The Covid pandemic has caused the largest disruption of the education system in history, affecting almost 80% of the students across 150 countries, experts have said, calling for better digital infrastructure for the seamless success of e-learning initiatives in emerging economies like Bangladesh.
At a recent webinar, titled ‘E-Learning and the Future of Higher Education’, experts from Bangladesh and the US weighed the pros and cons of the e-learning system. The webinar was organised by McWeadon Education (McWeadon.com) Bangladesh in collaboration with Faith Bangladesh.
Prof Md Fayyaz Khan, the Vice-Chancellor of Bangladesh University of Business & Technology (BUBT), shared mixed feelings about the preparedness of Bangladeshi universities during Covid-19.
He highlighted the challenges of online teaching and learning that included internet connectivity issues, high-cost mobile data and power failures. Prof Khan also asked for a holistic approach to preparing both private and public universities to cope with the current challenges in higher education.
The keynote speaker, Dr Chris Dede, a professor of learning technologies at Harvard University, shared his four-decade-long experience and insights on distance learning in higher education. He emphasised the importance of life-long learning and stressed on the partnership of human and artificial Intelligence. To a poser, he expressed his keen interest in leveraging his resources to promote higher education in Bangladesh.
Dr Joseph Rene Corbeil, Professor of Educational Technology, Teaching and Learning, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, emphasised on the capacity building of respective faculties through more investment and resources in order to make the distance learning initiatives successful amid the pandemic.
On his part, Dr Reggie Smith, the Executive Director of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), shared the best practices and challenges for distance learning in the context of the US. To address the challenges faced in a developing country like Bangladesh, he suggested developing collaborative efforts with universities in the US and also expressed his interest to extend the liaison of USDLA with McWeadon Education in Bangladesh.
At the webinar, Dr Badrul Huda Khan, President of McWeadon, shared his octagonal framework on e-learning and blended learning at the webinar and emphasised on the collaboration of all stakeholders (institutes, faculties, students and communities) to ensure meaningful usage of technology in the field of higher education.
McWeadon Education President Dr Badrul Khan, Professor of Educational Technology Teaching and Learning of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Dr Joseph Rene Corbeil, also spoke at the virtual event during the weekend.