PROVIDING LEARNING SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WITH, AND WITHOUT SPECIAL NEEDS IN HIGHER EDUCATION DURING AND POST COVID-19 PANDEMIC
University of Nottingham (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Online learning is widely adapted by universities during Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia since the announcement of Movement Control Order (MCO) by the government in March 2020. Online learning had revolutionized today’s ways of education, and had opened up opportunities for teaching and learning communities to explore and improve their teaching and learning experiences. However, the abrupt shift from face-to-face into virtual classrooms provides little time for gradual change, and has created chaos with degrees of anxiety among students in universities especially students with special needs. The objectives of this research were to gauge University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) students’ perception on online learning and to identify the differences in learning experience of students with and without special needs. Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to collect data anonymously from students. The survey form was created as such that it allows students to indicate if they have special needs or not. Quantitative analyses reveals that most students (around 50%) were not satisfied with their online learning as they perceived online classes had affected the quality of their learning. Although they are satisfied with the supports of online teaching materials, they felt that emotional and mental supports are insufficient. Majority of the students prefer to talk to their lecturers instead of the staff from Wellbeing office. Only a small percentage (8.6%) of students without special needs (WSN) prefer to contact the Wellbeing office if they are mentally disturbed as compared to the students with special need (SN) (38.5%). About 28.6% of WSN students think online learning is better for them but not the SN students. None of the SN students think online learning is better for them to get advice and support from the lecturers. Qualitative data were subjected to thematic analysis. Five themes were identified pertaining to their feedback on online learning experience: interaction barriers, technical difficulties, lack of support, demotivated and distractions. The interaction barriers seems to be the biggest hurdle for students as online learning had limited interactions among peers and lecturers. Distractions during online learning had also caused anxieties among students. In terms of support, students felt there is a lack of emotional and mental health support from the university. The outcome of this research gives light to the way students with special needs’ perceive online learning. This study had proven that online learning is difficult for SN students. This call for universities to improve their implementation of online teaching to provide quality learning experience for students especially those with special needs.
Keywords: Covid-19, online learning, special needs, learning support.