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sanooki

Rajabhat lecturers now required to record videos for online courses

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This is my sixth year as a lecturer. Recently, there have been rumors of Rajabhat universities being low on funding. I have also been told that our pool of students here is dwindling due to decreasing enrollments. Our latest department hire has been given a 6 month contract instead of 1 year. So, when I was told many of us are being required to record video lessons for a new GED online curriculum, and for free, I have begun to worry a bit about our department's survival.

 

Personally, I have already spent about 2 days on this project, thought it was done, but find out they want it recorded again. I am not happy about this work for a few obvious reasons. I have never been asked to do extra work here for free. Sure, I've done charity with no complaint. This, however, is very time-consuming and is being asked at a point in the semester where I have very little free time as it is.

 

I question whether this work is even validly part of my job duties, since I was never hired to teach on video or online. I actually don't like the idea of having videos forever on the internet and prefer my teaching sessions to be unique experiences. I can't get any straight answers about it from my immediate "handler" up to my boss and above.

 

I figure if I go through with it, they could very well be planning to use these videos to obsolete my job. This would really be underhanded on their part. If I refuse to do it, of course this will be a black mark against me IF I make it to contact renewal time again in 10 months.

 

I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish by posting here. Sharing in case anyone is having a similar experience and also thinking it through out loud, so to speak.

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When I did online study at university in UK, we had very few of the recorded video lessons, but instead we had video conferences, which were far more engaging. It is a bad practice to have recordings in business World. The moment you say session will be recorded, half the participants switch to emails or Facebook or whatever they are doing, but they no longer pay any attention.

 

Online courses at good universities are attempted to be made as close as classroom feel as possible, with 2 way exchanges (alas sometimes in written form - in forums similar to this one), chat groups, video calls, video conferences, and alike. Playing someone a video is going to bore them anyway and in my opinion (from going through a few years of this from student side) won't come anywhere near video conference. Only way it could be done more "acceptable" would be very short videos of a few minutes each. A video lesson of 2 hours won't be watched by anybody.

 

That would also mean that your employer is considering something that they have little or no experience in, is likely to turn out terrible, and ruin the reputation and accreditation of the institution.

 

I can see why they are doing it. They are just doing it the easy way, which won't get them anywhere near where they would like to be.

 

As for you - make videos. Make them short. Make them so limited that they'll need to be redone every semester. I don't know what you are lecturing in, but if you compare your lecture (if that's possible) to very time-limited events that would make no sense 3 months later, it will be very hard for them to reuse the videos. The downside is that you would need to keep on redoing them.

 

Lastly, you might enjoy making 3-5 minute videos on subjects, play them to your students, and bring up the debate that could go for the rest of the session. Leaving that video with the students would remind them of the debate and their own opinions on it as well and possibly stick even more.

 

I'm not a lecturer but I was conducting training courses on some specialised software before after which students had to pass centrally administered exams. While I don't know what would work for your students, above would work for mine.

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Thanks for the reply. Of course, I left out some details in my original post, including that during our first sessions I brought up many issues that nobody had thought through, and predicted the results would not be quality product. You are right that they have no idea what they're doing. There was absolutely no planning. They ignored my concerns.

 

They booked some time in a campus studio, gave us topics, and told us to go make some videos. They had 5 five teachers working on one course, and each one used a different style and materials. I have worked in video and technology projects and have taken online courses, so tried to get across that this is quite different from classroom teaching. They are using their staff, none of them with video experience, to slowly figure out how they think it should be done. Reinventing the wheel.

 

You mentioned my subject and this is one of my other contentions with them: I teach English, which I believe requires much more interaction than many other subjects.

 

We don't really have the choice to make short videos, and I don't think they have thought at this point to use any conferencing or group software. They'll probably get around to it. Assessment was not mentioned.

 

When they first told me about this, they said it was a pilot to see how it might work out. I used a PowerPoint that I made from a decent book I had used for a special class I had taught. They want me to use this copyrighted material in a video that will potentially be seen by the publisher. They have now hired someone to redo all the presentations to match what looks like a grammar school style, but keeping the original copy. I'm sure the publisher will be thrilled if they ever see mine. Plus, it's riddled with English mistakes and does not function in its original sequence.

 

I don't want to be tied to this disaster, and so unfortunately am facing the likely end of my time at this illustrious institution. This might at least be entertaining reading for some...

