Monday, June 24, 2013

Moodle and the Haze

Here is an insight on a few situations where Moodle comes into its own. In a nutshell, schools in east turned to the Moodle environment when school was closed due to avian flu outbreak and virus containment.
Schools in the west countered the effects of blinding snow blizzards on their schools by teaching online material using Moodle.

1 day ago (23/6/2013)

19 hours later (24/6/2013)

In Malaysia, if the haze situation worsens over a long period of time…

Malaysia 20/6/2013

                                                                      Malaysia 24/6/2013

Moodle bird flu preparedness plan

Snow-days mean Moodle-days for students in this Georgia School

Online Classrooms During Pandemic

Below are my own thoughts.
Assuming the worst that the haze conditions worsen and prolongs, then a combination of Moodle technology, college culture, management support, IT Department push/drive, user and teacher training on Moodle use, lastly foresight in preparing Moodle materials online, may mitigate (reduce) the effects of prolonged duration of non-face-to-face classes on students and teachers.

Pros of online classes during protracted (prolonged) crisis/avian flu/haze/viral outbreak:
1. Learning can continue at home
2. Students can be given homework and monitored via online quizzes
3. Teachers and students can communicate via broadcast of live, narrated, PowerPoint slides as part of the online learning mechanism

1. Not all students will have the hardware and internet facility needed to participate online
2. Those in the lower economic bracket will not be able to enjoy the benefits of online interaction and learning
3. Unless the college and faculty has a firm hold on its students, with a self-directed learning culture inculcated by lecturers and lived out by students,
then the majority of students will disregard the Moodle online work and use the weather/crisis as an excuse for their reluctance or laziness in getting online
4. Teachers using the technology at home may face technical problems but there may be no technical help available (unlike at school of college where there is an IT dept)
5. Teachers have to prepare online material and should have at least 1 week’s worth of material at any one time to engage students – more work involved.
6. Cannot be a total substitute for physical books and physical homework resources – lecturers should still give or email students instructions on what to study at home.
The student could then study his or her lecture notes, books, e-books, etc. In this way, Moodle can complement the work already given to students

What do you think? Has your school or institute had a DEFCON3 situation where teaching could only be conducted long distance and non-face to face due to a crisis?

Video conferencing plugins like Wiziq and Big Blue Button come to my mind. Maybe even Skype.

Please share your thoughts.
Frankie Kam

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