Link to Poster: https://youtu.be/ld70Tl9KsZ4
The H818 Conference website can be found here: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OU-H818/
The urgent need to seek alternative modes of teaching and learning from the traditional classroom-based learning as a result of COVID 19 has forced a lot of institutions of learning all over the world to transition to online teaching (Basilaia, et al, 2020). Due to the abrupt transition, which required teachers redesigning their programs to support their students in a 100% online environment, as well as requiring a full shift in pedagogical approach to teaching and learning and use of a range of new technologies; little or zero effort has been put towards preparing teachers on how to go about taking their teaching online. The effect of the rapid transition has so much affected teachers in developing countries like Malawi where online teaching is still at an infancy stage.
Prior inquiries before embarking on the project showed that in some Institutions, Institution managers simply dictate a tool that teachers should begin using without proper guidance on how to go about it. In other cases, teachers make personal efforts; exploring tools to use and using a trial and error process to ensure their students are learning. As a result of these findings, there was a need to develop a general guide to assist teachers to transition to online teaching. According to Comas-Quinn, A (2011), teaching online requires technological skills, but also different pedagogical approaches than teaching face-to-face, to support learning online.
The guide, presented in form of a website focuses on two main areas; firstly the technical aspect of teaching online which includes lists of open-licensed tools and links on how to use them. Considering the setting; where internet connections and access to gadgets are also a challenge, the tools included are those that do not consume a lot of bandwidth and do not require very sophisticated gadgets to run. In addition, the guides include some tools such as Google classroom, Skype, and Zoom which upon findings are commonly used in different institutions in developing countries. The second part of the guide outlines the pedagogical practice that details how teachers can conduct themselves online to ensure content is effectively delivered to students whether synchronously or asynchronously.
To ensure that the project successfully meets the needs of the teachers in these settings a lot of detailed information has been gathered from teachers. In addition, there has been constant interaction with them to ensure that the guide does not deviate from their requirements. Interactions with Peers, tutors, and online communities of teachers via Twitter, Whatsapp forums, and through mailing lists has also provided a lot of relevant information and a number of resources that have guided the development of the guide. Short surveys and guided interviews directed to teachers, institution managers, and e-learning specialists also aided in soliciting information that proved useful to the success of the project.
Access to the final output of the project will be given to all teachers. Notifications of the guide will be circulated via social media and institution Whatsapp forums and mailing lists.
Basilaia, G., Dgebuadze, M., Kantaria, M., & Chokhonelidze, G. (2020). Replacing the classic learning form at universities as an immediate response to the COVID-19 virus infection in Georgia. International Journal for Research in Applied Science & Engineering Technology, 8(III). [online] Available at http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Basilaia+G.%2C+Dgebuadze%2C+M.%2C+Kantaria%2C+M.%2C+%26+Chokhonelidze%2C+G.+%282020%29.+Replacing+the+classic+learning+form+at+universities+as+an+immediate+response+to+the+COVID-19+virus+infection+in+Georgia.+International+Journal+for+Research+in+Applied+Science+%26+Engineering+Technology%2C+8%28III%29. (Accessed 9th January 2020).
Comas-Quinn, A. (2011). Learning to teach online or learning to become an online teacher: An exploration of teachers' experiences in a blended learning course. ReCALL. 23. 218 - 232. 10.1017/S0958344011000152. [online] Available at https://www.researchgate.net/deref/http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.1017%2FS0958344011000152 (Accessed 9th January 2020).