Thriving in Southeast Asia’s new education landscape

The pandemic has changed how higher education is delivered everywhere, and universities across Southeast Asia are rapidly adopting remote learning tools to accommodate students.

The sudden transition to online instruction last year uncovered gaps in some parts of the region in access to a reliable internet connection and to the technologies that enable remote learning.

Many educators and students were also using these tools for the first time and had to adjust rapidly by shifting to new methods of teaching and learning that better suit online learning. 

Countries are making efforts to close these gaps and higher education institutions are making plans for how blended learning can become a permanent part of their curriculum.

To make this transition successfully, administrators and educators will need to focus on two key areas: developing blended learning modules that emphasize integrity at the core of every assignment and assessment and integrating the right technology solutions to support these goals. 

Blended learning with integrity at its core

Apart from conveying knowledge and expertise, education is also important for socialization. The face-to-face interactions in classrooms reinforce the development of common skills and values that students take with them into academic and research fields as well as professional life upon graduation.

When university courses moved online, educators had to find ways to ensure that standards around how assignments and assessments were carried out could be maintained in online classroom environments.

This included building a culture in online learning that upheld academic integrity and supported educators in delivering fast and fair assessments.

As restrictions eased in some places, a mix of online and in-person instruction allowed tertiary education institutions to stay open and adapt existing academic programs. Some programs integrated laboratory-based experiments and practical learning sessions with online discussions so that students could apply the theories they learned.

The initial experience with online learning on this massive scale showed educators that many technology tools offer features to encourage interactions in virtual classrooms and enable students to continue their studies off campus. It cemented the value of blended learning in a post-pandemic world.

University administrators have an opportunity to reimagine education delivery by combining the advantages of in-person and virtual instruction. Embedding the right technology tools to enhance every department’s curriculum, can transform how educators assess students and the overall engagement between teachers and students.

Technology adoption to aid instruction

Technology is beginning to play a crucial role in how higher education institutions in Southeast Asia adapt to the new landscape.

Some universities in Indonesia are adding books to Google Classroom and adding more ebooks to library collections. A university in the Philippines is also exploring the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and robotics in health and medical courses to enhance learning experiences.

Technology tools can help teachers empower students to do their best, original work, gauge their progress objectively and provide personalized feedback in the moment. This level of engagement can strengthen collaboration and interaction between students and teachers.

Teachers can also structure their curriculum around education platform solutions to support a blend of in-person and online instruction and leverage tools to help students thrive in both environments.

However, training for teachers, researchers and students will be vital to ensure that new technologies are implemented successfully. Experts anticipate that the use of online education platforms will grow at universities to support teachers and prepare students for success.

As Southeast Asia’s tertiary education institutions adapt to the current environment and accelerate technology adoption, ensuring the quality of students’ learning experiences while maintaining education standards are top priorities.

In this new and evolving landscape, universities can thrive by utilizing technology to continue operating without disruption and maximize learning experiences for students.

Supporting educators with training on the essential digital skills they will need to enhance classroom experiences and uphold standards of assignment and assessment integrity will also be crucial to the success of blended learning. 

The goal is to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality education by harnessing the flexibility of technology to empower their learning, and support educators in delivering instruction and feedback, and assessment that is accurate, efficient and fair.

Editor’s note: This is a contributed article from Turnitin.

About the Author

Jack Brazel is Turnitin’s Head of Business Partnerships in South East Asia.

He has been responsible for the growth of Turnitin in Southeast Asia since December 2015, focusing on the higher education sectors in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

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