Monday, June 17, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 10, 1445 H
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Missing the buzz of life on campus


Embracing the changes in education is not a transition to or a temporary arrangement. Online studying is not even the way to go; it is the way already.

Disappointments and uncertainties are almost inevitable in the actual circumstances, but we don’t have to turn them into suffering. Resistance to changes don’t allow students or lecturers to adapt to the remote learning environment, and those with a ‘traditional’ mindset find it difficult. While passive learning — listening and taking notes — happens in a traditional classroom, online learning demands leaping into action.

It is also arduous on instructors. For decades, they mastered what was the best practice. Many lecturers have limited experience with the level of technology required. There are times when technical stumbles such as Internet connectivity or lack of updates can build frustration. Yet, good results are expected from students and instructors.

Generally, students are tech-savvy when it comes to the use of the friendly built-in options available on social networking sites (SNS). Despite the quick fingers to use filters and others added on value to their posts, many students cannot properly operate a word processor, pdf, drive, online editing, or attaching documents. Digital literacy is as important as media literacy these days.

Remote studies have been happening for several years; however, educational institutions, instructors, and students mostly had levels of resistance to innovation. Face-to-face studies are interesting, and perhaps even easier, but online can be dynamic, engaging, and fun. We must admit, even in ‘normal’ times, students whine that studies and assignments are stressful. Now, students add cheek reasons to nag that ‘it’s very difficult’, or ‘don’t understand’, and ‘explain again’.

Online education comes with particular characteristics. It shows the inequalities among students; individuals’ limitations, family environment; time, and space to study. There are other aspects as well; time management and self-motivation are serious obstacles. Distractions are plentiful; from answering a friend on social media, to attend class while on a road trip, or even attending class while in bed with lights off and curtains closed. Not funny, but it also happens, when instructors ask students to switch on the camera and there is the excuse that it is not the ‘suitable situation’. Excuse me, aren’t we in class time?

Students feel the need to talk to people! They might get frustrated about the lack of social life. It is at school that they make new friends — many, long life friendships-, hang out after classes, and help each other. Fostering personal interaction online is a possibility, but it might create a false sense of ‘bonding’. Clearly, students miss the exciting life and experiences they enjoy on campus. However, they can discover new abilities with the digital studying environment.

Lecturers can try to humanise the learning process but s/he has to be on alert about language, words, and reactions. Immature students can take class content, statements, and screenshots, including instructor’s tic, to share it on their individual’s social media accounts. Yes, mocking lecturers.

Online teaching is a complex cross-disciplinary craft. Creating an online study experience that is effective and engaging, is not without effort. Benefits are emerging already from the remote learning experience. Enhanced students’ skills, and knowledge, including levels of self-autonomy, and responsibility are promising. Through their behaviour and levels of interest, courses can be better tailored towards their professional lives. However, for those who have the disposition to procrastinate, remote studies can be a drawback.

The coronavirus is forcing deep reforms towards schooling. Educational institutions need to reexamine the experience while looking to the future. On the other hand, students have also started to evaluate what it takes to have a successful career. Dropouts might become a reality — after all, there are examples of well-off people who left school to pursue different alternatives.

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