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#HealthXPH: Learning together even when we’re apart

Schools have closed because of the CoVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear when schools will reopen completely. And so for several months, teachers and students have been apart but learning together. The theme of the recent activities launched by the UP System Committee on Remote Learning was Apart but Together. In relation to this, I was interviewed about my course pack journey.

What’s a course pack? A course pack is a collection of the learning resources, study and activity guides and assignments for a particular course. Ideally, the entire course pack should be given to the students before the start of the semester. As wifi is weak, spotty or nonexistent in many areas, sometimes the course packs have to be sent in printed format or on USB sticks (for students with gadgets). Imagine the work that teachers put into making a course pack and you’ll understand why sometimes, it has been called the curse pack.

On the interview, I was asked about what worked and what didn’t. I wonder if it will be the same if they asked my students! For all we know, what I thought worked, actually didn’t. In any case, I was asked about an unforgettable experience. I talked about the awkwardness of taking a group selfie on Zoom. Before the pandemic, if someone in my class had presented an awesome digital artifact or the class had perfect attendance (which didn’t happen so often as my grad students were working students) or even just everyone showing up in “the color of the day” unexpectedly – we’d take a groufie shot and post on social media. But online … it’s just different! The spontaneity is lost when you have to wait for everyone to turn on their camera. And then not everyone can even turn on their camera because of fluctuating wifi or the camera is just acting up at that very precise moment.

In the early months of the pandemic, I also followed many Filipino scientists whom I met on Twitter for the first time. Many Filipino academics and physicians are on Twitter now because stuck at home, online was a space where people can continue to converge and learn together. Join us for the #HealthXPH tweet chat 6 Feb 9 pm Manila time to discuss remote learning and Twitter. @rheumarhyme my grad student contributed the first two questions while @anueru432 contributed the third question.

T1. As a teacher/student, what worked for you in remote teaching/learning?

T2. As a teacher/student, what didn’t work for you in remote teaching/learning? Tell us about courses that really need face-to-face i.e. lab work, community rotations

T3. Learning outside the classroom: what can Twitter teach us?

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