the Virtual Classroom Experience at SoMAC During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As COVID-19 closes universities around the world, learning and teaching continues to be the priority for School of Media & Communication (SoMAC) at Taylor’s University. SoMAC has always integrated online learning to ensure that students benefit both face-to-face and virtually. The students of SoMAC are no stranger to online learning. Therefore, when the news of Movement Control Order (MCO) came about, SoMAC was ready to enhance the virtual classroom experience further.  All lecturers moved fast to share various student-friendly platforms that can assist both academics and students in online teaching and learning.

We at SoMAC are fully aware that there could be a digital gap among the students, therefore we check and ensure that our students have Internet access to make online learning successful for all. Lecturers explore different synchronous approaches such as Zoom to allow interaction and asynchronous lecture capture such as ReWIND to enable students to recap when necessary. Forums and Padlet had been used to gauge students feedback on their experiences as we want to ensure that students gained 100% from the sessions.

By experimenting with different engagement tools with learners, from SoMAC’s perspective, Zoom could be the best tool for synchronous session if the group is not too big, as Zoom is easy to use and it allows for a lively interaction. Students who miss the online interaction can always catch up as slides are posted by lecturers on TiMes. The first week of MCO had been a success for SOMAC from the students feedback and good attendance.

Moving forward, SoMAC will continue to try out more platforms to vary students’ learning experience while at the same time taking their time to let students get used to the learning platform and different tools used as a medium of online instruction. We move the world, one bit of knowledge at a time, from our home.