Edited by sanooki
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If you have NHK World, they have "Japanese for business". That's how it should be done but your university doesn't have patience nor resources to get anywhere near that. English can still be done based on current events of the day - and swaying it to what you want to cover. Like if you were talking about grammar errors, you could pick some Trump Twitter bashing to show how not to form sentences. It would be really hard for someone to reuse 2 years old Twitter post.

 

On using copyrighted materials - don't do that. Instead of putting whole thing on the slide, put only a couple of key words, then talk about them. One thing that irritated me was someone putting microscopic text like A4 page worth of it onto a slide, then reading off the slide.

 

But while key words on slide forces students to take notes of their own (instead of just snapping up your slide) which is a difference between a good book and a lousy remake as a movie - it still doesn't come close to live interaction.

 

I think you care about your students more than your employer does. Maybe time to move to a more responsible institution?

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5 hours ago, emptypockets said:

Sounds like you are being squeezed out of thai culture. As are may others. Different boss now.

Well, whether it's intentional or not, I'm not sure. During the past three years, I have faced three major challenges: the first year, they caught out another veteran farang with "degree issues," so I was forced to prove my own degree. I was surprised they hadn't validated us when we began work. After surviving that, the following year I was told I needed a masters degree, and that I was about to hit retirement age. I got past that through a bit of policy discovery in the new law in question and some digging in the HR department, that basically said I was grandfathered in and that farang can work until 70. I was lucky to have some helpful friends to assist.

 

Now, I have this to contend with. I am the last Western farang in my department, as the other remainer in my cohort took off last year before I made my discovery.

 

The others were replaced with an Indian and a Philippina. Pretty good teachers. But, the fact they gave the last one in only a 6 month contract shows me it's not only about westerners.

 

The Thai friends who helped me before are toeing the official line now, because they are also being pressured. They think the only thing to do is to comply and have turned unhappy with my questioning ways. I feel we're pigs in a slaughterhouse.

Edited by sanooki
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5 hours ago, tomazbodner said:

If you have NHK World, they have "Japanese for business". That's how it should be done but your university doesn't have patience nor resources to get anywhere near that. English can still be done based on current events of the day - and swaying it to what you want to cover. Like if you were talking about grammar errors, you could pick some Trump Twitter bashing to show how not to form sentences. It would be really hard for someone to reuse 2 years old Twitter post.

I wish I had the freedom to do that.

5 hours ago, tomazbodner said:

On using copyrighted materials - don't do that. Instead of putting whole thing on the slide, put only a couple of key words, then talk about them. One thing that irritated me was someone putting microscopic text like A4 page worth of it onto a slide, then reading off the slide.

 

But while key words on slide forces students to take notes of their own (instead of just snapping up your slide) which is a difference between a good book and a lousy remake as a movie - it still doesn't come close to live interaction.

Yes. The problem here is that these are test prep sessions. They pretty much require test simulation, which would be very time-consuming to replicate using original material. There is not much copy outside these exercises. I got back one of my presentations, that had been re-done by some mysteriously contracted service in Bangkok, last night. It looks like they spent an amazing amount of time only to copy the text in my photos from the book and to render the flow unusable. To supervise them, through an intermediary, will no doubt take hours and hours.

5 hours ago, tomazbodner said:

I think you care about your students more than your employer does. Maybe time to move to a more responsible institution?

Yes, that's what I think I'm facing. I had a good run. This would have been an easier option a couple years back, but for me, now at that "magical age," not so much.

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I agree with your concerns.

 

About 30 years ago I was required to run distance education subjects for my university in Australia.  During the job interview and on the position duty statement, running distance education subjects was a requirement.  Against the wishes of my university, I copyrighted all my notes; university management asked, but not demanded, that my notes be copyrighted to the university.

 

About 20 years ago, distance education was phased out in favour of on-line delivery.  Materials were emailed to students, and the students were required to submit all assessment items via email.  Again, against the wishes of my university, I copyrighted all my notes; university management asked, but not demanded, that my notes be copyrighted to the university.

 

Then, about ten years ago, I was asked, like you, to video all my lectures, and put them on the university library we site.  I declined.

 

Unlike many of my colleagues, I updated and revised my lectures ever year.  Some of my students had done some online subjects and some with precorded lectures - in general, the students did not like these; they prefered a live lecture where they could interact with the teaching staff

 

Why did my university, and many others, change the teaching approach?  Mainly to reduce costs and capture more students.  The number of full-time permanent, tenured, staff in my department increased from about 10 in 1990, up to 15 positions in 1998, then down to 7 when Ieft in 2013 and now down to 3 in 2019.

