Educon Asia Conference – What I Learned

Last week I attended the Educon Asia Summit conference, the theme of which centered on Technology in Higher Education & K-12, and Workplace Learning & Development. Here’s what I learned from some of the many great presenters in the conference:

Keynote (Emerging Culture of Teaching & Learning)

IMG_2404 The keynote speech by Alan November provided some insights. He shared getting the students to create videos of their lessons (i.e. their understanding) is the most effective strategy in engaging students in lessons such as Maths, Science, Physics, and etc. The most important reason for their engagement and sense of accomplishment is sharing their knowledge with their peers. My burning question to Alan was whether there is any quality check by the teacher before the students post their videos, as their understanding of the lesson might not be accurate. Alan mentioned that the teacher who encourages the students to do so stays back with them and guides them through the video creation to ensure the content which is shared is absolutely accurate.
He was kind enough to put me through this fabulous teacher who created mathtrain.tv so that I could have a video conference with him to learn about his methods.

Global Ranking and Accreditation

The panel discussion over this topic highlighted some very interesting points. The question ‘why we rank the universities’ has been since in my mind. Phil Baty pointed out the reason for ranking is because we need to understand and help each other in global world of Higher Education. And that rankings are a significant tool for students. While so far some of the important criteria have not been counted in rankings, Phil added that they use four key pillars to capture with rankings: 1) universities core activities, 2) their world class teaching, 3) level of knowledge transfer, & 4) global outlook. Tony Downes, however, emphasized that people pay their utmost attention to different aspects of rankings, not merely the numbers stated in the papers and magazines, since in reality the quality of teaching is not captured. The new forms of rankings provide information on different aspects which are accessible in the ranking sites. Lastly, we need to establish benchmarks and quality management for Higher Education.

Effective e-Learning and Mobile Learning for Higher Education

Ashley Tan’s presentation was one of the most engaging ones. He used backchanneling to engage us in the discussion rather than being listeners only. The session started with sharing our views on the best and worst practices in eLeaning. He then shared we need to be clear for whom the best practice is for. For administrators, instructor, or learner? I thought to myself, of course it’s for the learner, but realized in practice this might not always be the case. He also emphasized to go Social in mobile learning, we need to switch the cores; the Content should be periphery and Social should be the core.

Developing Student Engagement Metrics

Kiruthika Ragupathi introduced us to different types of engagement other than the common ones which we’ve known so far. She categorized it into two main types of engagement, Campus and Class Engagement. Then each has its own sub-categories. Campus Engagement involves Psychological and Socio-cultural Engagement. And Class Engagement comprises of Cognitive, Behavioral, and Emotional Engagement.

Managerial Ambivalence of Academic Leadership

Pierre Tapie shared his recommendations for achieving talent employment after graduation. He suggested that we should design a system that all the stakeholders play their part effectively and share the same mission instead of contradicting each other. For example, what most of the students study or even score high might not be applicable when they are employed. These stakeholders comprise academic leaders, recruiters and even politicians.

He recommended we do more research on our graduates after employment and learn whether what they studied is perfectly aligned with what they have to do in their jobs. The faculties should stay in touch with their alumni and learn about this. Following that if there needs to be changes to the curriculum, they might need to have the support of recruiters as well. I thought this would be an amazing thing to happen. The industry working closely with the universities in order to convey what is really expected from the graduates.

Learning Space Evaluation

A very important point that I learned from Lisa Germany’s presentation was doing evaluations during the process of creating the learning spaces, and in the end sharing the results with the students. Most of us do end-of-the-course evaluation, when the course is already designed, and developed. Due to time constraint, we might just take the technical issues into account, rather than what could involve the course design as well. A very important thing I learned was sharing the evaluation results would certainly encourage most of the students to provide reliable feedback, as they learn this can affect them and the others.

I’ll be happy to hear your views on some of these insightful ideas.

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