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How Instructors Dedicated their Time Teaching Summer Courses at Parami

After two months, the Parami Summer Program came to an end in the last week of July. With several instructors from Myanmar and across the world, the summer courses provided Myanmar students with new knowledge and learning experiences in various subjects and disciplines under liberal arts and sciences education. 

The ongoing situation in Myanmar has interrupted many young people’s future, including the loss of chances of continuing their formal education. Parami offers online courses aiming to provide exclusive educational opportunities for the Myanmar youths to continue their education, with experienced instructors from all around the globe. 

It is not just students who benefitted, but instructors report to find it interesting to work with students from diverse backgrounds across Myanmar. They were mainly surprised by the resilience and diligence of their students. After the program ended, some instructors were kind enough to share their teaching experiences with Parami, including their online teaching experience and their memorable moments about their teaching during the past two months. 

With expertise in education and psychology, gender, and design thinking, Dr. Romina de Jong joined Parami as a faculty member at the beginning of this year. She is currently serving as the Director of Academic Affairs at Parami University. She taught two courses this summer— a Design Workshop and Social Psychology. The Design Workshop class introduced students to design thinking concepts to solve real-life problems. The lessons from the Social Psychology class allowed students to expand their knowledge and understanding of social psychology, which they can apply to themselves and the world around them. 

 “The summer courses were personally challenging as I had to leave Myanmar to take care of my family in the Netherlands. Luckily, the students of my two courses, Social Psychology and the Design Workshop, were absolute stars: they had the skills, the knowledge, and the motivation to learn, the dream of every teacher! In my classes, students are required to be active. I ask them to come to class prepared and then engage in discussions, reading, presentations, research et cetera. Sometimes students have to get used to this, but usually, most of them appreciate to be in charge of their own learning a bit more! In sum: I really enjoy working at Parami and look forward to co-creating its future!” ⸺Dr. Romina de Jong

With a passion for sharing his knowledge with Myanmar students, Lex Rieffel, a member of the Board of Trustees of Parami University, taught a class called The World of Economics and Finance that covers a wide range of topics in the economic policies and functions of economic institutions. Students from the course have acquired a better understanding of the world’s economy and finances, and ultimately, the current economic situation in Myanmar.  

“Given the turmoil in Myanmar, I’m impressed by the level of interest the students have shown in my course so far. Honestly, teaching in the summer program has been exhausting for me. One reason is that I never taught this course before. Another reason is that I never taught online before or even hosted a Zoom session. A third reason is that I tend to over-prepare for work of this kind. Given the investment I have made, I'm thinking I should teach the course again, perhaps in the second session of the Fall semester.”⸺Lex Rieffel

Nineteen students signed up for the The World of Economics and Finance class, but a few could not complete their course due to illness in their family, their illness, time conflicts with their jobs, lack of internet access, and other reasons.  

Having experienced online training for a while, Professor Boon Thau Loo, RCA Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania. "This summer, I have had the great honor of teaching an Introduction to Computer Systems course at the Parami institute. Having taught online on numerous occasions at the University of Pennsylvania as a professor, and was glad to offer my time to provide a similar course to the citizens of Myanmar. I greatly enjoyed teaching the students." 

“I am most impressed by the resilience of the students in class. Despite challenges posed by COVID, students in the class were focused on their education and were very keen to learn. The strength and positive attitude of the students are inspiring to me and bode well for Myanmar's long-term future. I also like to thank Frontiir for offering the assistance of two engineers as teaching assistants to help students in class, without which this class would not have been a success."⸺Professor Boon Thau Loo

He added that the class was highly interactive, and students asked a lot of great questions. Students in class had to set up a virtual machine from scratch, complete two exams, and work on the final project in groups. In every class, breakout sessions allowed students to interact and learn from each other.

In addition, with experience in teaching program management in the telecommunication industry and education industry, Dr. Tun Tun Aung, an Assistant Director for Frontiir Co., Ltd, taught Operation and Project Management at Parami. The course covers the critical theoretical and practical overview of the operations and projects management process.  

“Students are very awesome and eager to learn and explore knowledge and skills beyond the learning and teaching environment. Their active participation motivates me for better improvement in my lecture preparation. It’s a great opportunity to know that the online learning management system used at the Parami summer program enables interactive learning and teaching with all students/participants. I’ve witnessed nice user experiences or ease-of-use in grading systems, which helps reduce several steps in grading or corrections.”⸺Dr. Tun Tun Aung
 

Professor Elliott Prasse-Freeman is an assistant professor of anthropology at the National University of Singapore. With a great interest in all sorts of elements pertaining to Myanmar - from political economy to ethnic relations to linguistic nuances, he taught a class called Ethnicity and Belonging in Myanmar. 

“Having seen Parami grow from the very beginning, I was eager to contribute, especially after the coup made education more difficult to deliver. The students asked great questions and generated fascinating discussions. They were a joy to teach."⸺Professor Elliott Prasse-Freeman


 

With diversity and flexibility in mind, the Parami Institute of Continuing Education (PICE) at Parami University introduced the eight-week online short courses starting this summer to provide students from across Myanmar with the opportunity to continue their studies with experienced instructors. Meanwhile, the Fall semester at Parami has begun this week, offering more than 40 different short courses in line with the essence of liberal arts and sciences taught by almost 30 instructors globally who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with Myanmar youths.

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