Identifying the Challenges faced by Academics in the Educational Institutions due to Online Classes
With the advent of the online learning system, academics are facing problems and witnessing challenges as it has become compulsory to acquire IT skills for an effective teaching and learning system. Many distinguished researchers have opined that the internet offers a plethora of opportunities and assures flexibility for the learners if they try to explore its aspects and vast management system. In Online learning or education, students remain at home and use their home computers, laptops, mobiles etc. to attend classes. In the recent time of pandemic, online teaching and learning has become trendy as educational institutions aren’t left with any other choice but conduction of effective classes considering all the aspects of Outcome-based education system. Institutes are trying to fill the gaps and minimize the losses of students caused by this unfortunate pandemic but outcomes of online classes are posing some challenges for the learners as well as the educators.
Challenges faced by the students due to online classes are:
- Adaptability: Students find it tough to get adapted to an online learning environment as they are accustomed to traditional classroom teaching. Due to this sudden change, they didn’t get time to prepare themselves and mould their mind-set accordingly. It becomes very difficult for them to focus in the class and understand the topics being taught
- Technical Issues: Many students are not equipped with a high internet facility that is integral for online classes. Students, who live in interior or backward areas, face difficulties in attending continuous lectures for 5 to 6 hours. In addition to that, it is not necessary that all the students possess IT skills and they can get technical issues by themselves. They have to rely on others for their assistance so that they can attend the classes. Due to serious technical problems, students may face difficulty in downloading subject related information, clear videos, Examination question papers, etc.
- Lack of Computer Knowledge: Acquiring computer knowledge and becoming techno-friendly is the need of the hour. There are many students who can’t work on basic computers with MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint and in case any technical issue arises, they are unable to resolve it. There are so many steps to be learnt before and while attending online classes like timely login, usage of appropriate icons, joining the class, answering in between, writing texts, understanding communication related apps and websites, creating and submitting work, communication with friends and teachers, browsing study materials etc.
- Time Management: Online learning is completely new for everyone and demands intensive work. Students find it difficult to manage their time with online classes as they need a scheduled planner to organize their time in an effective way. Although online classes provide flexible timings, still there are possibilities that few students may face difficulties in adjusting to the time required for online classes.
- Self-Motivation: Accepting the fact that your home has become your space of work is quite difficult for the students because they nurture new hopes and dreams related to university campus. Coming to college, attending classes, meeting friends, interacting with teachers etc. all play an integral role in personality building which is not possible by staying within the four walls of one’s home.
- Lack in Communication: Students’ communication skills weaken during online classes as teachers give assignments based on reading and writing but what about speaking activities. During online classes, only few students interact with teachers and the rest remain silent for various reasons. They feel shy to communicate with their teachers and friends due to the new model of learning. It might happen due to lack of interest, poor technological skills with apps and video calls or unable to express themselves via live chats, emails or text messages.
- Need of Feedback: Every student requires feedback for their performance presented during the online learning process so that they can improve themselves. In traditional mode of teaching, teachers give regular feedbacks based on students’ class tests, semester exams, practical exams etc. but in online classes students hardly take efforts to go to their portals and see the suggestions and comments on their assignments and as a result it becomes difficult for them to understand the remarks and improve their performance by implementing the suggestions.
Challenges faced by the teachers due to online classes are:
- Engagement of students: Keeping students engaged and interested in online classes is a big challenge for all the teachers. They tend to get distracted and lose focus mostly because teachers are unable to see each and every student onscreen at one time. Many students keep their videos off which creates a sense of dissatisfaction as teachers can’t know if all the students are understanding the topics or not.
- Communication gap: The more detailed the syllabus, the easier to communicate to the students. Sometimes teachers are not given enough time for the preparation of content for their students. And also there are students who avoid communication with teachers during online learning. Online teaching is like communicating without body language, so students might misunderstand and can result in their poor performance. Sometimes students might ask for an extension for their work or give any excuse for the delay.
- Assessment & Evaluation as assessment of students and their grading play a key role in the education system. In online learning, students are provided with MCQs which is still feasible but not actually effective. Real learning is measured by subjective questions for which teachers have to design questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and direct students to upload their answer sheet in the virtual classroom. But if that teacher teaches different subjects in different programs, it would be an uphill task for them to download all the answer sheets, evaluate them and then upload the marks.
- Gaps in the Course Content created according to Outcome-based education system: Teachers are supposed to deliver the lectures, design activities, conduct assessments which can lead to outstanding results and successful mapping of Course outcomes with Program outcomes but there are few Program outcomes which require industrial exposure, practical knowledge etc. which are difficult to accomplish during online classes. Moreover, students won’t take such activities seriously and will try to finish them by copying from different resources as their focus will shift from self & skills improvement to getting passing marks.
To conclude, we can say that it is high time for all the educational institutes to make an effort towards enhancing the efficacy of fully online and blended learning in order to achieve students’ learning outcomes. Many faculty members are unaware of the fact that online classes can result in effective learning gains in comparison to physical classroom teaching. Hence, they should be given proper training so that they can equip themselves with IT tools for creating innovative teaching activities for smooth functioning of classes. This is the reason, educational institutions are getting inclines towards ERP Software and iCloudEMS has emerged with its automated digitized products to manage the services of College & University ERP which can enhance student learning making class schedule management easier, fast uploading & downloading of assignments, projects etc., proctored online exams conduction etc.