The year 2020 has indeed been a surprising one for the entire human race. After a period of over hundred years after the Spanish Flu ravaged the world, came yet another major pandemic in the form of the Coronavirus. The virus and the lockdown changed the way we live, the way we did our things and every aspect of our daily life. But the most important change observed in this pandemic time was that in our way of teaching. Yes, Education changed its format by 180˚.Education went from paper mode to paperless mode or as many say a digitalized one.
Before the pandemic struck mankind, teachers and parents used to often say that students must keep mobile phones and laptops aside and focus at their studies. But time played with the rules it had made. Coronavirus brought the entire education system online. Lectures, notes and even studying to a greater extent now occur on the online forum. Who would have thought that instead of textbooks, students will now have pdf and presentations to study from? Indeed the pandemic has sent the mankind a beautiful message that transformation with time is the key to survival.
Online Education has come with its own benefits and failures. The most important drawback of the system is that it may not be available to all. Many students are not privileged like others. Students who are belonging to families with a poor financial background cannot necessarily afford smart phones for studies. Besides, the internet connectivity plays a major hindrance in ensuring proper education for all students. Teachers too face the same problems. For them too online forum is very new thus imposing several restrictions in the ways they can teach the students and carry out examinations.
Students face several problems in learning through this form of social distancing. Many a times the internet connectivity goes due to power cuts or other reasons and because of these reasons a student may often not be able to attend complete lectures and miss out onto key explanations. In addition, the data package available with the students relying on mobile phones for studying can very often be lesser than the one expected by the college for continuing through all the lectures of a day. Several times students face technical inconvenience in terms of microphone issues and even webcam not working.
The online forum of education, however, has ensured the safety of students in terms of not having to travel to far off places in the midst of this pandemic. But at the same time it has brought in tremendous mental stress to students over accomplishing various conditions throughout this journey. Many students, even some of my own colleagues, have complained about the 7-8 hours of mobile or laptop screen surfing and that in turn has affected their eye-sights besides causing them headache and back-aches while sitting in a constant position for several hours.
In the online mode of education, examinations can be conducted in the form of long answers etc. This has led to several teachers opting for assignments instead of direct tests. This has further burdened the students as a good amount of research is needed to be done by them for solving these assignments. On the contrary, many teachers have even opted for multiple choice question format for conducting exams. But this affects the students grading severely as one wrong answer results in a complete loss of marks whereas the students could score some grace marks in theoretical papers. This has put the teachers too in severe pressure for they too have to plan out things in advance taking into consideration the grievances of each and every student. Several colleges have been conducting practical examination online which have been criticized by several students as practical online especially for the science students adds no value to their practical skill as equipment are not present with the students.
Several students coming from backward and rural area face severe internet connectivity. Besides, online access to reference books may not be possible for all students and in the midst of pandemic book stores may not be open, thus restricting the access to study material. It has been noticed that in the way of finishing of the assignments and attending virtual classes the sleep of several students is affected severely. Online lectures have thus put in a lot of strain on the students physically and on the parents financially in many cases.
However, this is nothing but an indicator of the things to come. We have moved towards paperless study and the trend is likely to continue for quite some time now. A time will come where not having a means of online study will considered to be inferior. Coronavirus has taught us to continue our work through new means. Whether it is right or wrong is still debatable. But we have reached a stage where online forum cannot be ignored at all.