Covid-19 has changed the course of education in the last year and a half, forcing instructor-student interaction to connect online. Lack of IT support, continuous changes in technology, security issues in digital and software services, and uneven access to technology are some of the challenges students, parents, and teachers have faced during the pandemic.
Sayani Pradhan, an assistant teacher at Mahendranath High School, Kolkata, has been trying to teach her students by recording audio lectures and sending them notes via WhatsApp, as it is the only common, and also efficient, means of reaching students. . during the pandemic. As he also sent handwritten bilingual notes to his students via the same platform, since bringing them together for virtual class was not feasible, most of the students did not have a stable internet connection or smart device.
For Ragyashree, a classy Kolkata high school student recently promoted, she misses meeting friends above all else. Although you enjoy the convenience of staying at home and relaxed class schedules, the clarification sessions, class participation on Zoom calls are not really the same.
Financial Express (Online) reached out to industry experts and faculty to find out how the education sector responded to the transition and special challenges:
According to Professor Parimal Madke, Acting President of NIIT University, one of the main disadvantages of online learning is “minimal socialization,” which is an important part of traditional learning. “Not just in classrooms, socialization also occurs in other campus settings through peer interactions, creating a real-world experience and building trust in learning. Additionally, topics that require introspection, deep discussion and debate are taught more effectively in a traditional setting, ”Madke said.
For Avirup Ghosh, assistant professor at the Department of English in Panihati Mahavidyalaya (Kolkata), who started a YouTube channel for his conference session during the confinement, studying from home, even with its part of professionals, is affected by the absence of a direct face. face-to-face interaction with students.
“Much of the teaching revolves around observing student behavior within the classroom and creating an atmosphere in which students and teachers can participate in more tangible and engaging ways. This, along with the more behavioral aspects of the teaching-learning modalities, is lacking when it comes to the online education mode, ”he said.
As for Irwin Anand, MD, Udemy India, the transitions made education more flexible, focusing on people’s need to continually improve their skills. Additionally, the change provided Edtech platforms such as Udemy, which saw a significant increase in course enrollment, an opportunity to “step in and provide students with skills to help them navigate the changes brought about by the pandemic.”
In detailing how students had to prepare for remote learning, Madke said, “The sudden change has brought many challenges for students, such as adaptability, technical problems, computer literacy, time management, and many more.” NIIT initiated a feature-rich integrated digital learning platform with virtual labs, projects, and assessments to make the teaching-learning experience as close to teaching-learning in the classroom. Anand, on the other hand, thinks even with the challenges, “Today’s generation is tech savvy, the change was dampened for both students and professionals.”
On the change in education, Madke opined that Covid-19 has emphasized the importance of online learning. However, you also feel that as an important part of the model remains online, areas such as lab activities are running in physical mode. He also emphasized the need for a “blended learning model that includes a wide range of digital activities along with face-to-face components to deliver effective learning collectively.
As for Anand from Udemy, online learning has opened up new avenues that have not been explored before, from training workers to supplementing students with hands-on courses; whether it’s a 10-year-old who wants to learn to write in English or a 60-year-old who wants to learn technology skills, online has it all. “
To assess student learning in online settings, Madke says, “We need a comprehensive assessment system that can facilitate fair assessment of students digitally. The assessment and evaluation of the courses taught online could be carried out in an electronic medium, using the methods that the teacher considers appropriate “.
However, Professor Ghosh says that online education should not be seen as a substitute for classroom teaching. “It’s more of a complement, and even after the opening of educational institutions, I don’t see why we shouldn’t continue with a blended form of learning that will include both face-to-face and virtual teaching. We just have to know how to get the maximum benefits from online mode, taking advantage of their audiovisual facilities in particular, ”he said.
Regarding a surge of instructors wanting to follow their passion and teach, Udemy’s Anand says, “The systems and processes that were about to go online became so fast overnight, which led to people improve your skills to stay connected and be relevant in today’s work-life scenario. We have seen an increase in new instructors creating courses on our platform as everyday experts seek to share their knowledge with the world and find new sources of income “.