School closures and the fast rise of online education have been catalyzed by recent troubling times, globally. The question to ask is what unique challenges does online education pose to teachers and students and what can be done to solve them. This is what we will be trying to answer below:
Many students are deprived of high bandwidth internet connections that are crucial for online courses and consequently fall behind their virtual classmates who have these facilities. Their outdated computers make it difficult to follow the online guidelines and mediums for education (Moodle, as an example), and their learning experience suffers as a result. Furthermore, the majority of university students reside off campus, making it difficult to keep up with the technical requirements of pursuing a mostly online degree. Some of them do not even possess computers and must seek technical support from external resources. Internet connections need to be stable enough to study effectively and timely and there are few reliable services left these days that offer exactly that, 24/7. Luckily, CenturyLink internet services entail good coverage and bandwidth.
Self-motivation is a mandatory requirement for eLearning; unfortunately, many online learners, much to their surprise, lack it. Many students fall behind after enrolling in distance learning courses (DLCs) and consider giving up because the hurdles in navigating a technical medium such as online physics classes appear too overwhelming. Students must find the motivation to follow current educational trends while also appropriately preparing for future obstacles in their education and professions. Only a positive attitude can help them overcome the problems of eLearning; whilst this is difficult to practice, students must understand and digest that it is required to reap the benefits of eLearning in the future. As the possibility of online learning starts to solidify itself as a regular option in the coming years, there’s a substantial need to have students grow more accustomed to self-motivation.
Not everyone is Well Versed in Computers
Although the majority of the current and upcoming generation is typically tech aware and thus capable of using computers properly, a big concern among students nowadays is a lack of computer literacy. Many of them are unable to use simple applications such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and hence are unable to manage their files. Furthermore, many students find it difficult to solve simple computer difficulties since they lack understanding in this field.
However, a good grasp of technical skills is required for students to take online courses since it allows them to handle their assignments and courseware in an orderly manner without a pointless mental drain. The point is, basic computer literacy courses improve students’ expertise in the topic; having a basic understanding of computer hardware allows them to engage in online classes without delays or hindrances. This should be enforced from early years nowadays so that students are ready for anything post-COVID.
Classroom & Teacher Limitations
Just as students can find learning and operating computers a challenge, so can teachers. The COVID transition to online learning involved many teachers (and students) scratching their heads on how to operate a computer adequately. Professors had difficulties performing simple tasks such as utilizing Zoom to take attendance or toggling the video and audio options. Can they be blamed for this? Absolutely not.
We have to understand that the majority of our teachers come from an educational background that utilized the good old stuff; copy, paper, pencil, markers, blackboards, chalk, etc. And to them, this was perfectly okay. Just like how for most of us, scribbling on a 1920x1080p screen is. The lesson to take away from all this however is that we need to keep our masses up to date with the latest tech. If in the foreseeable future, another world-altering event were to happen, at least our teachers and student wouldn’t be as affected. The same goes for classrooms. IT integrations are a need of the hour. Not all school classrooms come equipped with technology that helps deliver and record lectures and consequently stores them online. If we are to truly allow seamless online and offline learning, then this needs to be resolved.
Although much ground has been gained by the education sector, globally, to catch up with technology since 2020, the journey is not quite done yet. The world is still reeling in from the damage caused and our children should not be on the receiving end of it. Education is what upholds nations in their times of trial. A seamless, quick, and easy online setup is what every student and teacher should have at the ready. While they have enough training to make sure that their online and offline experiences are productive, let’s keep the wheel going regardless of adversity.