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Elvir Čajić, a Community Story from Bosnia and Herzegovina

12/05/2020
por EPALE Moderator
Idioma: EN
Document available also in: MT EL

Elvir Čajić

I am a 33 year old professor of mathematics, physics and computer science at three elementary schools in Tuzla Canton. I have a Masters degree in mathematics and physics, as well as a Bachelors degree in technical education and computer science. I am a mentor for teachers after gaining a senior degree in school. I have worked on a number of different projects across the non-governmental and governmental sectors. Microsoft itself is an Innovative Educator; a community with over 80 qualifictions in online and e-learning.
Educational platforms are my specialty and I have a lot of experience with Google classroom, Moodle, Microsoft teams, Zoom and other platforms. I have been teaching for 6 years.
My areas of interest are mathematics, physics and computer science. I am the author and co-author of several dozen scientific and professional papers on various topics. I embrace new experiences. I am competent in Office 2003-2010, Corel, Auto Cad, Photoshop, Matlab, Wolfram Mathematica, PLoter, C, C ++, Visual Bsic, Q Basic, Open Gl, HTML / CSS, java junior. I am a member of the Researchgate community.

I heard about Epale through a friend from Montenegro, my colleague professor Mirsada Sabotic. I have no previous experience with this platform but I feel it would be very useful.
I am not a full-time professor but I attend the competition every year. I often do not have a full-time job. I work mainly across four or five schools. I have my own YouTube channel where I organise online distance learning. Depending on which school I am working at, I have access to a Moodle platform and a Google classroom.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the lives of teachers changed significantly.

As I was already a teacher actively working with websites, teaching online and e-learning were no stranger to me. However, my life has still changed dramatically. Immediately after the 16th March 2020, my working hours jumped from 8 to 20 hours a day and remain so to this day. As a teacher in three primary schools I have had to adapt to each school’s particular needs. For example, at one school I have become an administrator for the MOODLE platform. As I had experience with the platform I immediately took on the administrative burden of the job. Following this, I received various inquiries from colleagues. A lot of my teachers got in touch to ask if I could give them guidelines on how to work on the platform.

After installing the Moodle platform and getting students and teachers involved, colleagues from several dozen other schools came forward to help them with the administration, which of course I accepted. When the platform was ready to be used the teaching staff who had never used Moodle platforms before needed some training:
I started a YouTube channel.
I started recording Moodle Teacher Platform instruction manuals
I recorded tutorials for working on a student platform
I uploaded content for my students.
Communication via video was not good, so some colleagues also requested .pdf documents and/or word documents. This led me to make myself available via email too.
I also set up five Viber Communication admin groups for teachers, student teachers and administrative staff. I recorded which tutorial I was posting on the Viber groups so that all the schools in our Canton could benefit.
The Facebook group of teachers also played a role. I helped my colleagues by recording and uploading videos with responses to the queries which they posted publicly on the Facebook group. In one school I work on the GOOGLE CLASSROOM platform.

Following this, there was a need to work not only through e-learning but also through online learning. I started recording video lessons, putting together tests, creating quizzes, essays, assignments, and digital textbooks. I shared all the experiences through the mentioned groups so that my colleagues could benefit from the online classes. When the internet connection was not good enough for us to record the videos live I pre-recorded the content and uploaded it to the platform.

CISCO Web Conferences were organised after each question, with my colleagues being put into Microsoft Teams. After that, I started developing feedback forms for distance learning. We have issued badge certificates for the course. And through the Google form we have begun resolving some of the issues that have arisen. For fellow mathematicians finding it hard to adjust, I have installed plugins to make it easier for them to work on the platform.

The Canton of Tuzla is home to many older and middle-aged teachers.

The problems of working through e-learning or online teaching have been a major turning point in their lives, as is usually the case when a person fears the unknown.

Some colleagues simply ignored the instructions that they must continue to work and that life and education should not stop. The difficulty of caring for the family through illness and the fear of dealing with the unknown, for some colleagues caused great frustration.
However, as a person who has completed several courses in personality psychology and with my background in three faculties and a Master's degree, I soon realised that the way forward was tutorials. One tutorial every three days suited everyone. Then, when a notice came from our ministry that teachers had to join the platform when decisions were made to pass a legal act providing a server for data placement thanks to MONSK TK and our best Minister of Education Fahret Brasnjic, we started implementing our classes a week later.
As I was not only an administrator, but also a teacher who works on two platforms due to the specific nature of the curriculum I teach, I was called on to write reports, create curricula and put together content using certain templates.

Following this, and once my instructions had been issued to older and younger colleagues, I began receiving various requests from students.
I organised online sessions with the students to explain the lessons through a YouTube channel. I have also shared my experiences with different colleagues. Unfortunately, there were people who disparaged such work as being able to work from home. Although I am a father of two, I did not find it hard to set aside some time to help my classmates and students to complete this academic year.

Caring for your health and for that of others and the sacrifice you have to make in an emergency gives you that extra moralistic impetus to share any knowledge you may have in a particular field and to make yourself available to others where possible. You do this even though the future is uncertain and we do not know what will happen tomorrow, whether we ourselves will fall ill with the virus.

However, the desire and will to leave behind knowledge has given me the strength to persevere, to aspire to make all of my materials available and to help future generations to become more aware and altruistic.


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