In the wake of the recent pandemic that has the world in its grip, many industries are now moving to remote work due to the novel coronavirus. From canceled conferences to a disrupted wide array of services, not a corner of the global economy is immune to the spread of Covid-19. So as colleges, education institutions across the globe turn to online mode to conduct classes ensuring the safety and health of the teachers as well as of the students.
What It Means for the Students
Various educational providers are moving towards distance learning, but then the ramp-up has been gradual in many cases and comes with its own set of challenges. Though there is a huge setback from all this, there is also a silver lining to the education sector. Students get to cut back on the time they spend traveling and stay back home or at their hostel, dorms rooms and focus on the course. But then it also requires understanding the students’ practicalities. Some may not have access to laptops or steady internet service. In such scenarios, app-based learning which can also be accessed offline should be rolled out. Their progress should be monitored via calls or messages.
What It Means for the Professors
Besides relying on the University’s or school's official software of the LMS system, they should make themselves available to the students on media and other platforms as well. They have to make sure that the students are connected with them and each other as well. Not only in boundaries of education, but the faculty of the institute must also be a counselor to the students and their parents in times like these.
What It Means for the Academic Institutes
While the focus is on building online courses or converting face-to-face courses to digital mode, there also must be an attempt to extend a sense of care to the students and try at building a community that will be working together to get through the current challenging time. And like all other transformations, this too will take time. An excellent online course can take a year to develop as it requires collaboration among people of different skills. Students should also be involved in the process and suggest the best ways to keep in touch. The idea here is to make the students feel included in the process of rethinking and delivering education in a challenging time.
Apart from setting up online digital learning mode, Universities or higher-level institutes must start incorporating Covid-19 into the curriculum and it is worth giving a thought on how this public health crisis has affected that particular field(s) and what are the contributions that field could be made now to help the community at large.
Even though the focus may largely be on technology, tools, and logistics what’s more important at times like these is compassion from the professors, the support from the University and Schools will make it easier for students who are probably worked up with fear or uncertainty about their future and career.