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New norms and opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in a higher education setting: perspectives from Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Masitah Shahrill (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Mohamad Iskandar Petra (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Lin Naing (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Joanna Yacob (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Jose H. Santos (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Anita B.Z. Abdul Aziz (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 20 January 2021

Issue publication date: 20 April 2021

1453

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to share how it was possible to change the way business was conducted in a short period in order to continue the academic semester and seek alternatives to manage the day-to-day university affairs in the midst of a pandemic crisis at a higher education setting. As a result, the authors’ experiences have created new norms and opportunities for the university.

Design/methodology/approach

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Brunei Darussalam is an evolving situation with extraordinary challenges for staff and students of the university. Although the campus remains open and essential services were continuously provided, the university had to implement and adapt to new norms instinctively to minimise the potential pathways for community spread of the coronavirus and at the same time minimise interruption in teaching and learning.

Findings

Firstly, structured blended learning will be the basis of teaching and learning, alongside ensuring the highest quality of online education and successful achievement of the intended learning objectives. Secondly, blended learning will open more opportunities to offer programmes in a more flexible, personalised, student-centric and lifelong learning manner, with the option of taking a study hiatus at students' convenience. Thirdly, there will be more global classrooms and the exchange of online modules with international partner universities. Fourthly, short programmes such as the Global Discovery Programmes will be modified and improvised to become an online learning experience. And finally, there will also be the opportunity to understand and consider the physical and mental well-being and durability of the university community in overcoming a national crisis situation.

Originality/value

This paper is intended to be a conceptual paper where the authors describe novel experiences during the pandemic. The authors’ views, interventions and experiences may result into a new model for higher education that will reposition students to the new global markets and economy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to all the staff and students at the university for their cooperation and continuous support.

Citation

Shahrill, M., Petra, M.I., Naing, L., Yacob, J., Santos, J.H. and Abdul Aziz, A.B.Z. (2021), "New norms and opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in a higher education setting: perspectives from Universiti Brunei Darussalam", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 700-712. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-07-2020-0347

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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