Aimee-Sophia Puteri LIM
Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS)
In the final post on the use of Telegram as a teaching tool, Aimee reflects on how as a learner, the platform was a safe virtual learning space in which she could alleviate her shyness and actively participate in discussions and peer learning activities.
In this post, I will reflect on how using Telegram as a teaching tool in GET1050 “Computational Reasoning” enhanced my learning as a student. In my past year as an undergraduate, I have noticed how many of my peers rarely choose to consult their tutors and professors for help when they face difficulties. This is something I sometimes struggle with too, though this was not the case for me back in Junior College, where I built strong relationships with my teachers and consulted them regularly.
In university, on the other hand, my professors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) feel distant and even unapproachable at times, making it difficult for me to seek help. However, in GET1050, I overcame this problem due to how Telegram was used as a medium to ask questions and communicate with my peers and tutors.
As someone who is rather shy by nature, I take a while to warm up to tutors before I am comfortable enough to ask for help. GET1050’s online lecture format made this challenging for me, since it meant that I would need to email Mr. Sim for help if I faced any difficulties, which unfortunately I, for lack of a better word, was “paiseh” (embarrassed) to do. This was because I felt that sending emails would be too formal, and I was concerned that my questions would be deemed “not legitimate enough.” Fortunately, my fears were allayed thanks to the Telegram Helpline set up for us. This made asking questions easier as we could communicate quickly in real time in a more casual and less intimidating manner.
At the start, I was rather scared to ask questions on the Telegram Helpline as I was unsure of how to phrase them. I would type out a question but delete it repeatedly, trying to find the best way to phrase it before sending it. Sometimes I would just give up on asking the question altogether. This is a challenge that I believe many other students face too, which can be even harder to overcome than seeking help via email. Thankfully, I was able to overcome this hurdle by messaging Jonathan privately instead, where he assured me that it was alright if I did not know how to phrase my questions. This led me to ask questions in the Helpline and even answer questions that my peers had, bolstering my confidence and increasing my understanding of the module content. Moreover, the online discussions on the Helpline even led to real-life consultations during Jonathan’s clinic sessions as we felt comfortable enough to do so.
Additionally, the Telegram Helpline did more than just serve as a medium for seeking help; it also allowed me to see the progress of my peers. Knowing the pace of others appealed to my competitive side and motivated me to get started on the pre-tutorial assignments more quickly, preventing procrastination. I find that having such a medium is especially important with lessons that take place predominantly online which otherwise would result in little to no interaction with other students taking the same module. This is something I faced in other blended-teaching modules that I am enrolled in. While they also have channels for students to talk to each other, these platforms are not moderated by the module instructors, which I believe makes a huge difference in keeping the learning environment a nurturing one. The key difference is that on moderated channels, the moderators prevent students from blatantly disseminating answers. Moreover, the moderation by instructors also decreases the likelihood of students having the fear that their questions would be ignored or even ridiculed by their peers. Hence, Telegram aided my learning in keeping me motivated to try my best since I could see how my peers were doing, and it also increased my confidence when I could help them clarify their doubts, making me enjoy GET1050 even more.
All in all, I do feel that incorporating Telegram into the teaching of GET1050 was a great help in my learning as it created a safe space for me to seek clarifications when I had doubts. It enhanced my learning and I hope it can be implemented in other modules too.
Aimee-Sophia Puteri LIM is an undergraduate majoring in Global Studies and Sociology. She finds joy taking on challenges and overcoming them, and she embodies this in her work, both as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for GET1050 “Computational Reasoning”, and as a retail supervisor where she guides her junior staff and educates customers about the ethics of the brand she works for.
Aimee can be reached at email@example.com.