World against COVID-19. Our colleagues' thoughts about the situation: Muhammad Mahboob Ali

April 30, 2020

Muhammad Mahboob Ali, Professor of Economics, Finance, ICT and Entrepreneurship, Dhaka School of Economics, Bangladesh.

Pandemic change is highly correlated with ice breaker ideas

Before COVID-19, it was hardly believed in Bangladesh that full class exam could be held online. But due to pandemic situation, everything changes. In Bangladesh, classes of schools and colleges will be suspended till September 2020, depending on the gravity of the situation as directed by our respected Prime Minister. Government is trying to ensure education through Sangsad TV. Some private TV channels also arranged the "Amar Patshala" program, such as Mohana TV for Monipui School and colleges.
At the university level, I earlier used Skype or Zoom for limited group and limited time. But this time I switched to Google Meet. The reason behind Zoom this time is that earlier it could be used during 40 minutes only.
Students are getting interested in online classes. I have more than 40 students and time schedule per class is 1:30 hours, so I am using Google Meet. Google Calendar helps me to take class in fixed time and the link of the class. Further I linked with Google Classroom using Google Meet. Jamboard is also being used for better discussion, writing, erasing topics in an interactive manner. However, in Google Classroom, I am taking students’ attendance as well. Furthermore, in the classwork, assignment, quiz assignment, question, material, reuse of post is done. Students can submit their assignment by .doc files, .ppt slides, videos, etc. However, Google Calendar is used for confirming that in due time students can submit their assignment as I fixed the date. However, Google Meet has only one obstacle – an institution should arrange it. Otherwise, one can purchase, though there is an option for 14 days free trial.
I have completed two courses in this semester by Google Meet a few days ago. It should be more user-friendly by giving only one fixed link. Otherwise I have to keep link copy in Google Calendar. However, an advantage is that we can deny student (if unwanted) to enter the classroom. But like Google Classroom, if we can permanently add all students, then time won't be wasted as automatically each day we can start the class. Another problem is that the network sometimes disturbs, and mobile SIM operators, except Teletalk, all suddenly charge higher rate in this pandemic situation. Mobile operators should come with less cost effective rate like government-owned Teletalk internet service provider.
However, compared to other online class platforms, it is better. Even Google Hangouts accepts only 10 persons to discuss.
Pandemic situation creates disruptive innovation, especially in a developing country like Bangladesh. Though UGC, Bangladesh gave Zoom facilities to conduct classes through Bangladesh Research and Education Network, and the problem of taking only 40 minutes time has been solved.
But online final examination is not permitted by UGC, Bangladesh. Normally ice breaking ideas need time to adopt.