The global corona virus pandemic has been an encumbering factor for the education systems across the world. It forced the governments to impose lockdowns and curfews in order to prevent further transmission of the virus. It was at this time that the concept of ‘online classes’ was considered educational boards and institutions at large. The whole education system had to adapt to the situation and facilitate more or less the same learning experience which was
available through offline classes. The merit and demerits of online classes are discussed below.
The merits of online classes are:
- Better reach: Online technologies are not limited to number of participants in most cases. A large audience can be addressed simultaneously through online classes or conferences as opposed to offline. Such material can be recorded and published on content creation sites such as Youtube to further expand the reach of the class being taken.
- Ease of access: There is better ease of access in the online mode of classes because it reduces the time and effort required to travel to and from the institution. This results in more leisure or study time depending on the student and in turn helps in better time management.
- Eliminates distance barrier: The internet helps make the world a smaller place. This is indeed true in the situation of online classes as distance is no longer a factor for those who want to attend a class.
- Allows for revision: Since the classes taken through online medium can be recorded using the inbuilt recording functions in most online platforms, this can serve as a means of revision for students when they want to revisit certain topics. This also facilitates better doubt clarification if the class is taken effectively
- Lesser pre-requisites: In most cases, online classes are accessible through devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. In the modern world, with most people having access to a smartphone and internet, every person can attend a class or a seminar with very less pre-requisites as opposed to offline classes where there are some minimum
requirements needed to attend a class.
The demerits of online classes are:
- Lack of social connection: Unlike traditional classes, online classes do not facilitate social connection among students. This leads to lesser friendship making and teacher-student connection. Social anxiety is often overcome in co-curricular activities held in institutions and these activities help in character building and various other qualities needed for a student to function effectively in the society at large. Since there is no face to face physical connection in online method of classes, it leads to unfamiliarity for younger classes who have started their schooling through online classes.
- Lesser attention span: Online classes eliminate the distance barrier but also cause a problem when it comes to face to face communication. In an offline class, a student is more attentive because he or she can be fully present in the class. During online classes, most students are at the comfort of their homes which leads to distractions. Online platforms also have the option wherein the student can be seen as attending the class but in reality he or she might be doing some other work or not paying attention. This leads to ineffective learning and communication.
- Honesty in examinations: Examinations held online must be held with rigorous restrictions. Certain software has to be formed so that there is no cheating or malpractice during exams. Even after creating the best software, it may still leave gaps where the students can cheat their way into getting good marks. This affects the student as they don’t actually learn anything and write every exam in the confidence that they can cheat and get good grades.
- Technical issues: Not every person can afford a high end internet connection or a device to facilitate such connection. Telecommunication in remote villages is scarce and this is a barrier to online classes as due to this factor alone, a person is denied of their access to education.
- Lack of practical knowledge: Most courses require some amount of practical teaching so that what has been learnt can be applied in the real world scenario. Online classes do not facilitate practical learning as opposed to learning through the means of labs, experiments and other activities. This leads to ineffective use of knowledge acquired by the student.
- Effects over long term: Since students will be required to sit in front of a screen for long ours, their health takes a toll as they have to focus their eyes on the blue light emitted by the screen. They also have to sit still in a place for long hours which causes laziness and may end up deteriorating the student’s health.
While online classes have both merits and demerits, it is to be noted that with proper reforms and structure, the demerits of online classes can be overcome to some extent. Giving appropriate breaks, reducing class durations, making special applications and visualisations etc. can be methods to improve the learning experience for students. The use of online methods of teaching is of utmost importance and its development will help in continuing the education of students during unprecedented situations.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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