Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Online Classes and their impact on higher education

 It’s been almost two years since a man woke up one fine day and decided to treat himself with a bat as a delicacy for his breakfast and just like that the months that followed started to take the world apart piece by piece. Economies crashed, hospital beds overflowed, exuberance died and in some parts of the world anarchy took over. 

In order to keep the education going all the universities and schools transitioned to an online mode of teaching. Blackboards got replaced by MS paint and classrooms got overtaken by video conferencing platforms like zoom and teams. Now if this were to be written in a history book I would go on to explain the ways in which humanity as a whole came together on its path to survival but I’ll leave that for another day. Today I wish to talk about online classes and their impact on higher education.

Now given the circumstances switching to an online mode of teaching seemed to be the only logical choice but, and I want you to pay attention to what I’m about to say, just like this very pandemic, just like all the measures we took to fight through it, just like every solution humanity has come up with since March 2020, online classes are “temporary”. 

They have gone on for much longer than they should have, students are forced to miss out on their college life. Online teaching has been going on for 3 semesters now which has made the students miss out on various character-building experiences that they would have undergone in these crucial years of their lives.

A major problem that still remains is faulty internet connections which still haunts us when it comes to online classes. Fun fact, the most used sentence by both the teachers and the students has been “Am I audible”. There have been genuine cases where students have missed out on important lectures due to connection problems. And then there are the over smart ones among the lot who use this internet connectivity excuse to get a few extra hours of sleep. Which brings me to my next point.

In order to attend a class in your room, with all the comforts one can imagine, a need for immense self-discipline arises which let’s face it is the last thing students at this age want to inculcate. This may sound harsh but this has been the reality of online classes, students log in to get attendance and then go on with their day while “Database management systems: Lecture 1” plays in the background. (I don’t do that. Ok maybe once or twice :p )

When you as an educator want to teach a class full of students, you need to establish a connection with the class in order to get through to them. Eye contact often helps a teacher to make sure that the students are still with them and not day dreaming about a boy/girl next door. Online teaching completely obsoletes the idea of reaching through to the class and making sure that whatever is being taught is reaching the students. Barring a few percentage of learners, most of them feel a disconnect with the teacher and have a hard time concentrating thereby missing out on all the important topics, only to google “How to learn Java” a day before the exam. 

(A note for the reader: I know I am making bold statements but trust me all this is true and exists on a much larger scale expanding to all colleges and universities)

To sum up the whole debate I would like to conclude by saying that online teaching is a mere consolation which exists for the sole reason of saving the education system from sudden death. The only difference between netflix and an online class is that people pay attention to netlfix when it’s playing. No matter how insufficient this online mode of teaching maybe it was the only option we had when a deadly virus was plaguing humanity but it is high time that we transition back to old school offline teaching mechanisms because there’s a pretty high chance that a future prime ministerial candidate is going on with his/her day while “Database management systems: Lecture 1” plays in the background.

Sidhant Gumber

Roll No: 19CSU308

School: School of Engineering

Program: B.Tech CSE with Specialization in Game Development

Batch: 2019-2023 

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