The teaching and learning culture around the world shifted almost overnight due to the pandemic. Where once students connected with each other, and their educators physically, now it has swiftly moved into a virtual realm. This shift has resulted in the IMU Psychology teaching and learning process also adapting to the virtual platform within a week of the announcement by the Ministry of Higher Education back in 2020. Looking back at how much we had progressed since then till today reflects teamwork not only between colleagues in IMU but also between academicians and students.
IMU Psychology programme has always been known for its small group teaching and learning activities, and the benefits of this system was further exacerbated during this shift to the virtual environment. Our final semester student, Chong Junn Haw (photo on the right) mentioned that despite shifting to online classes, he still felt connected with his lecturers and friends as there were in constant contact with each other.
Agus Alysha Nadia shared that having small group learning opportunities create an environment where the lecturers can engage with the students a lot during class giving them one to one attention where possible. She also added that tutorials have continued to remain enriching despite being online. One of the perks of having online classes is that it is recorded, which allows students to review the recording at their convenience during revision.
Another highlight of the online learning experience in IMU, according to Agus, is that the examination questions have predominantly been higher order thinking questions, which allows for more application and analysis related questions, bridging the gap between theory and practice. This allows the students to think outside of the box testing their understanding instead of merely testing their ability to memorise.
|Importance of Mentor – Mentee System|
|Avila Amanda, Psychology Club President added that she transitioned to online classes only after a week of physical classes at IMU. She explained that the transition was manageable because she could approach the lecturers easily and stayed in contact with her classmates using multiple platforms, one of it being in WhatsApp. She further added that her classmates constantly checked on each other, which acted as a strong support system especially during the initial adjustment phase of shifting to the online platform. Avila also stressed on the importance of having her mentor, Dr Nicole who constantly kept in touch with her. She said that Dr Nicole’s gentle and approachable nature helped her to reach out whenever she needed the support. IMU has always taken pride of its mentor and mentee system, which has been helpful to thousands of students during the pandemic. Each academician in IMU plays an important role of providing emotional support amongst other forms of support to a group of students assigned to them. The students are usually introduced to their mentors during orientation so that the mentors can assist them in getting adjusted to the IMU culture.|
Psychology students in IMU have also continued their internship despite the pandemic with most of them working from home or physically at psychology centers or hospitals, when it was allowed. Junn Haw mentioned that having the final part of the internship online helped him prepare himself for the work from home culture for his upcoming work life upon graduation.
IMU psychology team inclusive of the staff and students have certainly bonded more over the pandemic as we clearly understand the psychological impact of the pandemic. We, in the Psychology Department, strive in ensuring that the quality of education of our students is not compromised during the pandemic and hope to continue supporting our students in achieving their goals.