It’s a routine that students across the country have followed for years. Get up in the morning and go to school or college. Attend lectures in a classroom, chat with schoolmates, and then return home.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that completely. Students are still going to school. Only they’re not in a physical classroom with a blackboard anymore. They’re in virtual classrooms instead.
It was a huge challenge for the education sector, both in India and globally, to make this transition into virtual learning halfway through the academic year. But most schools and colleges managed the switch seamlessly thanks to modern technology.
Some held classes on apps such as Zoom or Google Classroom. Just like a real classroom. But net connections can be spotty. And sometimes students might not have access to real-time virtual classes.
So what can teachers do to ensure that the benefits of education are provided to all in these uncertain times?
Here are three ways in which teachers can make their course content more accessible:
They can record classes conducted on Zoom or other platforms and upload them to online video and file-sharing platforms like YouTube or Google Drive to make them available to students who cannot make it to a live video chat.
Audio Recordings and lecture notes:
Another way teachers can supplement learning during this time is to make available audio recordings of lectures and share them via more accessible social networks such as WhatsApp. They can also send pdfs of images from a textbook, their own notes from class, or even notes other students to ensure everybody is covered.
It is difficult to conduct exams in the traditional format in the virtual world. Educational institutions can shift to other methods of evaluation such as research papers, academic essays, projects, and presentations.
Universities, colleges, and schools in India have responded to this pandemic in a different way compared to the rest of the world.
Some have suspended semesters and exams altogether, while others have adopted examination software and apps that are not compatible with all gadgets. In some rare cases, they’ve just canceled semesters altogether.
These are tough times. And the problems in the education sector are unprecedented. So, the solutions have to be innovative.
Will students in schools and colleges get back to their old routine soon? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain: the school you left is not going to be the school you return to.
Varun is a student at Ashoka University, majoring in Economics and Finance. He is an intern with the Curriculum Team at Harappa Education.
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