Interview with Dr. Mattheus F. A. Goosen

1.  How has COVID 19 changed the future for education sector? What has been the biggest challenge for this sector in these times of crisis?

In the past it was basically all in-person teaching and on-line teaching was frowned upon by many academics. Now virtual teaching and hybrid teaching has become the new normal. Band width for good connectivity and learning how to lecture wearing masks have been challenges for many academics.  Furthermore, new regulations are being developed on how to deal with students who may have been infected by being in contact with a COVID 19 positive individual. How do we know if a student is telling the truth or if the student is just trying to get out of writing a test or exam.  At Alfaisal University we have hybrid teaching so students have to come to labs part of the time as well as to some of the in-person lectures.

2. How has technology changed operations for all aspects of the education industry?

If COVID 19 had hit 20 years ago then the education sector would not have been able to handle it.  However today due to developments in IT and increased bandwidth & speed such as 5G, the education industry was able to adjust relatively quickly. This includes, students, faculty, administrators & support staff.

3. According to you which area of education sector will witness maximum use of emerging technology in the next 5 years?

Lecturing, student presentations including graduate thesis defences, report writing, and possible online exams will all see maximum use in the next 5 years

4. As the crisis imposes immense setback for teachers to impart knowledge, how do you think their concerns and wellbeing can be addressed?

Hybrid teaching which is a combination of mainly virtual teaching and limited in-person teaching is the new normal.  Social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands must be practised by all to help allay fears. There is also the concern of students who have senior family members at home with underlying medical conditions.  Faculty & administrators must be transparent in showing how everyone is being protected thru quarantines where necessary.  It is crucial to be sensitive to student concerns..

5. How do you think attendees will benefit from Saudi Education Technology Summit?

Attendees will benefit from the Saudi Education Technology Summit by being able to compare what has worked well & what has not worked so well with respect to online/virtual teaching.

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