E-PRASMO is a learning tool that was developed as a solution provider to its’ users, mainly the academic staff and the students involved in the Practicum course in Faculty of Major Language Studies (FPBU). The construction of the e-learning platform was initiated as a result of the Teacher Graduate Programme (TGP) that FPBU was entrusted upon. However, under the Teaching Practicum course (EAZ4214). which involved 275 students (cohort 1) consisting of in-service teachers, requires the appointed supervisors cum lecturers in the faculty to travel across the Peninsular to supervise their students in their respective schools located in various parts of the country. Subsequently, due to the diverse range of school locations, the faculty is faced with an enormous sum of expenditure amounting to RM 184,250 in the form of travel claims, lodging and daily allowance for lecturers.
Solutions to the high expenditure on the Practicum Course were looked into by the faculty members involved, headed by the Head of the Education Programme at that time, Dr. Ramiaida Darmi, along with the TGP Coordinator, Dr Haliza Harun (research group members) and other representatives of the faculty management board. Alternatively, this had led them to decide on requesting the in-service teacher trainees to record their teaching activities and to store the activities into a compact disc (CD). The disc was then sent to their assigned supervisors, along with their teaching record book (RPH). The implementation of this decision has brought about the construction of e-PRASMO version 1.
E-PRASMO version 1 is then enhanced or upgraded with the use of Global Open Access Learning System (GOALS) – a learning management system (LMS) that is managed by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). GOALS is a repository tool that encompasses features to upload reference materials, notes, examples, e-briefings and scoring forms for the university’s teaching and learning purposes. In the case of the teaching practicum course, the teacher trainees however, were still required to submit a CD recording of their classroom activities along with a teaching record book (RPH).
E-PRASMO version 1 also participated in i-INOVA 2015 held by USIM, and was fortunate to bag the bronze medal award in the competition. Subsequently, this has intensified further effort for the researchers to improve on the current version. To generate a more systematic and comprehensive improvement, an Action research grant of RM10,000 was awarded by USIM, following an application request for grant made by Dr Noor Saazai Mat Saad, the Head of Education Programme, FPBU in 2016.Hence, research began with a review of the students’ perceptions from the 2 cohorts at that time, regarding the use of e-PRASMO. Through the findings obtained via short questions posted in Google Form as well as brief interviews conducted with the students, the study found that many of the students indicate their preference in having discussion with their supervisors in relation to their teaching practicum activities.
This has led to e-PRASMO version 2 with further improvements to the features. This is to ensure a more effective communication between the supervisors and the students. These include:
1. Using the online forums platform for consultations and feedback
2. Using the YouTube platform to upload a recording of teaching practice exercise and a link is placed on the online forum for the appraisal lecturer to have access to the recordings e-PRASMO version 2 has also bagged medals at the national and international level which include 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze. Additionally, writings regarding e-PRASMO version 2 were also published in scholarly publications in the form of proceedings, journal articles as well as a book chapter while a manuscript documenting its’ findings is currently waiting for review to be considered in an international publication.
Function of the product
E-PRASMO functions as a virtual online training platform that fulfills the 21st century teaching and learning (TL) requirements. It supports good teaching practices, and addresses issues regarding high cost constraints as well as unproductive time spent that exist in traditional teaching practicum supervision.
In essence, e-PRASMO serves as:
i. A repository of TL supporting materials related to the teaching and evaluation process (E-guide, e-form, e-sample, e-reference, e-note).
ii. An additional mode of delivery / support for teaching practice (e-workshop) courses in addition to face-to-face sessions.
iii. An interactive platform between Supervisors and Supervisees to deliver feedback and create self-reflection (Forum).
iv. A platform to submit teaching practice assessment materials (TL video and daily lesson plan (e-RPH).
The challenges of material production
e-PRASMO 2.0 is an enhanced electronic practicum assessment model from the e-PRASMO 1.0 version. It was originally constructed to address the issue of high cost that exists in traditional teaching practicum supervision (i.e the need for Supervisors to make visits to the teacher trainee’s school located in various states).
Additionally, findings obtained from a survey conducted on e-PRASMO 1.0 also revealed that due to the requirement of having to send 2 sets of CDs (TL 1 & TL 2) containing the teacher trainees’ classroom activities along with their daily teaching plans (RPH) to the supervisor, technical problems such as reverse images, no image or even problems in audio-quality were also avoided.
