This calendar year has been out of everyone’s expectations in terms of learning experiences as we have to sit at home for our classes through online learning due to the pandemic. As a student, this has frustrated me a lot as we paid equal tuition fees as to in-class sessions. Initially, I was quite sceptical of this format of learning as there is minimal communication between students and lecturers thus making teaching less effective. There are also some instances where lecturers face connection problems and also not tech-literate thus affecting the quality of the lectures compared to in-class lectures.
After close to a year of online learning, I felt more comfortable with this method of lecture delivery and have found online learning to be more efficient at times. Here are my views on online lecture:
Struggles in online learning
- Less motivation to attend classes. When there are no fixed time and place to be for a lecture, it’s difficult to attend the lectures on time and it’s difficult to establish a schedule to keep up with the classes. Although recorded lectures are present, it is important to avoid procrastinating until it’s too late to cover all of the lectures.
- Loss of social connection. Most times, we could only see the lecturer during a session while other participants will be muted and have their cameras closed. It’s difficult to ask questions in class as it becomes difficult to get the attention of the lecturer. Apart from that, we barely get to know our coursemates as we do not communicate in class and lacked the feeling of talking to the person sitting next to you in a class, which can be quite daunting to freshers as it is difficult for them to know friends.
- Struggle in group works. As a final year student, I am tasked with a year-long group project. Communication has been a big problem, as discussions are less interactive especially to discuss designs that are difficult to be described with words than sketches. People also need to suit their timezone to make sure they attend the class even at odd hours.
Benefits of online learning
- Higher flexibility. As I do not need to attend classes and attend during my free time, this gave me the freedom to work with tasks of higher priority and also learn new skills. For example, I am able to juggle my tasks between assignments, work, building a website and attending classes depending on my schedule.
- Minus the commuting time. With just a computer or mobile device with an internet connection, I can attend classes anywhere without worrying about how to travel for a class. This has been an advantage for me as I live far from campus and it has been efficient for me to attend classes from home.
- Availability to learn at my own pace. Online learning, especially with improved versions of recorded lectures, I can access and download lectures to view them at my convenience and at my own pace. I can speed up or slow down lectures and also include subtitles when needed.
In contrary to the difficulty to approach lecturers, I understood the study material better as I can suit my independent learning style to the online learning tools given. Overall, I will have to learn how to learn in this new environment and approach lecturers, classes and scheduling in a new way.
At the end of the day, it seems that online learning is here to stay and it will be beneficial in the long run as both students and teachers learn to adapt to teaching methods even in the harshest environment with the help of technology.