It has been a long time since the lockdown began in India, while small businesses have opened up, schools and universities remain shut. Covid-19 is forcing global experimentation with remote learning/teaching.
The whole world is wondering how long this experiment will go on for. All Indian universities and schools have moved the ongoing semesters online in the light of the Covid-19 crisis.
Everyone is trying to adapt to this new lifestyle, many educational institutions have already announced their decision to keep campuses closed and continue with online classes. But what challenges are the students facing studying through online classes? We asked online learners and tutors to share their experiences with study-from-home.
Sanil Jagtiani, who studies Finance at Drexel University, shares that he has time to get work done while attending lectures at home, “Studying at home has surprisingly been a delightful experience. The advancements in technology ensured that my education continued uninterrupted.”
“They need to no longer travel really helped me take time out for my internship,” he added.
For many the concept of studying from home is all they ever wished for. Especially children who dislike going to school. An important element of attending classes in person is that it teaches you to become independent and to get things done without the help of a parent.
Tejas Verma, the father of a student of GD Goenka, shared that his daughter who is only 11 has found a way to skip submitting homework, “The teacher informed us that she claims her laptop had crashed which is why she didn’t do her homework”. “Kids are very happy about online classes, for them the entire week is off,” he said.
There are many advantages of online classes, first and foremost they keep you safe from contacting Covid-19.
However, there are a few problems with studying from home,
“Shifting to an online mode of education has been quite a journey. The fluctuating internet connections have made it quite hard to follow what is being taught in class. One glitch can make it difficult to catch up.” says Gillian Hugh, student of Human Resources at York University.
“Not being in an adequate learning environment takes its toll. It becomes very hard to concentrate and is an isolating experience,” she added.
While students do miss their campus’s fast internet, many universities are not affected by the switch to the online mode of teaching because all lectures are routinely recorded and shared with students offline as well as online, therefore it’s not a difficult switch. Many courses already shifted to online classes even before the pandemic.
“I’m glad my university shifted to online classes, as I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class if I’m constantly worried about contracting the virus,” shares Jahanvi Chopra, a student at Oxford University.
Institutions are doing the most to make sure students receive the best education, “BBA in Hospitality Management is multifaceted, and puts a strong focus on entrepreneurship and business acumen – that’s why we’ve had a relatively hassle-free experience shifting to the online space,” says Mr. Dilip Puri, Founder of the Indian School of Hospitality.
While talking about how tutors ensure that the students are learning, he shared “Our faculty members and Deans conduct regular weekly check-ins with students to ensure they’re on track and understanding the subject matter well – with additional classes available if they’re facing any difficulties. These regular check-ins and tests help us keep track and ensure students are indeed learning from their online classes.”
Talking about how the safety of students is of top priority, “The more practical aspects of the curriculum, such as internships, have been postponed for the time being until the industry is back up and running at full throttle. Until then, we’ve reworked the order of our curriculums and are focusing on the theoretical aspects of the subject.”
Educational Institutions are doing everything they can to ensure that the students’ education goes on uninterrupted. Countries like New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and a few others have reopened their schools, as these countries have more control over the spread of Covid-19.
India is seeing a new hike in the number of positive COVID cases every day, it seems unlikely for schools or universities to reopen until it is safe. This means that institutions will have to continue their curriculum online. However, this was not the experience most envisaged.
“Not every class requires you to stare at the screen, I try to make the classes as interactive as possible, so students don’t lose interest” shares Avantika Singh Kanwar, who’s a teacher at La Montessori School, Kullu.
“Sometimes I give them simple experiments to perform in the kitchen, of course with the supervision of their parents, it makes the class more engaging,” she said.
Divya Sachdeva who is a career counsellor at Freedom Employability Academy, Delhi said, “Students generally feel anxious about their future, but now Covid-19 is making them worry more.”
She shared that career counselling was always available online but students preferred speaking in person, “One major challenge is that many students don’t have the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings because their parents are sitting right next to them or behind the laptop screen,”.
Since the counselling session takes place at home there isn’t enough privacy to express, “In some cases, we have to ask the parent to join the second half of the session, so the student feels less pressured.”
Shyona Gupta, who studies law at OP Jindal University while sharing her experience with online classes said, “Online classes are not taken as seriously, the first week of the class online was really bad as my classmates kept sharing the link to the class on public platforms, it was extremely disrespectful to our professor, as he was already struggling to turn face-to-face interactions into online discussions.”
“Not everyone has a stable internet connection, and many times not having the internet is just used as an excuse to avoid presentations or tests”.
The concept of traditional education changed long before Covid-19 changed the world. Many would agree that remote learning has made their life more convenient, other than the fact that many face problems with internet connectivity, this issue is something educational institutions are working on.
Like many offices, schools and universities may also start providing internet accessibility.
Being physically present in a classroom is now not imperative for a learning experience. With the rise of new technology, everyone has access to a quality education, that allows you to set your own learning pace and goals.
Educational institutes are trying their best to make sure students are receiving the best opportunities, given the circumstances, now it is on the students to be willing to take the opportunities and make the most of it. Using the internet to learn is not a new concept, as a student and a tutor, you need to adapt to new learning and teaching techniques, as change is the only constant.