Online Education: Benefits, Challenges, And Some Free Advice
With the infectious spread of COVID-19 across the world, several changes have taken place. We have departed from traditional ways of doing things. Education is the best example where such a change has taken place. Laptops have replaced blackboards, and our rooms have replaced our classrooms. Online education has become a trend, and it will only develop.
Education empowers everyone. It helps develop valuable skills apart from learning academic subjects. With the online education trend, are we prepared to know the long term benefits, complications, and challenges that a “digital country” can face?
Education usually occupies the backseat in the Parliament. And with the launch of the New Education Policy, it was a relief to see education occupy the spotlight. Digital education is much more than sitting in front of your laptop screen or mobile phone and typing out notes on a blank document. Like everything else, online classes have their benefits and drawbacks. However, these factors depend on us, how we receive it, and what we do to improve it.
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Benefits of Online Education:
- Flexible Scheduling: Do you hate waking up at 7 in the morning, getting ready for college/school, and then rushing to your 8 a.m. class only to find out that the teacher will show up at 8:30 instead? With education becoming digital, it is convenient for teachers and students to conduct and attend classes whenever it is possible and easy for both.
An online class can be scheduled at 8 in the morning or 8 in the evening, depending on what suits the teachers and students best. Students can study in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even at night.
- Comfortable learning: With classes beginning in the early morning and with extra classes going on continuously till evening, our backs experience severe pain, and our posture becomes distorted. This increases the fatigue in our body.
During classes on several applications, like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, we can switch off our cameras and munch on food if we feel a little hungry. We can comfortably sit in a position that does not tire us. We can also choose that cozy little corner of the house to attend classes comfortably.
- Self-discipline: Who says online education doesn’t teach us self-discipline? With no one to push us into doing things, it becomes even more pressurizing to manage and meet deadlines. Every student is well-aware of the marks they need and the urgency to complete any assigned tasks to earn those precious numbers.
We try to complete our work on time and without any faults. This pressure of meeting deadlines without anybody pressuring you is the best way to teach yourself self-discipline and time management.
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- Multi-tasking: The reduced pressure of traveling to your college and surviving through a whole day of lectures saves so much of your time and energy. Online classes wrap fast and smoothly, and do not leave us feeling exhausted.
We can easily multi-task by participating in several other courses or taking up internships for enhancing our resume. Whatever we like- social work, professional work, extra courses- it is easy to manage between all of these with our bonus time.
Challenges of online learning:
With rainfalls come floods too. With all the above stated golden benefits of learning online, there are various challenges that we need to overcome before we plan for a long-term online education system:
- Connection problems: Not all people across the country have the luxury of stable internet connection and fancy digital technology. Almost half of the total population in our country depends on classroom learning. Some people who do not own smartphones, laptops, or palmtops to attend online classes include some of the very bright and quick learners.
- Lack of concentration: There is always an issue with finding a quiet place. There is no physical proximity between the teacher and the student. A human being, whether a student or a teacher, experiences a lack of concentration during the teaching-learning process. And with the lack of concentration comes the lack of motivation to study or to teach. This hampers the smooth teaching-learning process.
- Anxiety issues: Students or teachers might face anxiety while on a video conference. Whenever we are in a classroom, it becomes a familiar and shared space for all students. But we often feel embarrassed about our background images and the sounds from the background.
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Suggestions on how we can use the existing online education system:
- The deserving students can be provided with some financial aid for getting access to technical services. After all, this will empower young minds and eventually help in building a stronger nation. With financial assistance, there will be no discrimination based on who can afford to attend online classes.
- Practicing positive self-talk in the mirror before you start your day can help you stay motivated throughout your classes. This will create a sense of stability in your mind, and you can concentrate properly. Make sure you keep yourself well-hydrated.
- Assign small tasks that allow students to go outside of their home space. This would enable mental stability and will help students freshen up a little bit. It can also reduce screen time.
- Consider introducing some fun elements to your classes. Begin with some happy music, create a questionnaire for your students, ask students to express themselves in the chatbox using emojis. This will relieve the atmosphere and decrease tension in the surroundings.
- Divide the time properly between teaching hours, fun hours, and assignment hours. This will help students and teachers manage their time.
These are just limited suggestions that can help to conduct online education smoothly. Our students are growing up and graduating digitally. We can help their future by improving the education system – be it online or offline.