Moreover, as the teacher trainees had to submit their CDs and RPH books at the end of semester, such problems encountered were not able to be successfully solved due to the constraints of time and communication problems encountered by the supervisors. In this case, many of the supervisors reported that they were unable to make contact with the relevant teacher trainees to rectify the issues for the purpose of grade improvement. Subsequently, there existed a few small cases whereby the teacher trainees were found to obtain a high score in their TL1, but only received lower or ‘0′ scores for their TL2 (due to technical problems).
Taking into account the problems encountered above, e-PRASMO 2.0 has been developed to include enhanced features such as ‘Consultation / Reflection Platform’ that allows the trainees to interact with their Supervisor and to receive multiple feedback regarding their proposed classroom activities and the quality of recording of their TL1 and TL2.
This also involves using the GOALS platform features (learning system @ Learning Management System) by the trainees (Teachers) and Supervisors for consultation and repository purposes to enable them to interact in the Virtual Forum (asynchronous) for feedback and task descriptions, and format (e-workshop, e -RPH, e-notes, SOP, e-rubrics). Interestingly, one unique feature that can be found on e-PRASMO version 2.0 is its’ compatibility to allow the recorded TL videos to be uploaded via YouTube platform and shared into the e-learning platform, hence abolishing the use the compact discs.
However, other challenges faced in relation to the development of e-PRASMO 2.0 at present, include also:
i) Server instability and slow WIFI speed (Delay in terms of getting feedback & uploading videos)
ii) Trainees’ are not IT-savvy (Require initial training and regular workshops to be conducted on e-PRASMO usage and procedure)
iii) the absence of a stand-alone platform for e-PRASMO 2.0 (It is currently operating via GOLAS USIM platform)
e-PRASMO application is developed to address the issue of monitoring the teaching exercise in the existing teaching Practicum, particularly in the TL process as a result of the constraints faced by the supervisors and the teacher trainees, such as time, financial constraints and location distances. As an online learning kit, e-PRASMO is therefore, a practical solution due to its’ ability to maintain the traditional way of face-to-face supervision. It can be widely accepted by the relevant community – mainly involving the academic experts across the country.
Besides functioning as a repository of learning materials, it is also a teaching tool that offers its’ students with effective guided feedback. Moreover, the ease of access in areas with internet coverage, also helps to provide an effective communication platform that allows a two-way interaction between the supervisors and students during the supervisory process despite the constraints in the distance.Most importantly, the introduction of the e-PRASMO application is viewed as timely due to the rigorous effort taken by the country’s educational institutions in seeking alternative solutions to not only save their operating costs and at the same time providing efficient and quality learning facilities. Hence, the e-PRASMO application can be used in online programmes introduced by the Ministry of Higher Education such as the 2u2i Programme which was introduced to promote service and work-based learning experience in collaboration with related industries as it allows for the platform to be used off-campus during the students’ internship period provided by the industry concerned. Additionally, the features available in e-PRASMO are also compatible with current market demands as it indirectly emphasizes 21st-century learning and teaching skills. It also hones skills to communicate virtually, and enhances their knowledge in the use of the latest technologies such as the use of video uploading applications, and other teaching and learning materials.
These sharpened skills will not only provide the students with the necessary self-study values but will also increase the market capability of the national public universities. In addition, the use of this learning platform should not only be restricted to supervision in the field of education such as teaching practicum but instead, is applicable to be utilised for other types of supervision for the purpose of students’ industrial training in various academic disciplines. This is due to the main function of e-PRASMO that acts as a monitoring tool for supervising outside-campus learning activities such as industrial training.
In other words, the use of the e-PRASMO application can also transcend to other academic fields such as entrepreneurship, as well as technical training required by students outside campus. This is because the e-PRASMO application is able to provide a unique platform that blends theoretical knowledge and student working experiences with the assistance guidance from experts and their industrial supervisors during their learning process. Through online practicum innovation spearheaded by e-PRASMO, it is hoped that other supervisory activities, for other areas such as entrepreneurship as well as technical field that require industrial training, or even other off-campus working courses or programmes and industrial engagement, will benefit from the features that e-PRASMO has to offer. Such programmes or courses may benefit from the e-PRASMO application that has been proven to address the constraints of costs, timing, quality and energy in existing supervisory activities. Importantly, E-PRASMO helps to fulfill the needs of supervisory activities by maintaining the basic elements of supervision that help connect students to their real working world.
Dr Noor Saazai Mat Saad
Dr Ramiaida Darmi
Dr Fariza Puteh Behak
Dr Haliza Harun
Pn Norhana Abdullah
Pn Normazla Ahmad Mahir
Dr Suraini Mohd Ali
Dr Nurkhamimi Zainuddin
Pn Zarina Ashikin Zakaria
Pn Norhaili Massari