Personal experiences towards online education during Covid-19 pandemic

“Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change induced disasters and protracted crises have disrupted the education of 75 million children and youth globally. And that number is growing in an unprecedented way with the spread of COVID-19.  Education has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with 1.53 billion learners out of school and 184 country-wide school closures, impacting 87.6% of the world’s total enrolled learners. Drop-out rates across the globe are likely to rise as a result of this massive disruption to education access.” [1]


As part of AU community, my students and I have been impacted by this pandemic as well. Talking about an online education, it has been a long discussion among faculty members how we should integrate technologies (online class, active learning, new approach for examination, etc.) into an education system. The faculty encourages faculty members to exercise that. Unfortunately very few faculty members care about this. However, Covid-19 pandemic seems to be trigger and enforce everyone to embrace online teaching and learning swiftly (Could we consider Covid-19 a hero in this matter?). Of course, there are so many great advantages about online teaching and learning. That is not the point I would like to share here but rather my personal experiences towards an online education (as we may need to carry on with this for a couple of months or probably till the end of the year if a pandemic is still around). Firstly, not all students can cope with this online teaching and learning. One of my students decided to withdraw from the course in this semester. Note that the student is not a weak student. What is the problem here? Is a student to be blamed. I doubt that.

Secondly, an online examination/assessment is a very challenging part. The faculty gave me options to conduct an examination/assessment as I see fit. It could be paper-based, oral examination, project-based and much more. I think an oral examination is the best way to assess each individual student (It is like students having an interview to get a job). I do not need to worry about cheating. However, I did not go for that option (I still gave students a paper-based examination). Next time, I will definitely choose an oral examination.

Many faculty members seem to worry about cheating while students are taking an online examination (paper-based). Students are enforced to turn on a camera, microphone, etc. You know what they can still cheat if they want to since you cannot see what they are doing. Even you ask them to share a screen they can use other devices to talk with friends. Be reminded that they are at their place and you are not physically there. There is no way to ensure that students are alone and nor talking to anyone. How can we deal with this? Either we set questions that we can really evaluate student’s analytic and/or critical thinking or we go for an oral examination option.

Lastly, I hope this Covid-19 pandemic is over. Personal interaction in the classroom is still very important in my opinion. Obviously, a way of teaching/learning as well as student’s evaluation should be transformed.



Active Learning Classroom @ VMS: what I have learned from this.

First, let’s start with a short description of Active Learning Classroom, or ACL. ACL is a type of student-centered and technology-rich classroom equipped with movable tables and chairs (however, in our ACL, relocating tables is restricted) aiming at promoting active learning. At Assumption University, ACL is an initiative of Vincent Mary School of Science and Technology (VMS). The President has approved the idea and granted VMS two rooms with necessary facilities (tables with whiteboard paint, chairs, whiteboards, power supply, etc.).

I personally find this an opportunity to diverge myself, as a lecturer, from a traditional teaching method and to transform classroom atmosphere, expecting AU students to engage with the supplied materials (exercises), participate in class, search the Internet (knowledge is out there) and collaborate with each other. The course that I have utilized the ACL is CS1201 Programming I. For the teaching methodology, rather than teaching the course in the computer lab as it used to be, each individual student was asked to bring his/her laptop, installed necessary software. By a lecturer, worksheets with exercises guiding students to advance their computer programming skills have been prepared and disseminated online via VMS portal.

Each week students are provided with a worksheet (with several exercises and guidance). Lecturer now acts as a facilitator coaching students to complete their tasks. Students go through given exercises one by one. If help is needed, the facilitator approaches the student. With this methodology, students are able to advance their knowledge and skills with their own pace. Unlike a traditional teaching and learning method, students have to work out very hard to catch up with lecturer’s pace. Some students may be able to catch up and some may note (as we all know most Thai students are shy and reluctant to break/stop lecturers for questioning).

What I have noticed during the semester, some students are more active, engaging the material, searching for answers/solutions on the Internet, asking more relevant questions, helping each other while others just sit quietly and do their work. To me, I am very satisfied seeing students trying to help each other to solve the problem. I have observed more interactions among students. This soft-skill is also important for their future life. However, it is very unfortunate to witness few inactive students in the class (although I have tried very hard to encourage them) and to observe that a number of students have withdrawn from this course. For academic-wise, I am satisfied with the number of students who pass the course and I have noticed that a sequence of materials provided to students should be revised regularly to suit each individual student batch.

To summarize this review, I would agree that ACL is a very interesting and promising initiative and could be a tool to change the way we want to transform AU students) providing that appropriate contents (exercises, case studies, etc.) are provided and the lecturers themselves change their attitude towards ACL. As it could become disastrous if lecturers just provide some materials and let students be on their own or search for solutions without proper advice/explanation (completely ignore the students). Both lecturers and students will eventually become inactive in the class and be on their own comfort zone until the class ends. Finally, of course, necessary technology-rich facilities should be considered and provided (sometimes the lecturer need to explain something to all students at once).

Mini project in data analytics for first-year IT students (first programming course)

A mini yet exciting project related to big data for first-year IT students (also welcome a student from Martin De Tours School of Management and Economics). After putting their effort and time in learning how to code with Python and practicing data analytics with Pandas, they got their first taste of the mystery of big data (data loading, cleansing, visualization and predictions). Let’s see how they perform……

5725210 Sunepha (Sunepha’s work)(data set)

6010163 Kan (Kan’s work)(data set)

6014085 Chawalit (Chawalit’s work)(data set)

6018302 Thinley (Thinley’s work)(data set)