Monday, 6 December, 2021

Hitches Of Online Classes

Bini Dahal

WITH the nationwide lockdown in effect, schools and colleges are opting for online classes to give continuity to teaching-learning activities. Such classes may have made it easier for teachers to complete the syllabuses on time. But truly speaking, online classes are a complete new experience for students like me. And I have not found them so fruitful.
Before the lockdown was in place, it was easy to focus on classroom activities as teachers used to demand active participation from all the students in the class. But, since the start of online classes about a month ago, there has not been even a single time when I have not spaced out. I often feel hungry and sleepy during the virtual classes. Sometimes I also feel like listening to some songs or watching dramas. With both smartphone and laptop in front me, I tend to check my feed or just scroll through my phone mindlessly.
Online classes are not easy. They are a big challenge. Besides the inability to be fully present in the virtual classroom, technical problems are a big turn-off. Though electricity is now easily available to people, a smooth environment cannot be created most of the time because of lack of computer literacy and weak Internet connections. According to researchers, an average person can only be attentive for a short span of 10-20 minutes. So, with distractions included, is it easy for students to be fully focused on the virtual class? Obviously not.
In the context of Nepal, the idea of online classes is fairly new. We are still getting used to being virtually present with much difficulty. Faculties present slides and show video presentations for easing the learning process. But it is important for the teachers to realise that this method may not be successful and beneficial for all. Since our childhood, we have gone to schools and learned everything by interacting with our teachers and friends. Up until now, learning by socialising has been the most effective way for us.
A recent news report published by ABC News has shown many students showing disapproval regarding the little or no interaction between the students and teachers and the falling quality of academic learning. Besides, the dissatisfactions over the teaching-learning processes, many are also not very happy with the way assignments are given to students. They are expected to do all the assignments based on online researches with very little or no proper instructions. This maybe because we are living in a world where whatever the internet says is correct!
It is impossible for us to learn through softwares forever. The idea of isolating oneself inside four walls while trying to listen to the teachers’ lecture is dreadful. Teachers need to put their effort in making learning more varied, interesting and less repetitive. Any kind of different teaching is effective and well appreciated by the students. Likewise, students too should try to focus on the classes. They can use Pomodoro technique, a way of breaking a long time span into a short span to keep concentration intact. The joint efforts of teachers and students with the willingness to adapt will make any online class bearable. As the adage goes, something is better than nothing, online learning is the only alternative we have in this time of lockdown.