Having anticipated a campus closure situation for years, Taylor’s uses its Virtual Learning Environment tools to ensure that students continue their learning remotely
TAKING a lesson from the SARS epidemic in 2003 that shut down universities in Hong Kong and Singapore, Taylor’s invested RM50mil in its Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which it had also previously utilised whenever Malaysia’s haze situation caused campus closures.
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world today, this has proven to be a prudent move. It is now reaping benefits for the Taylor’s community, as Malaysia faces a prolonged movement control order to contain infection within the country.
“We invested in a state-of-the-art Learning Management System, Lecture Capture System, remote communication tools, expanded hardware capabilities and created over 1,000 course microsites for each course taught in our university.
“Each course site features lectures, e-tutoring, e-assessment, e-submission and e-forums, which enables students to access all learning materials, take tests, connect with their lecturers, collaborate with their peers and take charge of their learning anytime and anywhere,” said Taylor’s University Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Prof Dr Pradeep Nair, adding that Taylor’s lecturers have been working very hard behind the scenes to deliver quality and engaging lessons during this challenging time.
“Students’ progress is tracked using a progress bar, and digital badges are awarded when students complete all the required activities online.”
Taylor’s award-winning Lecture Capture System, ReWIND, has over 40,000 recorded lectures (with audio, visual, presentation slides, and other module related content) which are available to students online.
It was developed by the lecturers themselves to maximise their teaching efficiency and assist students’ learning. ReWIND allows students to fast-forward, rewind, or skip to particular segments they desire, enabling them to learn in a self-directed and personalised manner.
The use of YouTube Live in University Compulsory Modules (UCM) creates a sense of connection and accountability in learning through online synchronous sessions, marking a shift from traditional classroom teaching to interactive VLE.
Taylor’s also uses Lightboard Video Technology which they pioneered in 2019, also known as the “learning glass” for recording video lectures as part of the “Teach-Less, Learn More” initiative under the Taylor’s Curriculum Framework.
The Lightboard enables lecturers to face “toward” students and write text on a glass that is brightly illuminated when explaining concepts, diagrams, models and processes, as if on a board. The Lightboard enables the capturing of text or sketches in real time, reducing the amount of post-production editing.
Additionally, students have full access to Taylor’s e-library and e-repository resources containing books, audio files, journals and databases, as well as works conducted by the university. Also at their disposal are open access resources such as scholarly research and literature covering a wide range of subjects.
While many students are understandably anxious about their learning continuity during lockdowns, Prof Pradeep believes there is a silver lining to universities pivoting to online teaching.
“The upside to this online learning experience is that it will enhance students’ capability to operate in a globalised virtual world, resembling the way most businesses operate when they graduate.
“This is the perfect opportunity for students to build their collaborative, independent and self-directed learning abilities, which are key skills of the future,” he said.