A Pessimist finds difficulty in every oppourtunity while an optimist finds
opportunity in every difficulty", said Winston Churchill
It goes without saying that Year 2020-21 has been by the most challenging year of the entire world and if loss of lives and livelihood were not enough, the loss of education would be the third major loss counted.
With COVID-19 scare, schools had to shut down bringing in the major challenge of how to continue schooling without the school. How to educate without coming into contact. It was then that the academicians and schools found out the otherwise not so popular mode of learning.
Online classes as we call them now, came as the most preferred option to deliver education. It was a challenge to start with for all- teachers, students and their parents alike. While teachers struggled initially with the major problems of “How to take a class online”, how to explain things without a board, how to control the unmuted devices, for parents it was another set of challenge-preparing for a classroom that comes home with all the other chores and disturbance.
The hassle of maintaining attendance, checking on students’ presence constantly and till the end of the class were another set of Herculean tasks for teachers. Syllabus completion and Assessment came as the next set of challenge.
Syllabus completion quoted as a common reason by teachers worldwide as a reason to skip remedial and feedback somehow became a concern of lesser importance as all curriculum planners came into action to identify the Learning Objectives in more detail. Curriculum and student engagement became the most important points of academic planning, which can be seen as a positive outcome of the Online Classes.
How to deliver a topic better, how to engage students to reach the Learning Objective, what activity student can do to correlate learning with things around themselves- this focussed on in depth thinking and high levels of resource utilization. The pressure of syllabus completion had definitely once diluted these detailed planning in regular times hence the online class has definitely played a game change in deciding what is really important for learning.
Not only has it been able to provide continuity to learning it made the Curriculum designers focus on removing the not- so- important Learning Objectives just because it was in the textbook.
Online Education has also given a big boost up to the Ed-tech companies. Even the most conventional organisations opened their doors to align with the Online Ed tech platforms either for class delivery or manging its core administrative processes virtually. So, it is definitely a progress both for the education hubs and the Ed tech sector.
However, the major challenge still remains to connect the not so privileged with education as online options are not available in every nook and corner.
Another challenge which Online education has brought with itself is trustworthy Assessments. It is definitely the biggest challenge as no institution can assure that all its students are appearing for assessments sincerely as technology gives a lot of options to use the unfair means.
Institutions equipped with the best pedagogy techniques and the best software platforms too cannot claim on complete fair assessments.
This problem can definitely be looked into as technology progresses but Online Education does have a future. It is sure not to go away with the end of the pandemic. Hybrid learning might be the new model.
Any class physically missed due to unavoidable circumstances can be attended online or even recorded for use later.
Though this was something common with bigger institutes but the online education has made it quite available to all big and small education hubs.
It will be interesting to see the next steps of the Online model of learning. Will it rise to the next levels or lose its sheen with reopening of campuses… we will come to know soon.
Till then let us Join the Class and mute our microphones!