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Reflections from One of the Teaching Team, Lecturer Janella Christie About Online Teaching

Reflections from One of the Teaching Team, Lecturer Janella Christie About Online Teaching

My disappointment of not being able to teach face to face and spend some time in Vietnam was immeasurable when I made the decision not to go, at about 3am on Saturday 14 March, with the enforcement of Stage 3 restrictions in Australia. I was due to fly out at 11am that day. Australia had joined Vietnam in lock-down.

Some weeks later, at 11am Melbourne time and 8am Vietnam time, I clicked into the Zoom invite, as did Stephanie Wells, course coordinator in Danang, interpreters Ms Tran Ngo and Ms Quynh, 20 Year 2 BSALT students from Danang and 14 Year 1 MSALT students, all from their homes. This was a first for me to be online teaching for the best part of 7 hours.

The overriding challenge which I had anticipated, was that the course was not written for online delivery. For every hour of lectures, at least one hour of practical learning had been designated, but in fact most of the “lectures” were dependent on student participation and discussion.

I hadn’t quite predicted the protracted process required for the small group discussions on Zoom. For every group activity there was an explanation in English, a wait for the translation, organisation of the chat groups, monitoring the discussion via the interpreter and coordinator and finally, translation of the verbal/written feedback from the student groups into English for me to comment on. The time lag was unavoidable but somehow the spontaneity of teaching is lost. Without face to face cues, it is impossible to know if the students are understanding or confused, if they are enthusiastically discussing in small groups, if they need more time or are just patiently waiting. As the day progressed, I realised that teaching was going to be much slower than face to face.

Fortunately, the IT went very smoothly thanks to Steph who organised students into chat rooms, helped with sharing videos and was able to feedback re the levels of engagement during group discussion. I did notice I was checking the time continually across the two time zones and realised I needed a clock set to Vietnam time also, to minimise any confusion for me!

Although challenging, the teaching was still rewarding but I am looking forward to teaching the students face to face again.




Our database contains the locations of over 33 speech therapists and clinics located in Vietnam.

Graduate Stories

How Vietnam’s first 33 graduate speech therapists are helping the people who need them.

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