The twenty-first-century education and the global pandemic situation has skyrocketed the ginormous shift from offline to online within a time span of a year. The immediate necessity of extensive use of E-platforms to keep the curriculum up has been successful to some degree. Due to the accelerated adoption of the online mode of knowledge imparting, educators are leveraging it as a chance to improve the productivity and efficiency of online learning and assessment.
Thus, there is a shift towards a student-centric module from a teacher-centric module of education. Several studies carried out since the proper advent of online education forum, indicate that there has been quite an improvement in traditional distance-learning education. The interaction in the teacher-student dynamic has earned a boost and transformed into a system in which content is delivered through varied means. This has boosted the use of the internet as a more productive means of education as compared to their rampant use for entertainment purpose amongst the youngsters.
The current adoption of smart classroom classes for homeschooling calls for personalised, productive and collaborative teaching-learning experiences. This has aided in transforming the traditional face-to-face (F2F) mode to techno-based independent mode. Here, the basic focus has to be on developing the potential and creativity of the learners to the utmost by keeping in mind the cognitive and affective development and the ills of prolonged lack of quality education. Therefore, educators are working to create a comprehensive digital infrastructure for effective remote teaching.
Online platforms Google Classroom, Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype etc have provided more than the support of boosting the online scenario of homeschooling during the pandemic. Over the last decade, India has become the world's second-largest population of internet users due to the availability of affordable mobile phones, network and people's reliance on digital transactions. However, the shift from traditional to online has had a tremendous effect on the learners.
Numerous analyses have been done on the state of digitalised learning in India. The studies outline current government initiatives and guidelines and help highlight the hard fall weakness in the system, to help improve the online learning situation in India. A survey was carried out amongst students from technical colleges on the status of their ongoing online classes with a number of factors taken into account. The data regarding the interval of classes suggested that:
25% of the students had less than 12 hrs of classes per week.
63% had 12-18 hrs per week.
11% had more than 24 hrs per week.
As a result, the students are either overworked with mountains of homework or have almost no classes, but have to face the brunt of the university examinations with an unfinished syllabus. The inferences incurred through the survey indicate that:
Problems arise while:
Providing access to timely need based educational contents to all learners with equity and justice. This is the case where practical knowledge is a required must. Hence, the absence of practical classes is an absolute disadvantage and a reason for serious concern. All the students (100%) agreed that online classes meant ditching the practicals. A 75% also complained about the unavailability of much-needed resources including a properly accessible online library.
Trying to keep the learners engaged through aptly planned sessions with the latest online/blended learning technologies. The need for more interactive methods and frequent doubt clearing sessions (suggested by more than 80% of the students) is another reason for concern.
Maintaining the quality of faculty and familiarising them with the digital teaching techniques. A whopping 87.5% of the students complained about the teaching methodology being average and not up to standards, while the remaining 12.5% agreed on online teaching being worse than offline mode. With most teachers being accustomed to offline classes and interaction, the online mode has proved to be burdensome for those who are not properly trained in digital teaching methods. Hence, the learners are at the direct receiving end of the management and teacher's incompetency.
Managing an excellent IT infrastructure. The survey indicated a 40% of the student population dissatisfied with the network availability issues on the institute's end.
Fees Submission. When asked about the worst aspect of online learning besides the absence of face to face social interactions, a dramatic 75% of the students complained about fees not being waivered despite the lack of an online accessible library and practical classes. The management hence needs to reexamine the fees structure keeping in mind the lockdown situation.
The mode of online examination conduct has been however much appreciated by the students, for they can submit their answers without any hassles.
Almost 100% of the students agreed to online classes being the need of the hour for they could easily observe the much needed social-distancing norms and also attend classes from the comfort of their homes.
The global COVID-19 crisis has ensured the continued growth of online assessment platforms and education tech products. The accelerated planning, adoption and implementation of change towards a digitalized education world are still underway in many aspects. Despite every small setback, the crisis has initiated India's digital learning infrastructure for the long run. All India needs to do now is to learn, implement and grow.