“eLearning doesn’t just ‘happen’!! It requires careful planning and implementation.” – Anonymous
When an unforeseen problem is hurled towards us, we panic and fear the inevitable. We faced the same during the spread of the Coronavirus in India in March. But then things started to be normal again albeit a quite diverse normal. This new normal was very different from our old life and still, we have adapted around it within a short period. When population and economy travelled a decade back to merge with this new normal, the one thing that skipped ahead a decade was technology.
Six months back conference calls were mostly related to business industries but now, more than 50% of people engage in conference calls every day. The term ‘Work from home’ was not quite common earlier. Technology has evolved in the past six months as many people have contributed to its growth whilst they were locked up in their homes. It has affected all fields and walks of life such that thinking about changing this new pattern of life is pretty hard.
The major domain that was hit by this unexpected global problem is education. Schools and Universities were closed and students were told to stay home. We were in the middle of our semester and the national lockdown affected our studies negatively. Luckily for school students, the academic year was almost complete with some exams remaining.
The remaining semester was resumed in June. The problem was that both students and teachers were not equipped to handle online classes. I have only heard of these in MOOC courses and science fiction. But it was altogether a new experience for me. I won’t be sincere if I say that I didn’t enjoy the first few weeks of classes.
In a nation where the population exceeds 1 billion and more than half of the people are suffering to find their daily sustenance not to mention the consequence of Covid-19 on common people, implementation of this new system is not broadly effective. Many students still find it difficult to attend these classes. And students who can attend classes face internet issues and electricity-related problems.
While online classes can be relaxing, they can also be equally stressful. Completing the work and handing it to the faculties in the given deadline creates a lot of pressure on the students. Besides, students are not getting adequate knowledge through online classes.
The overuse of laptops and mobile phones can cause various problems. Before all this new normal, I never used my laptop daily. But now, I find it quite difficult to shut it off. It is only a matter of time before the number of students using spectacles increases. As an eye patient, I was advised to decrease my screen time because looking at the screen for more than 10 hours could cause serious damage to this delegate organ.
Students of all ages are suffering from many problems. The suicide rates have started increasing because of this current setup. This cannot become the new normal for students. While occasional online classes can be good, making this the only method of learning can do more harm than good on the student community.