What students want from online classes

COVID-19 has changed the Indian education system for good. The technological revolution which was finding it difficult to touch the Indian education system has now found its way.

Earlier there was a lot of hindrance in adopting technology including inertia but all of a sudden COVID-19 has removed these obstacles. The situation hasn’t given teachers a chance to adapt to technology. However, our teachers are still performing heroically. They have adapted to this new way of teaching as fast as anyone could have. They have done a fabulous job of trying to provide education for students, even in this pandemic. At the same time, there have been quite a few challenges faced by both students while coping with this unprecedented situation. 

What did students have to tell us?

Over the last three weeks, we have spoken to more than 300 students to understand how they’re trying to cope up with this paradigm shift in education. One thing that comes out very clearly from a student’s perspective is that the new education system has to be designed around an online medium. Currently, even though the lectures are happening through technology, they are not designed to be conducted through technology. What I mean by this is while it’s not very difficult to use Google classroom, Zoom, or YouTube to teach students. Tt’s very difficult to make it an engaging session. Most of the students we spoke to found the quality of online education considerably low as compared to offline teaching.

Technology alone cannot provide an engaging and enriching experience to students.  Teachers need to understand that offline mode is very different from the online mode and online mode requires a lot more effort to engage and provide meaningful education to students. Accordingly, the whole curriculum, articulation, and even after-class engagement have to change. 

So, what students do want to have from online education?

Interactivity  – They want more interactivity in the sessions. Getting involved through quizzes, impromptu questions, and anecdotal stories. Even simulation games and interactive videos can engage them much more than a one-sided lecture. Monotonous lectures can make students lose interest in the subject. By making the sessions more interactive, students will be able to apply what they have learned.

Collaboration  – Students also want to have more collaborative activities inside or after the class which will make the learning much more efficient. Group activities with classmates and teachers can help bridge the difference between online and offline classes.

Challenges – Students also want to get engaged in side projects as well as challenging activities to complement what they have learned in the class. This will help them in understanding and applying the concepts they have learned.

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