1. Do you prefer offline or online classes? Why?
I think offline and online classes have different natures and, to some extent, serve different purposes. I think the offline class is preferable for classes that aim to develop specific skills because the students are usually more serious and committed to their studies. In face-to-face learning, communications and collaborations can happen more seamlessly, and the teacher can control the class completely, including students’ responses and behaviour. For example, more practice is needed in our language teaching methodology class as students need to directly apply some theories in teaching methodology and practice it in front of the class. We need to see the students’ responses when others are doing peer teaching to claim that the method works. Also, our curriculum requires more activities that lead the students to have collaborative work. From what I have seen so far, the interaction and communication between students are more intense and effective in the offline classroom.
However, the online class is actually quite useful for some lectures that are more “theoretical” by nature and mainly involve just one way of communication, some classes in which the lecturer talks most of the time. I think the online mode will be suitable for those classes, including seminars and conferences. So, I would say it depends on the situation and the needs.
2. What are the challenges that you have encountered during both online and offline class?
Let me use the context of our class and our situation as an example. For the offline class, room availability in our faculty can be the main issue. We actually have many facilities and classes, but the number is just not enough sometimes. Currently, we have a small space for such a big class and cannot move to other classes because they are all occupied. Also, sometimes it is difficult to go to class during the rainy season, or when a situation like the pandemic happens, it is almost impossible to come to the class. But inside the class, I think we don’t have any problems because we have been doing the offline class for ages.
For the online, I think the problem is with the connection, of course, and also the students’ commitment and concentration. We don’t have any control to the students, especially when they turn off the camera. We never know what they’re doing. Either they focus on our explanation or they are doing something else. So, for the online class, I think the challenge for the lecturer is to make the students highly motivated because they can easily get distracted during an online class. As I remember when I was teaching my online class, I heard my students listen to anime songs and things like that. Talking about the internet, even at our campus, it can be unstable sometimes, especially when many people try to access the internet at the same time.
3. What do you think about hybrid learning system? Is that effective or no?
I think the hybrid learning system can be the solution to minimize the drawback of both online and offline classes and maximize the benefit of both modes. The challenge of this system is on the planning and organization. The lecturer must carefully plan and arrange which classes can be done online and which should be done offline, and it must be informed clearly to the students at the beginning of the semester. Although the schedule can also be made with flexibility, the hybrid learning system shouldn’t be just incidental. Everything must be decided prior to the class.
However, I am uncomfortable with a class with two different kinds of audiences simultaneously. I have ever experienced this in my class, and it’s more like having an offline class but with an online audience watching us because the learning process is mostly between the offline students and me. The online audiences just watched and sometimes asked some questions, but it was difficult for me to divide my focus on both groups during the discussion. That’s why I think when we have decided to adopt the hybrid learning system, we should have some agreement with the students to commit to the schedule. If the students cannot attend the offline class, then an online class will not be provided and vice versa.
4. Is there any words you want to say to motivate Sasingers?
For Sasingers, now that you have more options in our learning system, thanks to the advance of technology, you should consider this an opportunity to have more classes beyond our curriculum in our study program. You can attend many webinars, conferences and even some online classes provided by other universities from overseas. Our curriculum encourages the students to have self-leadership. Students should be able to lead themselves to achieve their personal and professional goals and objectives. With abundant classes provided on the internet, you need to be more active in finding some classes that you think are perfect for your career in the future. You have to be able to direct yourself to whatever carrier path you choose and try to improve and develop yourself. Now we also have many MBKM programs offered every semester. I hope the subjects or classes that students choose are not only interesting and “prestigious” but also suitable for your career.