With long period of lockdown from COVID-19 pandemic, universities have been closed and all teaching and learning have to move online. There are many challenges in online teaching. These are the ability to inspire and motivate students to learn despite limitations, overcoming technical issues along with the lack of in-person interaction which is critical in certain types of learning such as motor skills which forms the fundamental parts of learning in certain professions including pharmacy. While these are the common challenges, students and teachers may struggle in different ways in some aspects.
Due to the nature of pharmacy subject, laboratory practice is very important to instill complex motor skills along with the use of a wide array of chemicals and laboratory instruments to make both solid (tablet and capsule) and liquid dosage forms (a solution, a suspension or a cream). When it comes to teaching skill labs, especially on how to use complex motor skills to accomplish certain tasks or how to operate instruments, one can imagine that it is almost impossible to just watch a video and be able to obtain complex motor skills without touching the real thing. As a result, a new way of teaching lab distantly is needed. That new way must provide the best possible alternative way of learning which not only increase the student's motivation to learn but also provide the students with real or close-to-real experience.
Thanks to a number of creative minds among the academicians, the Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University decided to pursue the idea of sending some basic and light instruments along with safe alternatives of chemicals to students at their homes so that they can use those instruments and those chemicals to conduct the experiment at their homes. In addition, many household products contain safe chemicals that possess certain chemical characteristics that can replace chemicals in the lab for student's home experiments. Through this way, the students can use these light instruments along with safe chemicals to practice along with the teachers during the online session. For live session, the teachers can also observe and provide direct feedback on both the motor skills and final products from the student's experiment.
When the Faculty started to implement this idea, our focus was to support our students to learn during this difficult time and try not to let the pandemic stop us from doing our job. To our big surprise, our attempts seemed to touch the hearts of the students. One of the third year students posted a message on her Twitter account and gave compliment that she was so impressed with how the Faculty cared so much about the learning experience of the students by sending lab instruments along with safe chemicals via parcel to be delivered to the student's residence. That one post went viral on Thai social media and drew national attention both from the social media and news media. The impact went beyond our imagination since this news helped stimulate other universities to creatively think about how to improve the learning experience of their students. As a result, despite our surprise, we feel very happy to see that the impact of our works help inspire many to follow which leads to the benefit of the society as a whole. This initiative is also featured on the Elsevier South East Asia Newsletter in 2021.
สงวนลิขสิทธิ์ © 2563
ออกแบบและพัฒนาโดยงานเทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศฯ คณะเภสัชศาสตร์ ม.มหิดล