Online learning at SASS
We help you make the jump to the “new normal”
At the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS), we benefit from Monash’s long-term plans and preparations for bridging the gap between active learning and online learning. Years of investment and innovation have led to an expansive network of education experts and academic staff that work closely to build a learning environment that is optimised for learning online. We interviewed current students and five lecturers on how learning online is no barrier to achieving academic goals at SASS.
Evon Goh Yi Wen, Foo Sing Yie, Evelyn Tan Yun Shin (Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences) and Ken Hubert Osman (Bachelor of Digital Media and Communication) have benefitted from the flexibility of online learning. The freedom to access and revise lecture contents helps them focus and study better at their own pace. Akriti Sethi (Bachelor of Digital Media and Communication), Abigail Lim Siu Mae (Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences) and Nadhifa Saraswati Prasetyo (Master of Communications and Media Studies) agree that Moodle, the University’s online learning platform, keeps everything they need for their studies conveniently in one place, while lecturers and tutors are always a Zoom call away, easing concerns about staying on track. Tiffany Nassiri-Ansari (Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences) attests that the sudden transition to online learning has not diminished her study experience, as all activities and assignments have been uniquely adapted to the online learning environment. Finally, Hibah (Diploma of Higher Education Studies) and Akriti Sethi feel confident that their online learning experience is training them in many essential skills necessary for their future workplaces as many industries go virtual.
In going virtual, SASS lecturers have taken this opportunity to refresh and refine their lecture content, improving and creatively optimising it for online learning. Here is how five of them have provided an enriching and robust learning experience online.
Dr. Jonathan Driskell, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, organises his weekly lecture contents into one easy Lesson on Moodle, so students experience the contents step-by-step and stay on track. To help students really understand the content, he also integrates a quiz or small activities into the lesson so students can evaluate their study progress and receive immediate feedback.
Dr. Emma Baulch, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies, uses personalised, adaptive and interactive learning technologies like Guroo modules to help students at various levels of understanding to achieve the learning objectives. Her Guroo module on how to read academic articles allows each student to get personalised coaching through an immersive digital scenario, with multiple choice questions and instant feedback through a chat-like interface.
Enthusiastic about redesigning her units for online learning, Dr. Sharon A. Bong, Associate Professor of Gender Studies, has refined her lessons into what she terms “micro lectures”, lecture videos that are theory-dense yet comprehensive. By keeping lectures short, she ensures students stay focused and have more time to study and practice the application of these theories through her interactive tutorial activities.
Learning from the Experts
Dr. Tan Meng Yoe, Lecturer in Communication, has seized the opportunity to enhance his lectures by integrating video clips from many other experts, thus building a total experience where students can learn many alternative perspectives to the same issue or theories by industry and academic experts. His students benefit from learning from many “guest lectures” in one virtual classroom, creating a more well-rounded learning experience.
More personalised feedback
In addition to integrating more multimedia elements to keep his lectures fun, relevant and engaging, Dr. Marek W. Rutkowski, Lecturer in Global Studies, takes great effort to provide more individual guidance through tutorial activities, email and regular Zoom consultations. Students who take advantage of these opportunities to stay in touch receive far more guidance and support on all aspects of their individual learning.
In addition to having all lesson contents on Moodle, students also benefit from the expansive library of resources provided by Monash. The library has many online interactive tutorials and guides, especially on referencing and academic integrity, and students can download any software they might need for their studies and research. Conducting research online is easy when Monash provides access to one of the widest ranges of online journals and databases.
Taking on online learning can be a big change and a bold new step. Our lecturers advise students to be inspired to take advantage of all SASS has to offer. Our lecturers encourage students to get in touch if they need help, keep up a study schedule, and to collaborate with classmates. At SASS, we believe in learning not just from lectures but from fellow students, tapping on the rich and diverse lived experiences of both academic staff and students to enhance the learning experience. Finally, our lecturers encourage students to remember to take breaks and get excited about this new chapter in their academic journey.