Open Distance Learning


By Deni Darmawan (Professor of Educational Communication at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia)

The world is currently heated up with a deadly virus, the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In various ways, agencies and organisations and even governments are calling for no more crowds in public areas. Activities in all areas that involved many people in one place such as activities in rooms, fields, halls, hotels, schools, classes, mosques, and other public places have been banned. Indeed some parties strictly forbid the gathering of people, but some are still debating it, especially in religious activities such as prayer in congregation and also the implementation of the teaching and learning process.

Questioning the solution of organising education and learning, the ministry of education and culture instructed educational institutions to be able to organise it online. Of course, this requires fast movement from all institutions of both public and private educational institutions ranging from early childhood education to higher education to prepare it quickly. Some universities in Indonesia such as UI, UGM, UPI, UNPAD, UGM, and UB as well as many other universities have done this open distance learning. Likewise in several schools starting from DKI Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has instructed learning in schools to use the distance method. These policies show that the educational process must not be interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

As a solution to manage learning activities, there are several strengths and at the same time alignment regarding distance learning or PJJ (Distance Learning), E-learning, ODL (Open Distance Learning), and Blended Learning, SPADA (Online Learning System), Online Learning, Web-based Learning, Google Chrome, Edmodo, Mobile Learning, SPOT (Integrated Online Learning System), and several terms with a variety of systems and support, apparently have been called as a solution for organizing learning in an emergency. If seen from the aspect of the speed and readiness of the level of literacy of educators in the efforts to organize electronic learning above, of course, the leaders must be wise in responding to it.

Some preparation in mastering and understanding the concepts and experiences in conducting this learning will be the main focus of an education. Whereas the fastest effort that can easily be done by educators ranging from kindergarten teachers, elementary school to college lecturers is to utilize the free open-source learning application such as Edmodo, Kahoot, and Ibuildapp. All of these application systems can be downloaded and installed straight from our mobile phones easily. Several subject matter can be easily made in the form of power points (PPT), as well as recordings through cameras that are on the educators’ cellphones. With these steps, the procedures and policies that may take a long time can be overcome immediately so that the learning process can be carried out properly.

Even in this emergency of the COVID-19 outbreak, we struggle that education and communication education should be maintained. As the data are updated today, on the 15th of March 2020 there have been around 61 tertiary institutions that have decided to conduct online learning. For this reason, the wise call for the implementation of online learning needs support from all levels of society, including formal recognition and the level of official legitimacy from the Ministry of Education and Culture in the future. Given this Online Learning system will be wiser, safer, cheaper, and will be able to realize the pillars of educational development quickly, especially the pillars of equity, access and governance independently so that educational units become accountable in their development. The affirmation of online learning, even the total ODL, is very important to be formally invested academically in the official policies of the Ministry of Education and Culture to the District Education Offices or cities to be held with official recognition. The benefits can be felt now that the implementation of online learning can be a solution when a plague strikes our country.

Likewise concerning the new Ministry of Education and Culture policy on the Merdeka Campus and Merdeka Belajar, then through this online learning system, the philosophies of free learning will be felt in practice.

Finally, viewed from efforts to foster the academic culture in the digital era, where the stakeholders of the education world who are still unsure of the implementation of e-learning or Distance Learning, at least can begin to understand it and dare to organize it. Thus the current problems or challenges can at least be managed as an input for stakeholders in policy-making as an effort to equalize the perception of the power of Open Digital Learning to be implemented equally. If every educational institution needs assistance in building this online learning system, then some teachers and lecturers are also graduates of Educational Technology. These teachers and lecturers can appear as educational technology or architecture in the development of innovative learning systems. Their existence has been regulated in Permenpan No. 2 of 2009 concerning Functional Positions of Learning Technology, then refined in Perpres No.22 of 2013 concerning Functional Position of Learning Technology Developers, where their role is expected to be able to implement a system of organizing PJJ in Chapter VII- Article 38 -52, Blended E-learning regulated in Permenristek Dikti No. 51 of 2018, article 52 concerning “Towards an Indonesian Cyber ​​Education Institution”. Thus, when an outbreak occurs, the legislation seems to be able to re-communicate the strength and readiness of Indonesia as a nation that is always ready in any condition to always be able to provide services and learning practices for its generation.

Hopefully, e-learning or Online Learning in which our nation has prepared legislation and is supported by several circulars now will be a hope for the future education system for a strong generation in facing various challenges like today. However, this Online Learning system must be used not only because of the Corona Virus outbreak (COVID-19). (Translated by Muhammad Azka Muharam)

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