A virtual academic roundtable discussion focusing on teaching International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in an online learning environment was held on 29 March 2021, involving a think
tank across the Asian region, including Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Timor Leste and Morocco. This event was jointly organized by the Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia (UiTMLaw) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
This roundtable discussion offered an opportunity for academicians in the region to learn from
each other and share ideas on teaching IHL in a flexible learning environment. The initiative was in response to a significant shift in the teaching approach that was forced upon universities and learning institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The roundtable discussion reveals that teaching IHL during a pandemic is challenging as some students may not have access to the Internet and the gadgets to facilitate online learning. In addition, there is a lack of engagement and motivation among students in the learning process. Apart from the difficulties faced by students, the lecturers equally struggle to set up and design the appropriate content for online learning.
To overcome this challenge, the participants agreed that lecturers must adapt to new technology and become tech-savvy. They may use pop culture references, Kahoot and Wooclap to make the lesson more exciting and pleasant. Additionally, the participants also propose establishing a regional platform among academicians to facilitate the exchange of ideas and good practices. Simultaneously, this platform can assist lecturers in developing IHL teaching materials based on the Asian or the Southeast Asian experience.
Acting as a key person in charge of this program on behalf of UiTMLaw, Dr Ummi Hani’ binti Maso’od hopes a similar collaboration can be held in future to allow the sharing of ideas for the mutual benefit of students and academicians at the regional level.