 

This is the way many universities, globally, are going.

 

In Thailand, the weak Thai economy and falling fertility rates mean that the number of university students are declining, and universities are looking to reduce costs.

 

You video your lectures, and then your contract is terminated, or not renewed, and the university gets a graduate student or a junior staff member to run your subjects.  You refuse, your contract will be eventually terminated.

 

If you are a young or middle agedd academic, then time to look for more secure employment.

 

The general argument of many universities in Australia is that they pay your wages, so what you produce whiel employed by the university belongs to them - lectures, patents, discoveries, etc.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, JimHuaHin said:

I agree with your concerns.

 

About 30 years ago I was required to run distance education subjects for my university in Australia.  During the job interview and on the position duty statement, running distance education subjects was a requirement.  Against the wishes of my university, I copyrighted all my notes; university management asked, but not demanded, that my notes be copyrighted to the university.

 

About 20 years ago, distance education was phased out in favour of on-line delivery.  Materials were emailed to students, and the students were required to submit all assessment items via email.  Again, against the wishes of my university, I copyrighted all my notes; university management asked, but not demanded, that my notes be copyrighted to the university.

 

Then, about ten years ago, I was asked, like you, to video all my lectures, and put them on the university library we site.  I declined.

 

Unlike many of my colleagues, I updated and revised my lectures ever year.  Some of my students had done some online subjects and some with precorded lectures - in general, the students did not like these; they prefered a live lecture where they could interact with the teaching staff

 

Why did my university, and many others, change the teaching approach?  Mainly to reduce costs and capture more students.  The number of full-time permanent, tenured, staff in my department increased from about 10 in 1990, up to 15 positions in 1998, then down to 7 when Ieft in 2013 and now down to 3 in 2019.

 

This is the way many universities, globally, are going.

 

In Thailand, the weak Thai economy and falling fertility rates mean that the number of university students are declining, and universities are looking to reduce costs.

 

You video your lectures, and then your contract is terminated, or not renewed, and the university gets a graduate student or a junior staff member to run your subjects.  You refuse, your contract will be eventually terminated.

 

If you are a young or middle agedd academic, then time to look for more secure employment.

 

The general argument of many universities in Australia is that they pay your wages, so what you produce whiel employed by the university belongs to them - lectures, patents, discoveries, etc.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

Thank you. Very interesting story. I see that writing on the wall, so instead of trying to please them by spending countless hours, I am really leaning towards "damned if I don't." After finding out about my mate's 6 month contract, it sort of clinched it for me. Part of me is so damned stubborn though.

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2 hours ago, Asquith Production said:

As of 2018, students numbered 540,000, down from 600,000 for the 38 Rajabhat universities. So you could be right about savings been made.

 

Yes. Even this semester, we had some last minute schedule consolidation because there weren't enough students. I'm kicking myself because right before this all blew up, I had a new position lined up waiting for me, that I had secured through a Skype interview. (why is another story) Their HR blew things for me by calling my existing boss before I had even gone to see the place in person. I got the third degree and chickened out from going. Idiot me and my 20/20 hindsight.

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They are taking advantage of you and will likely not renew your contract from where I stand. A similar thing happened in the previous company that I worked for in the UK. They made us all write down instructions on how to do everything we did. A year later all the job losses came. 

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1 hour ago, alien365 said:

They are taking advantage of you and will likely not renew your contract from where I stand. A similar thing happened in the previous company that I worked for in the UK. They made us all write down instructions on how to do everything we did. A year later all the job losses came. 

Thank you. These confirmations have helped me to face up to reality. Stephehr, earlier, so eloquently pointed out what I need to do 🙂

 

I don't see why I should help them if it's going to be over with afterwards. My next step is to meet with my boss to plan out how long they will tolerate me here in the case that I refuse. I have a contract to next year, so it would be nice to draw a livable truce until then, but who knows.

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9 hours ago, sanooki said:

Thank you. Very interesting story. I see that writing on the wall, so instead of trying to please them by spending countless hours, I am really leaning towards "damned if I don't." After finding out about my mate's 6 month contract, it sort of clinched it for me. Part of me is so damned stubborn though.

If you are the only white face left, it's more likely they will keep you on. My friend from Trinidad with a U.S. Ph.D. teaches at KMITL, and when applying for work at better universities here recently,he always found that "it's all about the passport" which is the main reason he's going to give Thailand the bird and teach in S'pore. 

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