Challenges And Issues Of Online Classes

R. Chandran, Chief Information Officer, Bahwan Cybertek Limited | Thursday, 26 November 2020, 11:50 IST

R. Chandran, Chief Information Officer, Bahwan Cybertek Limited

Introduction

In this pandemic situation of COVID-19, the world has adapted to a new normal in whatever we do. The economy has taken a hit. Many a business establishments – corporate offices, IT sector and others have taken to working from home. Those production houses which could not engage in production suffered total losses initially but are limping back with skeleton staff. Mankind is in the grip of fear. In such a situation, the badly hit sector is the education sector. Schools and colleges which have too many students cannot operate in the normal way & the government is looking at when they can resume normal operation of educational institutions – which is a distant dream.

In the above situation, many a private schools have adopted to online teaching and online examinations & they have put the onus on parents to monitor their wards. But what about colleges – students & teachers. It is different world. Many a colleges are in the process of conducting online classes but that has got its own challenges and issues. Am outlining the same & looking at possible solutions for the same.

A. Online teaching

B. Issues and Challenges in online courses

C. Problems faced by students

A. Online Teaching

Online teaching does not only comprise of lectures, presentations, recommended reading etc., It has much more. One has to identify the students activity level and adapt to an instructional strategy.

• Teachers encounter passive students. Such students have to engaged in quality as well as breadth and depth of training.

Instructional Strategy -They have to be provided with flexible opportunity &interactive text books. To keep them engaged use Leaning Management System (LMS) data to export grade & participation data.

• Teachers have to stay connected with students i.e., Students learning is asynchronous. They are disconnected with instructors and peers. There is also difficulty in gauging how they comprehend.

Instructional Strategy -Design online learning platforms, assessment, non-evaluative feedback & suggest improvements.

• Encourage Colloboration – Interaction with peers thru collaborative problem solving Group case study etc.

“One has to identify the students activity level and adapt to an instructional strategy”

Problems

Availability of Limited Instruction options like online posting, Chat rooms, video lectures , tailoring lectures etc., making students have self paced learning & be accountable is also difficult.

Boring instructions with never ending texts, long list of multiple choice questions. This can be overcome by dynamic courses which are fun & interactive.

Techinical Difficuties to offer multi device courses & personal attrition. Have Help page & chat service forum.

Students don’t have time since they have too much flexibility with lot of distractions. Let the learning be time bound with reminders.

Lack of practice & mediocre quality of courses due to lab not available as well as instructors are not used to online classes.

B. Issues and Challenges of online courses

The issues are related to online learners, instructions and content development.

The specific expectation of learners affects their readiness, identity & participation. The expectations also have a bearing on role of faculty, startegies, teaching style & time management. The learners interest depends on the content i.e., whether multi media is used.

The issues can be mitigated by conducting professional development courses for instructors, training for learners on what to expect as well as providing technical support for content development.

C. Problems faced by students

Students struggle to adapt to computer based learning than face to face. They hesitate to have online discussions with instructors & peers. It also is based on the computer literacy of the students. they have to plan their time since online learning needs more time. It is a new normal in looking at online reading materials & assignments. They need feedback constantly. They have to get used to delayed response from instructors. Online courses need a lot of self-planning & interaction with peers.

Overall, online courses & training is a new normal where the teaching & student community face lot of connectivity issues especially in rural areas. Hence adaptation is a challenge. Corses can be conducted online but monitoring the instruction & learning have to be looked at minutely & strategies have to be adopted to make it more effective. Especially in India, although we are a software behemoth , adaptation of online training so far has been very minimal since the country is widespread with many students & institutions at rural areas where they prefer face to face instructions. This COVID-19 situation has made a sea change in the way the institutions look at training & many have adopted to online training. What is more important is sustenance which has its own challenges & issues as described above.

Let us adapt ourselves to the new normal & evolve ourselves to get used to online training.

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