Enabling Learning and Enhancing Effectiveness in a Remote Environment:

The Staff Development Centre of the University of Colombo has helped members of staff to think about ways in which the Teaching-Learning-Assessment process can be made more effective. In times where face-to-face learning and teaching are not possible, it is useful to evaluate these methods and prepare ourselves to teach using alternative methods. Firstly, we must understand that if any of our teaching is one-way traffic (we speak and students listen and take notes), then it can easily be done via remote methods. Face-to-face sessions must necessarily involve students in the learning activity, otherwise it is a waste of their time. Bearing this in mind, consider the following factors as we face a few more days of isolation, and the possibility of having to cover large amounts of our syllabi when we return to work:

  1. Record some of your lectures that involve you speaking and students listening: Generally, introductory lectures of our courses involve a lot of teacher-centred activity. Consider recording this using a camcorder, smartphone or other basic technology that you may have at home. Upload this to the LMS or other platforms that are available at your faculty. If these systems are not available, you can (with approval from your HoD) share this with your students via email. If you have already finished these components, consider updating your research and making a recording that can be used for the next batch of students.
  2. Prepare Worksheets for your students to do remotely: Worksheets, projects, assignments, case studies (or whatever your students are used to) can be designed during this time. These can be shared online with your students, or prepared in advance and used once you return to lectures.
  3. Prepare Lecture Guides, PPTs, Incomplete Handouts: For topics that you do not as yet have a lecture guide, a powerpoint or a handout, consider using this time to prepare some of these teaching aids. An incomplete handout is one that has part of the information, and blank areas that the student must fill after reference to a learning activity (such as a lecture or PPT presentation.)
  4. Enhance yourself: Use this time to do some of the work important to you, but that you didn’t previously make time for: update your CV, do some research and writing. This is an area that can be attended to even in complete isolation. Utilise this precious time in a productive manner.

Professor Naazima Kamardeen
Director, SDC