Online classes and the challenges they bring to educators
Smartphones, laptops and other gadgets that were earlier used for conversations or to watch a movie have now jumped on to the digital bandwagon since the pandemic. The online classes in India that was largely used for skilling and self-learning, has now become an indispensable part of our education system.
The current pandemic has turned the focus on the flaws in the online education system – lack of quality education, lack of proper digital infrastructure and scarcity of tech-savvy teachers.
With online classes gaining popularity across the county, can teachers afford to sit back and relax? Are there any felt or expressed concerns regarding the effectiveness of online classes? How will the school heads address the challenges of the quality and effectiveness of online learning?
These are some of the popular questions that every educator and school head is facing in today’s scenario.
Let’s elucidate the major challenges faced by teachers and school principals while conducting online classes.
Quality of teaching-learning has been put on a backburner
The definition of quality education has undergone a metamorphosis since these online classes have gained pace. Due to lack of resources and digital infrastructure, teachers are unable to adopt the right approach to explain concepts, as a result, the quality and effectiveness of teaching-learning is at stake.
For instance, lack of device, proper platform and digital tools make it difficult for teachers to conduct online classes and explain the concepts properly.
Lack of collaborative and active learning
Since various online classes platforms simply offer video conferencing solutions to conduct classes, teachers are unable to create a real-classroom like teaching-learning environment. These video conferencing solutions only allow teachers to deliver the lecture, thereby leaving learners passive, bored and ultimately distracted. These solutions also lack the active engagement of learners, hands-on and experiential learning.
For instance, without proper digital tools, teachers are unable to ask questions to students during the class or assign personalised homework.
Improper authentication of student profile
Since some of the free online classes platforms offer limited features, there are chances of suspicious activities on a student’s profile. Data security and privacy are one of the biggest challenges faced by students and teachers in online education. There is a possibility of data theft, unauthorised access, malware attacks and disruption in online classes.
Online classes lack time management and course organisation
Due to the lack of smart features like automatic attendance recording, student monitoring and more, free online classes platforms make teaching-learning less effective, interactive and engaging. Teachers are unable to plan ahead of their class and hence they waste the precious teaching time in activities like attendance recording, listing the topics to be taught and checking the attentiveness of students.
Usually, teachers start their day by opening multiple tabs for multiple purposes and switching between them. This not only creates confusion in the minds of teachers but also wastes a lot of time and makes teaching-learning less effective.
Online classes lack discipline
Unlike the traditional classroom set-up where teachers can easily keep an eye on every student, online classes are devoid of such features. As a result, teachers are unable to gauge the attentiveness of each student and monitor their activities. This again makes the teaching process less effective and teachers are unable to evaluate the classroom performance of each student.
Considering an example, in online classes, teachers really don’t know what the students are doing. Some of them might turn off their video feed and play games, while some might simply attend the class but are not attentive.
No proper measure of class performance
Online classes platforms don’t offer a transparent way of measuring students’ and teachers’ performance. This creates a cloud of confusion among all the stakeholders- students, teachers, parents and principals. Teachers are unable to conduct assessments, evaluate students for their class performance and give a proper report. As a result, parents are unable to get a clear picture of their child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Moreover, school heads are unable to monitor each teacher’s course progress, teaching hours and student’s performance. Without any proper data, schools heads are also unable to modify their pedagogical practices. Thus, the outcome of teaching-learning cannot be measured.
Lack of interaction between students and teachers
During the online classes, it’s hard to keep students engaged without a teacher’s physical presence and face-to-face contact. Also, the key concern is that students are unable to ask their queries and doubts and get in-person instructions related to any assignment or project.
The world is evolving and so is the education ecosystem. It is the need of the hour to realise the importance of quality education, irrespective of the mode, be it online or offline. Schools and educators should find effective ways to make the most of the current situation to enrich the pedagogy and overcome the challenges of administering online education.