Ms. Darihun. J. Kharnongrum
Assistant professor, Department of Education (PG Section), St Anthony’s College, Shillong Meghalaya
A mobile, a gadget of any kind is in everyone’s pocket and can be operated so well with no difficulty. A two-year-old child can easily swipe and sit for hours to watch a video, a song or anything found in the gadget. It is a part of our life and we believe that it’s better to lose money than to lose a phone because everything is stored in our phones.
With the pandemic, our gadgets were the only way to communicate, get our work done and even get our food and essential commodities at home. The lockdown had made it mandatory for all of us to use our gadgets to explore and get things done. With work from home, we were all being pushed to sit in front of a phone, a laptop or any gadget and complete our tasks at the end of the day. It has now become a new normal, a new way of life where “Online” is more preferred by everyone – be it schools, colleges or workplace.
Covid-19 is bringing about a whole set of new challenges in every possible realm, and with UGC guidelines on examinations and academic calendar for the universities in view of Covid-19 pandemic had driven everyone to use technology as a means of communication and learning.
An experimental study, conducted last year in April demonstrated the effectiveness of online learning. High-quality online courses are no less effective than traditional classes when it comes to student learning outcomes. Online courses provide an opportunity to expand access to high-quality education without increasing costs: the number of students that universities will be able to enroll increases by 15-18%. The results of a study carried out jointly by HSE University researchers and US researchers have been published in Science Advances.
According to the research team, the lower student satisfaction is primarily associated with a lack of experience and relevant learning skills in an online environment, for example, time management skills. It is important to provide students with extra support in this area.
With equivalent learning outcomes, the cost of instruction per one student in a blended modality is 15-19% lower, and in the online modality, it is 79-81% lower, depending on the course. These estimates take into account the costs of developing and maintaining online courses. According to the authors of the study, with online courses, universities will be able to teach 15-18% more students at the same cost.
‘The results of the study demonstrate that high-quality online courses can no longer be considered a mediocre instruction method. They advance students’ skills and knowledge the same way as in-person classes,’ commented the study’s principal investigator Igor Chirikov, SERU Consortium Director and Senior Researcher at UC Berkeley and Affiliated Researcher at the HSE Institute of Education.
He believes that in today’s context it is essential to invest in advanced online platforms, interactive online learning content and new teaching methods. This would allow expanding access to high-quality education without considerable additional costs and would provide students with flexible educational trajectories. In addition, it would help universities prepare for various unpredictable situations, such as the novel coronavirus pandemic.
‘We are seeing how universities that are more advanced in creating and using online courses have adapted to the transition to online format more quickly. The fact that Russia has a major national platform with online courses from leading universities has given the country a big advantage in switching to a remote instruction quickly,’ he said.
‘Now in Russia, as in other countries, we can see a real-time experiment unfolding with the use of remote instruction. The study only focused on engineering courses, but the current mass transition to online learning will allow it to assess the extent to which online courses are effective for other types of studies, in particular the social sciences and humanities. This will be the real stress test,’ adds Tatyana Semenova, co-author of the study and researcher at the Center for Sociology of Higher Education, HSE University.
On the other side, looking at the Indians’ scenario online seemed like a game-changer but the traditional form of education continued to dominate. With the novel coronavirus, the online class became a new normal and every institution had to turn to technology in order to ensure teaching-learning continues. Since the lockdown, classrooms had been replaced with virtual seminars, conferences and webinars, and everyone is organising and attending it from their homes.
According to an article on Online Education in India Check Benefits and Challenges, it was seen that 30% of the country’s population is not computer literate. Some of them don’t even know how to start a computer. Some teachers are not familiar with the new format of education. They were not well trained for online education classes. Besides, it is not necessary that a good classroom teacher will be a good teacher in the online classroom as well. Internet connectivity is not good everywhere. There are some cities in India where people are still using 2G or 3G internet connections. Nevertheless, the Covid 19 pandemic had challenged efforts put in by both government and non-government organizations to make a smooth transition to the virtual world.
Upskilling and motivating teachers, organising counseling sessions for stakeholders such as parents; teachers and students are some of the important measures. The central government launched the PM e-VIDYA platform with 12 new DTH channels one for each class to reach out to all states of society. These efforts have proved beneficial to a sizeable chunk of the school-going population.
Dwelling on the effort made by the Indian government, we can also eye on the national portal of India. The essence of Human Resource Development is education, which plays a significant and remedial role in balancing the socio-economic framework of the country. This section is very helpful in getting information related to elementary, secondary, higher secondary, higher education, etc. you can find details of educational institutions, courses, admission, procedure, scholarship, students loans, technical and medical education and vocational studies, etc.
- Apply for incentives under the National S Plan for secondary education for girls
- Schemes by Department of School Education of Tamil Nadu
- Distance Education Bureau- A Bureau of University Grants Commission
- Website of School Education and Sports Department of Maharashtra
- Website of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department of West Bengal
Technology is definitely the future we are looking towards. A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education in this pandemic in order to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and face-to-face modes of education are not possible is part of the National Education Policy.