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Adapting to New Normal: Parami's Students and Virtual LearningOctober 13, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way businesses and schools operate and introduced a new way of living called a new (a better) normal to deal with the COVID-19 crisis better. The urge of precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar has forced many schools and higher education institutions to migrate to online classes.
Meanwhile, shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 have gone into effect in different areas of Myanmar, with stricter enforcement in Yangon --one of the most populated cities in the nation. The Parami Institute of Continuing Learning (ICE) immediately started to adopt a new delivery of classes virtually to enable all 34 selected students from different regions across Myanmar to join the Parami Leadership Program (PLP) from where they are residing.
As the majority of the courses in Parami Leadership Program (PLP) involve discussions and in-class activities, teachers and students are experiencing new challenges familiarizing themselves with virtual learning in the first few weeks. However, the students are feeling comfortable and slowly acclimating to the online class as the teachers sought to introduce a new learning platform and materials by creating an engaging learning environment.
Since the semester started in August this year, PLP 7th students have been learning virtual class for two months now. We interviewed faculty, students, and the Programs Director, to share how the students have been dealing with the change.
“In my class, conversations and exercises have taken virtual forms and take longer than usual at times, but the students still bring out new ideas from each other and the texts as well as reach all the learning outcomes I have for them.” -Joe Decker, Academic Director
“The students have demonstrated resilience, optimism, and commitment to their studies. It is a pleasure chatting with them about development and educational issues. Online conversations started quite slow, but I feel that the tempo is picking up, so I am happy!" - Dr. Mark Brown, Faculty in Social Science
Although teaching virtually presents some new challenges, the students and teachers have shown great resilience, equanimity, and dynamism while adapting to this new theater of learning.
Htet Myat Aung, a student from 7th Cohort shared that, “I have difficulty managing between screen time, self-study time, and relaxing time. I am trying to cope with this problem by learning how to manage my time well.”
Another current student, Yee Mon Wai, Oo, also added, “In 2020, most schools have to go online, and she was worried that she might face problems attending online classes when the PLP semester started in August. Our teachers are trying their best to create a video, PowerPoint slides, and games. By seeing how much effort our teachers put into our classes, I was encouraged to study hard and try my best too. I have now adapted to a new normal."
While learning online may be frustrating and impede students from getting quality discussion through face-to-face learning opportunities, the program is still working on supporting students admidst these uncertain times.
“As students come from many different backgrounds and regions of Myanmar, they were looking forward to an interactive and dynamic learning experience with their classmates. It was unfortunate to move the value of in-person learning to virtual platforms as there was some dissatisfaction of students. It is important for us to be available to them as a support system. For example, we are providing extra support sessions and short classes for students to learn more about online applications such as G Suite. However, the students are now even more determined to learn, grow, and go through this experience together as a cohort.” -Eint Pyae Pyae Khin, Programs Director
View the full interview with students at: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=982065995645412
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