Recap SIMGE Education Conference 2022

Education Conference 2022 “Pedagogical transformation in the age of digital learning” on 3 December
SIMGE Academic Development had the privilege to welcome over 160 associate lecturers, staff, and Overseas Partners from Malaysia, Indonesia & Philippines in our Hybrid 11th Education Conference 2022 “Pedagogical transformation in the age of digital learning”, which took place at SIM, Performing Arts Theatre and online on 3 December 2022.  

A special word of thanks you to our keynote speaker, Professor Belinda Tynan, and to our panellists: Resident director, Dr Kevin McKelvey, with University at Buffalo, Dr Zhang Jianlin with University of London, and SIM Global Education, Dr Joshua Wong, as well as Academic Director for RMIT-Professor Mark King. The conference serves as a great opportunity for academic staff to network and stay in touch with the latest educational trends, all of which will support their online learning implementation for the enhancement of SIM student learning outcomes. 

At 9.30 AM, SIM President & CEO Mr Seah Chin Siong, graced our event with his presence to welcome our esteemed guests, expressed his appreciation and support for the faculty and emphasized the importance of continuing professional development in the education field.  

SIM Vice-Provost Dr. Timothy Chan opened the event with an overview of 2022’s achievements, including SIM GE’s attaining the EduTrust Star award in August 2022. An impressive feat, which all SIM faculty has contributed to with the sound pedagogical foundation in their everyday teaching. He also offered a further into the Horizon 2025 key initiatives. Given the changing landscape of higher education, we continuously strengthen SIMGE capabilities for flexible learning approaches, digital resources, and online assessment management. In the coming year, the Academic Division is formalising a framework of content/e-content development processes, including different approaches to pedagogy as well as educational tools to support teaching and learning. We will also continue to explore whether online programmes can be offered in a modular and/or stacked approach, including duration and intensity of programmes to be more flexible to complement students’ career and/or lifestyle demands.  

Given in increase of focus in SIM for online / blended learning, the conference theme is set at Pedagogical Change in the Era of Digital Learning. Two keynote speakers were invited: 

Professor Belinda Tynan, former Provost of ACU, Australia and previously held multiple leadership roles in RMIT, The Open University, and Future Learn. We enjoyed the insights of Professor Belinda Tynan on the challenges and opportunities for higher education teaching staff as we emerge from the global pandemic in her keynote speech “How Higher-Ed faculty can embrace digital transformation in their teaching role”. Key take-aways form this session are: 
  • Shortages in qualified staff create a shift in high-demand skills, like critical thinking, creativity, and resilience, calling for short courses and upskilling of the workforce. 
  • Trends in education do not only focus on hybrid and online learning but also increase the demand to align courses with market needs and to offer short courses to improve skills an employability.  
  • For undergraduate degrees, the learning experience on campus and off campus will be essential; quality education, flexibility and added value in addition to the degree. 
  • For faculty the practicalities of these changes will be a challenge they can meet with sound pedagogical foundations on which to build the technical solutions for the future. 

During our panel discussion, Professor Tynan, Academic Director for RMIT-Professor Mark King as well as Resident Directors for University of London – Dr. Zhang Jianlin, University at Buffalo-Dr. Kevin McKelvey, and SIM Global Education-Dr. Joshua Wong, and moderator Assistant Dean, Dr. Maylyn Tan, discussed the challenges and opportunities in higher education pedagogy during the digital age. Some key challenges and opportunities discussed are:  
  • An opportunity for the future of universities is to rethink the reasons why students need to be on campus in terms of learning, social interaction, motivation and working together to construct knowledge. Universities can offer a holistic approach when it comes to the campus experience.  
  • A challenge is the tensions between policy and practice in terms of student expectations and experiences. Student expectations may clash with good pedagogical practices, making expectation management an essential factor to optimize learning.
  • A factor to consider in all challenges and opportunities is student capabilities as universities balance between student engagement, motivation, learning and flexibility. Brain development as well as psychological development in young adults post-covid may influence the practical application of pedagogical design in the classroom.  
  • Opportunities present themselves in program design to support student motivation by constructing programs to enhance the vision of their future career and how the skills they learn lead them there, i.e., by reorganizing the order of courses for a more engaging combination of necessary foundation courses as well as offering more insight in practical applications of the profession.  
  • New opportunities arise when controlled experimentation with pedagogical practices by faculty are supported by the institution. Although this will increase the workload for the faculty involved, it may lead to new insights and innovative pedagogical practices and applications.  

Professor Gilly Salmon, author of several books including E-tivities, E-moderating and originator of the 5-stage model, conducted the pre-conference webinar on 3 Dec. She also shared a recorded keynote titled “May the Fourth Be with You”. As a pioneer in digital pedagogy, she presented on her four key thresholds through learning to support institutional teaching missions on pedagogical innovation & learning transformation. Key take-aways form her sessions are:  
  • The technologies that underpin further developments and applications of the Internet as we head into the third decade of the 21st Century, are powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Fourth IR and Industry 4.0). During her webinar “Education 4.0”; she explicated what it might look like, how we can learn and partner with each other, and most importantly how we might positively reconstruct Higher Education to meet and create the future.  
  • New roles for “Teacher 4.0” the next decade will not only challenge us to reinvent learning for this new kind of distributed, dynamic, and ultimately more creative workforce. It will also inspire us to re-envision the tools, practices, and standards of assessment for the infinity of pathways that tomorrow’s learners and workers will pioneer to create their uniquely meaningful lives.
  • Institutions need to be very clear what their vision is, within an easy articulated and distinctive ‘brand’, for delivering them in the future. 

SIM is looking forward to facing these challenges and seize the opportunities with renewed inspiration thanks to the insightful contribution of our speaker and panelists. At 1.00 PM, the Education conference was concluded with an emphasis to embrace Higher Education in supporting all our students to “Learn for Life, Thrive for Life” in the age of digital learning.  

Prepared by Academic Development