It is my belief that the ultimate objective of teaching is to make quality learning and critical thinking possible (Race 2010; Biggs and Tang 2011). High quality and critical learning is indicated by engaged and motivated students in the learning process and student attainment of the learning outcomes at the end of the learning activities. High quality learning is therefore an active process to ensure learners acquiring targeted set of knowledge/skills. Consequently, I employ learner-centred approaches in my teaching. To promote critical thinking and quality learning, I also design my learning and teaching activities to be engaging in which my students can have participative learning (Loftin et al 2010) especially in the virtual environment during COVID19 pandemic (Brown 2021; Chakraborty et al. 2020; Dhawan 2020). During the virtual teaching, I engage students via live annotating slides and problem-solving discussion, and invites the to participate verbally or by using the chat function which I quickly response orally. Impacts on learners are evident on the students’ and peer’s feedback as follows: “Dr Agus is very helpful, kind and considerate in teaching during this tough time of Covid19. He is approachable and this made a student like me to study confidently online and offline (eVALUate, CHEN2000, S1 2020)”. Approaches adopted during online class is good practice and effective to engage the students (CHEN2000 class observation report, 2021).
Learning should be engaging and supportive inside the classroom and beyond (Nowakowski 2010). Therefore, to complement in class activities, I provide chances to the students to have outside class discussions on any issues pertinent to the subjects via Moodle Forum, emails and face-to-face consultation hours. Every week, I implement six hours open door policy to enable the students to see me for consultations. I also give the students opportunities to meet me outside the open-door policy hours by arranging an appointment. This flexibility and approachability in learning process have been beneficial to impart positive learning environment as described by positive feedback in the unit evaluation from the students as follows. “His consultation time is very helpful to clarify any doubt or arising issues. He responded to any email timely and is always there to help the students who approached him (eVALUate, CHEN3005, S2 2019)”.
Learning environments have been acknowledged to have positive impacts on student learning outcomes (Byers et al. 2018). Particularly, good interactions with learners in the context of providing feedback are of paramount important to ensure their learning progress (Vardy 2012). Thus, being approachable for the students to freely talk to and ask questions inside and outside the classroom is crucial. I provide various ways of feedback to my students including informal feedback (spontaneous feedback during lecture, workshop or consultation session), formal feedback (e.g. discussing the solutions and marking guidelines of the mid-test), formative feedback (e.g. feedback to the project and lab reports) and summative feedback (feedback at the end of the semester). After the assessments (within two weeks), I give formal feedback by uploading summaries of the comments on the assessments to Moodle so that they can reflect on the performances and do corrective actions for future assessments (Race 2010). I also allow the students to see me for individual feedback session in which they can review their marked assessments and discus specific areas for improvements. Prior to the assessments, I conduct revision and clinic session and provide assessment study guideline. Reflecting on student behaviours affected by timely and constructive feedback, I have found the students feel that their progress is valued and supported. This further motivates them to engage more in learning and perform better in the future assessments. The students commented that the feedback given in various methods has been very constructive to their learning. “Dr Agus is really good at guiding students in learning. Always give useful feedback about our assessment (eVALUate, CHEN2000, S1 2019)”, “He always provide immediate responses to students’ inquiries and questions. He is very good in guiding the students on what the students should do in the project with proper planned timeline. He always replies to emails and give useful feedback (eVALUate, CHEN2000, S1 2018)“, and “A very helpful educator, able to provide feedback (eVALUate, CHEN2000, S1 2019)”.
Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4th Ed.), Maidenhead: SRHE and Open University Press.
Brown, W.S. (2021). Successful Strategies to Engage Students in a COVID-19 Environment, Frontiers in Communication, 6: 641865.
Byers, T., Mahat, M., Liu, K., Knock, A., & Imms, W. (2018). Systematic Review of the Effects of Learning Environments on Student Learning Outcomes. Melbourne: University of Melbourne, LEaRN.
Chakraborty, P., Mittal, P., Gupta, M.S., Yadav, S., Arora, A. (2020). Opinion of students on online education during the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 1–9
Dhawan, S. (2020). Online Learning: A Panacea in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis, Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 49 (1): 5-22.
Loftin, C., Davis, L.A. and Hartin, V. (2010). Classroom participation: A student perspective, Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 5 (3): 119-124.
Nowakowski, P.T. (2010). The Academic as Knowledge Purveyor: Deontological Considerations, International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 3(8): 487 – 495.
Race, P. (2010). Making learning happen: A guide for post-compulsory education. London: Sage Publications.