Johor Bahru – In reference to the YAB Prime Minister’s Special Announcement on the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) throughout the country, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has taken steps to implement online teaching and learning for students and academic staff starting from 1st April 2020 until 26th June 2020.

UTM through its Senate Meeting has approved the online teaching and learning guidelines by UTM Academic Leadership (UTMLead) to assist those who carry out online teaching and learning during COVID-19 pandemic period which encompasses four main sections such as design, delivery, assessment, and tools.

The online teaching and learning design has incorporated elements of student-centred learning which allow students to actively participate in the learning activity including the use of relevant measures that are aligned with the course learning outcome and considerations towards the availability of students’ internet connectivity at their respective accommodations.

UTM recommends three main online learning deliveries which are asynchronous, synchronous, and task-based online learning through the various available platform. The asynchronous online learning means the session did not occur in real-time such as a pre-recorded video to support online learning plans while synchronous learning online occurs in real-time for instance, live learning sessions. For task-based online learning, students are given task that they can do on their own and/or discuss with their friends before submitting the outcome fo the task online. Task based online learning is meant to monitor students’ progress based on the task given in the online platform.

Assessment of student learning is a key aspect of quality assurance and it is one of the most important measures to show the achievement of learning outcomes. Hence, all the assessments that will be carried out online include oral assessment (oral presentation and viva), formative assessment, and summative assessment which are conducted according to the standard procedures as described in the MQA standard and other relevant requirements.

Besides, online assessments can be in the form of traditional online assessment and alternative online assessment. Traditional online assessment includes online examination, online quizzes, and online tests. Meanwhile, the alternative online assessment includes assessments that are performance-based and authentic (based on real-world), consisting of meaningful tasks, real-world application, and higher-order level of thinking.

With regard to the online learning platforms,  the lecturers and students are encouraged to fully utilise online learning tools available in UTM e-Learning or others such as Quizlet, Quizizz, Kahoot, Socrative, and many more. Online learning users need to ensure that they are familiar with the technical aspects of the tools before using it and have sufficient knowledge about its usage for teaching and learning activities.

Based on the students’ experience and feedback, the cooperation from all parties and guidelines provided have helped them in performing the online learning more effectively. The advantages of the online learning methods are: 1. the students are able to participate in the learning sessions from any place while keeping their social distance, and  2. able to adhere to the MCO by not  having to attend classes at the faculties.

However, some difficulties might occur among students which will hinder them from accessing online learning such as limited internet coverage or unstable wifi connection.

The students’ learning experience through the online learning method is not comparable with face to face method but it definitely helps students to catch up with their academic activities especially attending classes during the MCO as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.