Online education must continue


  • Education
  • Sunday, 19 Apr 2020

Online education: A student ‘attending’ a cyber open day on her mobile phone. – Photo posed by model

THE Covid-19 pandemic is a blessing in disguise.

Because of it, the movement control order (MCO) has been put in place which led most schools and education institutions to turn to teaching and learning online.

Though useful in trying times, using the Internet to conduct lessons remains an issue.

There are many reasons and no immediate solutions, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

Teaching online requires one to be digitally literate as such sessions need more effort, attention, and commitment than face-to-face classes.

Unfortunately, many teachers are still not technologically savvy.

And, believe it or not, some students who mastered Instagram and TikTok can’t even perform simple tasks like attaching files to emails, browsing on virtual campuses, or storing files properly.

We tend to assume that everyone today has computers and smartphones, but we must remember that there are homes without computers or with outdated ones, where Internet connection is slow or inaccessible, and data is limited.

Maintaining sensitivity to these issues are critical if we do not want to marginalise communities.

Access to software that enables you to create videos and share your screen, and offers alternative ways to take classes from home without significant interruption in the learning process, is what provides an ideal platform for online learning. Consider other interactive methodologies too.

Online education should never be thought of as an easy replacement in times of crisis, but rather as something that enhances one’s experience and learning.

If you think that teaching and learning online is just recording what you do in class, or uploading presentations and documents, and giving students homework to do, you and your students will have problems, because that is not the way to learn.

The MCO should not be a reason for education standards to fall.

Online teaching and learning should continue to be used even when the MCO is lifted.

In the meantime, teachers should also be exposed to online marking. They must adapt.

Under normal circumstances, marking papers manually involves the use of thousands of sheets of paper per study session, significant printing cost and a considerable amount of time.

Online marking allows teachers to make corrections effectively with ease and reduce paper usage, while helping students gain quick and timely feedback.

However, most are only comfortable marking paper assignments. Some try but can’t adapt to the technology.

Workshops and online education training need to be enhanced.

Microsoft Word is a good way to start to train familiarity and technological readiness.

It should not be forgotten that educators are dedicated and committed to their job.

Not only do they spend the majority of their time working responsibly, they also carry out duties diligently during weekends and school holidays.

We can do more. And as educators, we have an obligation to do better.

AZIZI AHMADSenior educator

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Covid-19 , MCO , schools , online learning

   

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