Learning disruptions from school closures were common in developing countries as academic institutions adapted to remote learning. Adoption of online learning was slow in parts of these countries where many students did not have access to the internet and educators came up with creative solutions to continue teaching. In online classes, the scope and amount of integrity issues has grown to include a new group of actions including paying someone else to complete assignments, taking exams on behalf of someone else, and submitting assignments with the input of other people or sources. How can academic institutions face these online learning challenges while instilling integrity principles?
I have found from speaking to academic institutions in Indonesia and the Philippines, that educators are still adjusting to teaching and keeping students engaged in an online environment. The rapid development of education technology solutions since the start of the pandemic has made learning resources more accessible, and has forced schools to rethink traditional approaches to teaching and learning. Pedagogical approaches that worked well in-person need to be revised to suit an online environment, so the focus is on educating instructors about the best practices of teaching online. Government programmes, such as Guru Penggerak in Indonesia, are providing training to help educators transfer their teaching and learning skills as well as augment their skills for an online environment.
Assessment and grading methods also need to be changed for online environments to deliver the outcomes intended for students and educators. Leveraging education technology empowers educators to better understand students' strengths and capabilities, improves teaching efficacy, course content, or assessment models, and provides fair, data-driven feedback to address learning gaps efficiently.
Priorities for establishing an effective blended learning environment
As academic institutions continue the transition to online education, taking these steps can help administrators ensure that education delivery is agile and responsive to future disruptions.
- Establish a system to help educators make informed and efficient evaluations of students' work, so they can focus on teaching efficacy and positive learning outcomes.
- Adopt online tools for delivering feedback to help educators focus on instilling 21st century skills such as critical thinking, and prepare students to face the challenges of a career after school.
- Enable educators to grow as professionals by helping them adapt to teaching online courses, creating opportunities for continuous learning and upskilling through certifications, encouraging participation in teaching organisations, and increasing collaboration with other universities in multidisciplinary fields.
- Implement learning tools that are more interactive and introduce methods that motivate students in an online environment to foster interactions with peers and with the instructor.
Integrity standards are an important reflection of the quality and depth of student thinking that can't be left out. For developing countries, the priority is to first equip teachers to effectively provide instruction online, then become more familiar with using more technology to support classes, and help them instil academic integrity in students. Developing these capabilities in education is critical to the future development of these countries.