Distance Learning

[18-04-2020 09:43 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Dr. Ghazi Gaseem Al-Khateeb - Although teaching and learning in the era of corona virus have become different, but the methodologies explored for distance learning are interesting! Before the COVID-19, active learning, blended learning, distance learning, enriched teaching and learning methods, etc are all terms instructors are encouraged to utilize in teaching! Instructors use a wide range of teaching methods that span from the very traditional ways to typical PowerPoint slides to advanced ways to blended teaching methods.

In any case, traditional ways of teaching should not be used anymore despite the belief that some instructors still have in this kind of teaching method. Claiming the use of a a certain method is not important as much as applying it the right way, for instance, many instructors claim they use even the PowerPoint slides in their instruction but the fact that they are only copying the material from a piece of paper into a slide that students see immobile with less information than that in traditional ways.

Many consider distance learning as an alternative option used in urgent conditions like the current circumstances! That could be true, but the reality is that advanced and up-to-date instructional methodologies include tools and strategies that blend between typical learning methods and active learning techniques.

Now as we use tools like Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, etc for distance learning and teaching and LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to conduct online exams with minimum or zero cheating, this could have lots of advantages and benefits for the teaching system in general given the fact that these tools and techniques are there available for instructors before the COVID-19.

Conducting a reconnaissance or questionnaires about distance learning whether that is by students or by instructors in educational or higher educational systems (schools and universities) will not normally provide objective results with minimum bias due to one simple reason, that is subjective results have to be normalized to reflect more realistic outcomes! In other words, if questionnaires are also done for the existing teaching and learning methodologies, you may also get similar results with many cons and pros.

That is to say, distance learning may have exposed several facts including defects that existing teaching and learning ways experience. Nevertheless, without doubt, the system has its own advantages and disadvantages and could be dependent on the subject material but not to blame it for ever-known problems in current teaching and learning methods.

In many universities, cheating in exams is an everlasting problem particularly with the advancement in technology and computer tools. Therefore, in-class or online exams have sometimes similar chances that lead to unliked behaviors during the exam.

Or even in some cases, online exams are favored over in-class exams for the many tools and test options and settings that instructors can use to control the exam such as “LocKDown Browser”, “Respondus Monitor”, “Prohibit Backtracking”, “Lock students into the browser until exam is completed”, “Present one question at a time”, “Randomize Questions”, and many more. In summary, blended learning methods are needed for educational institutes after COVID-19 to optimize the learning outcomes and to keep up with the state-of-the-art teaching and learning methodologies.

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