It has been almost one year since the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) by our prime minister, which started on 18 March 2020. There are several restrictions presented under this order, including the closure of all kindergartens, government, private schools including daily schools, boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centers and other primaries, secondary and pre-university institutions. Hence, all the students will not be able to have any face-to-face classes with their teachers/lecturers anymore.
E-learning, which is carried out through the online platform, is the best way to connect all the students at the same time even if they are at different places. It is also one of the most effective ways to break the chain of COVID-19 as there will be no face-to-face communication. The common software or applications that are widely used by the lecturers to carry out the e-learning session included Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Meets.
Every time we go to school, we will spend lots of time dressing properly. For me, I always spend at least one hour preparing myself before going to a physical class. But for e-learning, I can wake up 5 minutes before the online class starts. I can even attend the class in my pajamas while staying in my bed having my breakfast, as we often turn off our camera and also microphone during the online classes. This means the e-learning enables the students to learn from their most comfortable space! Sometimes, I will set a cup of coffee on my study table before the online class. Caffeine is the best medicine to kick off my sleepyhead and improve my concentration on the lecture. I think this will be one of the advantages of e-learning as the students can learn more effectively when they are in their comfortable space.
When the online class starts, the students will always be asked by the lecturer to turn off their microphones. It is to prevent the ‘noise’ in their study environments such as birds chirping or ambient sounds like passing vehicles in the background from disturbing the others during the lecture. It is also one of the advantages of e-learning when compared to the physical class! It is because we will not be distracted by the noise from the construction site around the campus or even chit-chatting sounds by the classmates that might happen during a physical class.
Besides, the students will try to be more involved in the learning process that is carried through the online platform. I will respond to my lecturer more actively when he/she asks us a question during the online class. I am an introvert who is always shy to share my opinions during physical classes. However, I can answer the questions bravely when I am studying in my comfort zone. This gives me a sense of security and makes me more confident. I will prefer to answer the question by typing in the group chat instead of turning on my microphone. It is to make sure that the noise from my study area will not disturb the others during the class.
On the other hand, the status of internet connection and the requirements of gadgets become the most important elements to enable the students to access the online classes. Once I experienced a power outage during my online class. The WiFi router in my house stopped functioning hence I was forced to end my e-learning session earlier even though it was still in progress. Luckily, my lecturer had recorded the entire progress of the online learning session and she managed to share the recording with us in the CourseNetworking (CN in short, which is a social learning platform that allows students in UCSI to access academic-related information). With this recording, students can review the parts they missed at any time. Before the online examination, I will also replay the recording as a revision.
In a nutshell, I hope everyone could enjoy the e-learning as an outcome of this COVID-19 pandemic. Stay healthy and stay safe!