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Online classes: Are students ready for another year?

By Ema Lee. “With physical appearance in the classroom becoming an option, the essence of discipline has become an option. Other than disciplinary and behavioural issues, the reduced course curriculum and the absence of exams has further made it easier for students. But are online classes all breezy?”

It is 8:40 in the morning, and Sarah’s class begins in another 20 minutes. But unlike life before the pandemic, she does not wake up and rush to the bathroom. Instead, she hits the ‘snooze’ button on her phone when the alarm rings and goes back to sleep. Early 2020, since the COVID crisis broke out, school life has changed drastically. Students no longer have to pack bags and hurry to school on time. All they need to do is wake up drowsily and click on ‘Join Meeting’ to imbibe online education. With physical appearance in the classroom becoming an option, the essence of discipline has become an option. Other than disciplinary and behavioural issues, the reduced course curriculum and the absence of exams has further made it easier for students. But are online classes all breezy?

Do students miss sitting beside their friends?

With a pandemic still raging on, there are no signs yet to tell us that the coming year will be a normal one. If the UNESCO reports are right, the distribution and implementation of the vaccines will still take a year. That leaves us with no choice but to continue imparting education online. Now, the question is: Are students ready for yet another year of online classes?

Let us take my mid-schooler niece as an example. Ava is happy that she can steal an afternoon siesta after lunch. However, she says she misses playing basketball with her friends during PE class and her drama club rehearsals. Again, she is happy to take assignment help in Sydney from native experts and read her favourite novels. But she also liked sitting in the school canteen and chatting with her best friend.

So, how do schools and colleges prepare for this virtual Matrix-like life? When it comes to online learning, the priority should be the students and what they feel about the online mode. A recent survey has unearthed the areas where e-learning lacked according to the students’ feedbacks. Read on to know more.

6 things students have to say about online classes

Let us now take a look at what students liked about e-learning and what they didn’t. This will help educational authorities and teachers improve the mode so that the coming academic year won’t be such a tribulation.

1. They like to study in the comfort of their homes

When you do something from your comfort zone, you do it better. Similarly, when students get to attend online classes from the comfort of their rooms, they learn better. Moreover, studying in a classroom can usher in many distractions – gossiping with a friend, passing chits, and likewise. However, attending online classes rules that out.

Also, students get to save time that is otherwise wasted in commute. Did you know that an hour of commute reduces a student’s presence by 0.6 days every week? With online classes, students get to avoid the hectic two-way commute and spend time doing something constructive.

2. They feel demotivated due to lack of structure

Earlier, students’ lives had a structure due to the regimented hours for class and definite breaks. With the online mode of learning, students have the prerogative of setting their daily schedules. This means longer breaks, lesser hours of quality study time, and procrastination. 

The young adults already lack direction in life. Without a definite structure, they lose sight of their goals. Earlier, my 13-year-old niece used to finish off her assignments by 3 pm. Now, we find her slogging till late at night. With little or no sense of urgency and increasing screen time, students don’t feel motivated enough to do their work on time.

3. They get to learn at their individual pace with online classes

Each student has a different rate of retention and is dynamic. In physical classes, teachers could not slow down for a student who could not understand what is being taught. Moreover, students suffering from an inferiority complex hesitated to ask questions, for they feared they will be laughed at in class.

With online classes, students can now learn at a comfortable pace. They can record an online class and go back to it until they are clear about the subject matter. The shy students, who found asking questions in class a challenge, can now contact their teacher and clarify their doubts fearlessly.

4. They feel they cannot communicate with the teacher openly

With online classes, students miss the two-way communication and interaction with their teachers. Moreover, teachers cannot keep an eye on those inattentive students either. Students who earlier could walk over to the professor’s desk and ask forassignment help are now worried that their calls will be inappropriate.

They now have to reach their teachers by email, which loses the personal touch. On the flip side of it, teachers cannot respond to emails immediately either. Moving forward, what teachers can do is use solutions like the RingCentral app. This application will show when the user is online or not so that the students can reach out without any hesitation.

5. They get to save up on textbook and study material expenses

Online classes are cheaper than attending traditional classes, where students had to spend a steady stream of money to buy books and photocopy class notes. Now, they store the required study material on their laptop and access it on the go. So, they get to spend less, not to mention that they reduce paper waste and save trees.

Moreover, most schools have slashed the tuition fees temporarily as per the government’s instructions since they do not have to pay for electricity and other utilities any longer. Also, when you consider the long run, students get to save money that they had to spend on room rents and daily commute.

6. Some of them do not have access to the required technology

According to an analysis conducted in 2019 by the Associated Press, more than 27% of students in Australia do not have a working computer with a strong broadband internet connection at home. Unless students do not have the required technology, continuing another year in the online mode will remain cumbersome as it is now.

To mitigate this problem, the Education Board of Australia has directed public and private schools to offer laptops on rent. Until then, some schools have been asked to mail the study material and video contents of a session to such students. Until the authorities mend this bridge, continuing remote learning in the coming year will deprive many.

Authorities have a lot more to do with online classes

While online learning has undoubtedly saved the day, there is a long way to go to ensure that the problems we face today do not mess up our tomorrows. Therefore, school authorities have a lot more to do before making e-learning a norm in the coming year. To start with, a framework and channel of communication are essential. Plus, educators must see that students have the required resources to participate in online classes. With timely improvements in the e-learning ambience, students will be able to learn better in the coming year.

Ema Lee has a specialisation in Education and is a student’s counsellor hailing from Sydney, Australia. She is also associated with the academic brand where she provides assignment help. In her free time, Rafter loves to watch movies and travel.

Home – Study Zone Institute is the home for students, teachers and parents to find useful information and materials for teaching and learning. Read about active learning, types of learners, learning environments, the students in the classroom, focus exercises, learning with technology, outdoor learning, teaching aids, parents’ involvement and more.

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