Emerging pedagogy and secured practices for adopting e-learning

teaching and learning
© Prasit Rodphan

Dr Preethi Kesavan, Head of School of Technology at LSBF Singapore, ponders the innovative teaching and learning methodologies that educators must employ when implementing e-learning

Many higher education institutions in Singapore and abroad have rapidly shifted their reliance on remote teaching technologies such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, to deliver classes. These have become the new standard in teaching and learning techniques. Among these techniques, blended learning is widely acknowledged and allows students to be physically present on campus while others connect via synchronous live broadcasts from different locations. However, using a video conferencing platform alone is not sufficient; it is important that educators employ three innovative teaching and learning methodologies for the future.

Classroom management technology

To begin, lecturers should rely on classroom management technologies to keep track of students including their engagement in class and their learning progress. Secondly, video conferencing and video recording services help teachers to engage with students in interactive activities such as practical demonstrations, troubleshooting lab work exercises and scribbling mathematical steps and formulae using available features to maintain learners’ attention. Both educators and students should also use learning management systems (LMS) to handle cloud storage for lecture notes, reading materials, online quizzes, document uploads, and submissions. This would also comprise recorded video lessons, learning guides, course curriculum, lab task activities, and subject-related external connections. Technology is being used more frequently not simply to teach, but also to support students’ learning and provide new types of student assessments. The seamless integration of these learning technologies would help students and educators to manage teaching and learning processes more efficiently and creates a collaborative learning environment while allowing remote access in real-time.

Data security

As higher education institutions embrace these new learning technologies, it is also critical to remain vigilant against cyber-attacks, data privacy and data security concerns, ransomware IT network disasters and other unnoticed disasters. The platform Zoom for instance captures personal information such as the name, email addresses, phone numbers, job titles, IP addresses, and devices used by lecturers and students.

Educators and academic administrators must be aware of the hazards and take appropriate actions by conducting security and vulnerability assessments of risks. They can also use an education license for Zoom which provides centrally managed control of settings, recording and engages a greater number of learners in each session.

To deliver lessons in a secured environment, Zoom’s waiting room and “host controls” feature prevents uninvited participants. If the waiting room feature is not effectively utilised, this might lead to malicious intruders disrupting the lessons and the Zoom room.  Administrators use random meeting IDs to make the link unavailable immediately after each Zoom lesson. Disabling private chat will also keep the content of the chat logs on-topic and less likely to contain sensitive information.

The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) Singapore has implemented the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) which covers personal data stored in electronic and non-electronic formats for all staff and students and their data is processed in accordance with the law. Since LSBF has learners from the EU, it also complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and makes data security about responsible internet citizenship a regular and expected part of student orientation and academic induction.

Lecturers are also reminded to avoid spreading fake news, political discourse, and implicit biases. Educators are also cognizant about data security, racial discrimination, providing misinformation to their students. Learners are also regularly reminded about misuse of chat logs, taking screenshots of classmates, and spreading fake news.

Cybersecurity, data security, and data privacy concerns in this digital era is a critical skill to protect all of us from online threats as we work and learn from home in the new normal.

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