Online teaching and assessment activities at University of Economics and Law

By Phuong Vu Nguyen (Office for Educational Testing and Quality Assurance, University of Economics and Law, Vietnam National University )

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced education institutions in many countries to shift face-to-face mode of learning to online learning (Pokhrel & Chhetri, 2021). Therefore, it was high time to consider using technology to embrace education through relevant pedagogy. Digital technology can allow academics to deliver teaching through teacher-student synchronous and asynchronous communication and organise interactive and collaborative activities (Pokhrel & Chhetri, 2021; Starkey, Shonfeld, Prestridge, & Cervera, 2021). Online teaching activities at University of Economics and Law (UEL), Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, during the time of social distancing because of the Covid-19 pandemic have been implemented synchronously with the timely direction of the university’s leaders and the support of all academics and students. Although teachers’ preparedness was an emerging challenge, as found in most contexts (Starkey et al., 2021), there were initial positive results from online teaching and assessment. A newly-developed E-learning system was modified and integrated with other online tools. In addition, regulations for online teaching and assessment were formulated to assure the quality of education and make the university adaptable to the new situation.

Those concerned with online teaching and assessment were academics and students. Academics appreciated the online platforms (E-learning system and tools such as Zoom, Big Blue Button, and Google Meet) thanks to which they have changed their teaching and assessment methods. However, they were still not quite satisfied with the general infrastructure and policies to support these online activities, along with students’ engagement in online learning. Students were satisfied with the activities of online teaching and assessment conducted in various forms in accordance with the requirements of the courses. They also appreciated the organization of teaching that was adjusted by their teachers and perceived that they achieved the expected learning outcomes. However, for the summative end-of-term tests students were concerned with the fairness and their own internet access stability (for those who resided in remote areas during social distancing periods).

The implementation of online teaching and assessment helped academics use a variety of technology applications for teaching, diversified forms of engaging students in knowledge construction, actively change teaching methods to be compatible with online teaching modes in addition to face-to-face teaching and assessment.

The practice at UEL is an example of how academics responded and adapted to the pandemic to continue their teaching and support students beyond the classroom through digital technology (Starkey et al., 2021). In the context of shifting from face-to-face teaching and assessment to online teaching and assessment, higher education institutions need to continuously review and improve their online teaching and student assessment as regards information infrastructure, academics’ ability to design teaching that encourages interactive and collaborative activities among students and online assessment activities, as Starkey et al. (2021) suggested. Especially, supportive pedagogy should be exercised through the effective use of technology to engage students in collaborative and authentic learning activities (Yates, Starkey, Egerton, & Flueggen, 2020). As Pokhrel and Chhetri (2021) noted, “teachers who are technologically backward require proper professional development and training in order to orient themselves towards their students” (p.138). Therefore, it is essential to train academics how to use technology to design their lessons and assessment activities through online tools. In addition, policies to support online teaching need to be further formulated to assure the quality of online teaching and assessment. One of the common challenges of implementing online platforms for learning is “the affordability and accessibility to these online infrastructures for all the learners of varied economic backgrounds” and the support and guidance for those with special needs (Pokhrel & Chhetri, 2021, p. 139). Another issue that needs addressing as regards policies and regulations for online assessment is the assurance of the authenticity of the work and the actual learning done by students. In short, in order for the UEL E-learning system to be ready for learning enhancement, it is vital to consider an improved infrastructure, teacher professional development for online education and the formulation of relevant policies to assure the quality of online teaching and learning.

References

Pokhrel, S., & Chhetri, R. (2021). A lterature review on impact of COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning. Higher Education for the Future, 8(1), 133–141.

Starkey, L., Shonfeld, M., Prestridge, S., & Cervera, M. G. (2021). Special issue: Covid-19 and the role of technology and pedagogy on school education during a pandemic. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2021.1866838

Yates, A., Starkey, L., Egerton, B., & Flueggen, F. (2020). High school students’ experience of online learning during Covid-19: the influence of technology and pedagogy. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2020.1854337