Coping with Distant Learning during the COVID-19 Crisis

As Governor Anies Baswedan declared that all schools are to close in Jakarta, Sampoerna University suspends all face-to-face classes effective on 16 March 2020. However, it does not mean that students are unable to study as they should. The university has strategically developed procedures to adapt to this evolving situation to maintain instructional continuity during these challenging times. The instructions will resume through distance learning with Canvas tools. In the meantime, access to remote services including library resources, will be always available.

Sampoerna University is not alone. Million other schools around the world have also been impacted by the pandemic. In Jakarta, with most schools and universities shut down even before official rules on social distancing went into effect, the transition has been very abrupt and uncertain for many. With Large Scale Physical Distancing extended in Jakarta until at least May 22, schools will continue to function online.

AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) held a special forum on the situation on Thursday, April 23, to look at the challenges for schools, students and parents. Based on the above experiences and practice of online learning, Sampoerna University was invited by AmCham Indonesia’s Education and Workforce Development Committee to speak at an online meeting attended by all of its members.

“One main benefit of online learning is that schools are learning more about how students engage online, and how instructors react to the new reality, “stated Dr. Lauren Clarke (Vice Rector of University Collage and International Relations) at the event.

As the Indonesian government finally allowed schools to pursue online options without interference, Lauren further spoke that innovations can then emerge from these tough times. “This can prove to be no exception as elements of online learning will be with us for some time to come, even after schools reopen,” she added.

The discussion focused on experiences of Jakarta schools with online learning during the current COVID-19 crisis. They invited Sampoerna University along with other renowned public and private institutions in Indonesia from University of Indonesia (UI) to Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS). Sampoerna University is the one and only private university speaking at this virtual event.

The event aimed to address several questions around the challenges and issues of learning during the pandemic facing millions of students around the globe, such as “How has online learning unfolded for Indonesia’s schools?” or “What comes next?”.

A panel of senior educators joined the event: Tarek Razik (Jakarta Intercultural School), Stephanie Riady (Sekolah Pelita Harapan), Dr. Lauren Clarke (Sampoerna University) and Suzie Sudarman (University of Indonesia) spoke about their experiences and fielded questions from more than 50 participants during the event, which was held under the auspices of AmCham’s Education and Workforce Development Committee. (*/)