By Leigh Pearson
Like all of you, the leadership team, faculty, and staff at Mahidol University International College (MUIC) and the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC) have been closely following Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) news and updates from the Thai Department of Disease Control and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The past few months have been a powerful reminder of how connected we are and how our individual actions really can impact the world around us and help to protect those we love most.
Similarly, since March, everyone at MUIC and PC has been working literally around the clock in some cases to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and ensure that we can continue to deliver the best possible education despite such difficult circumstances. For instance, in order to minimize physical interaction and prevent further spread of the disease, we were among the first to close our campuses and transition to online classes as quickly as possible. Indeed, faculty and staff have moved mountains in a remarkably short period of time to ensure that course materials can be accessed and effectively utilized through online platforms including live streaming video conferencing and other interactive distance learning technologies and techniques.
Many might assume that online education cannot be of the same standard due to the lack of face-to-face communication and interaction, and if it is not done properly, that is certainly true. However, everyone at MUIC has done their very best to make the transition to virtual classrooms as seamless and effective as possible. Senior management quickly assessed and selected the structural and technological changes and adaptations to be implemented, staff initiated the set up and administration of the various systems and technologies involved, and all the teachers did a fantastic job of sharing what they learned and conducting peer-to-peer training sessions to bring everyone up to speed. As a result, the response from instructors and students has actually been incredibly positive.
We also received some very gratifying and supportive comments from our students:
Miss Ratimaporn Suttivaree (Aom)
“Everything that I learned in this online course made me a bit surprised. It was very beneficial and effective, even though it was online.”
Ms. Methaporn Chodpattarawanit (Pammy)
“Students and teachers can interact well even learning online.”
Ms.Prapatsorn Wongsakornwisit (Prompt)
“They made it easier to study online than I have thought. I can understand lessons that are not too difficult but not too easy and I always received appropriate suggestions from teachers.”
Classes are set to continue online for the time being, until such time as it is deemed safe enough to return to campus. We understand that students miss the social interaction and activities traditionally available on campus, but please be patient and try to make the most of the situation that is before us. Even when physical classes resume, the safety and wellbeing of our students is, of course, our top priority, and every measure will be taken to ensure that everyone on campus follows strict guidelines on physical distancing and other preventative measures, but for now, stay focused on your goal of obtaining the best possible education in order to open more doors and create a brighter and healthier future once this pandemic is behind us.
We look forward to seeing you in class!
Mr. Leigh Pearson is an instructor at the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics. He obtained his MBA degree in MUIC.