The Summer semester may have begun but the learning process is now in full swing for a group of faculty members participating in the Blackboard Learn software training at SEGi. It is aimed to prepare two cohorts of faculty users that will play a critical role in the implementation of Blackboard Learn at all 5 campuses in September.
Nicole Lee, a Faculty member from the Department of Communication and Creative Design who teaches multimedia courses, acknowledged the system’s range of functions.
“With Blackboard there are more possibilities compared with the old LMS we used. We can create the videos, the audios and incorporate social media. In terms of content there are more possibilities. Because we don’t learn from once source.
We learn from many sources especially resources from the Internet.”
The 21st century learner differs by negotiating ideas and practices from a myriad of sources, which could lead to an impact in course content. Param Murgan, who runs the Head Centre for Teaching and Learning, supports a learner-centric approach that focuses on effective methods of delivery.
“If you think that you have taught but your students haven’t remembered anything, you have wasted your time. This LMS is another tool that will make your life easier as teachers. It’s a question of mastering some basic things. Once you master it you can realise it’s more effective than the talk-and-chalk method.”
Latha Rane, a Faculty of Business, Marketing and Management acknowledged that while students are acculturated to use social media sites, they might need incentives for them to use the LMS. Still, her excitement about utilising the tools proved palpable.
“There are so many features; for example you can create forums and mark papers online. The previous system was boring. As my field has a lot of theory, I am excited about using the mixture of questions available.”
Moganavatsala, an E-Resource Executive from SEGi College Kota Damansara, also recognised the breadth of possibilities with Blackboard’s test options, which include a pool and survey features.
Carleen Teo, the Head of the Faculty of Business, IT and Accountancy and Hospitality at SEGi College Sarawak shared Professor Latha’s enthusiasm.
“I am inspired because I am seeing how we will be able to design a lot of interactive assignments. Students will be able to post their feedback in the online student forum. Using these forums will encourage them to speak up. Because of our Asian culture, students are not able to speak up publicly but with the online forums, they will be able to create their own knowledge community so they can learn among themselves.”
In addition to having the faculty members, the IT department, led by Joseph Cheng, had a student internship programme. Student IT interns Alina Ibragimova and Shankari Sundrasekaran felt lucky to be at the training as they were learning about the tools from the “lens” of a teacher who will use this system.
The two cohorts participating in this training will be preparing for the next component of workshops to take place mid-summer. This next leg of engagement will foster deeper pedagogical insights for course design and the turnkey teacher implementation (to ensure the system can be easily implemented into current processes) is set to take place in August.
SEGi faculty members shared similar goals they wished to see upon the implementation of Blackboard Learn, which included going completely paperless, creating digital rubrics and diverse test pools. But others expressed bigger goals. R.K. Krishnamoorthy, the Head of the Engineering and IT from SEGi College Penang shared, “I want the students to be engaged in a different platform other than Facebook.”
Professor Carleen enthused, “In Australia they can communicate with students from all around the world. I want Malaysia to have this ability as well, so our teachers can work with students from other countries.”
The Blackboard Learn software is used by many top universities around the world. To have a glimpse of what it is, click here.