When Facing the Pandemic, Higher Education Must Be Adaptable

The COVID-19 pandemic is still not over. Universities are required to adapt to this pandemic. Universities must make various efforts to adapt and at the same time make a real contribution to society in facing the pandemic.

That was the common thread in the opening of the Abdimas 3 Webinar organized by the Publication, Research and Community Service Institute (LP3M) of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, on Wednesday (11/11). The webinar with the theme “Technology Innovation and Information Technology Development in Post-COVID-19 Community Empowerment” was held as a form of university contribution to answer challenges regarding problems in community empowerment. This activity is also a discussion forum for academics to answer problematic challenges in society in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and to take steps to adapt to acceleration in the era of disruption to build a civilized society.

The Director General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Ir. Nizam, M.Sc., as the keynote speaker in the Abdimas 3 Webinar explained that several efforts have been made by universities to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, based on the Tridharma of Higher Education. These efforts include developing technological innovations and information technology, as well as the Merdeka Belajar program. “The output generated from this development is the existence of online learning that can be done by taking cross-study programs and across campuses, student volunteer activities, student independent projects, applied research with lecturers, and lecturer research especially related to pandemic mitigation in the form of applied research and the existence of community service,” he explained via an online medium.

In addition, adaptation is also carried out by utilizing learning technology for lecturers through the implementation of independent learning. “For example, collaborative and interdisciplinary online learning, student humanitarian volunteer activities (KKN Online), projects and independent research with lecturers, especially for socio-economic recovery. Then there is the reparation or improvement in the quality of online learning with assessment learning methods, management, conducting training or upgrading learning online for lecturers and students as well as improvement of lecture models. In addition, there is also strengthening and improvement of learning platforms and network infrastructure in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Information and internet providers, as well as the merah putih webinar platform and the SPADA ICE Institute,” said Nizam.

Nizam also stated that there are lessons that can be taken in dealing with this Covid-19 pandemic. Namely, the need to adapt quickly to the use of learning technology. “At times like this, whatever the challenges, work from home is no less productive than working in an office, and creative energy can even increase during the pandemic. More than a thousand inventions and innovations are produced by universities and the spirit of mutual cooperation is awakened and strong when facing the current pandemic,” added Nizam again.

The same thing was also conveyed by the Rector of UMY, Dr. Ir Gunawan Budiyanto MP IPM. According to him, Higher education has a role to provide solutions to problems in society, especially during the pandemic. “To respond to this challenge, higher education institutions should not stop having discussions about social impacts and solutions for handling it. The Abdimas 3 Community Service Webinar it becomes a forum for discussion to think about how and what solutions can be done to generate social and economic potential in the community. This community service webinar is also an academic transaction that emphasizes rationality to answer challenges and problems that occur in society. Hopefully, this Community Service Webinar will become a form of contribution from universities to solve problems with real proof solutions,” concluded Gunawan. (Sofia)

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