I have just been promoted to the second year of my postgraduate course and our dean was very much proactive in launching the online platform by buying a Zoom subscription, providing access to the online private library and even bought subscriptions to buy e-books. A necessary amount of fees was also reduced although there is no reimbursement of the internet or Wi-Fi charges. Around 2-4 classes of duration 90 minutes are usually scheduled each day, with a couple of days off each week. Faculties usually provide assignments with deadlines and we have to prepare presentations almost every week. Everything which one usually does in a MBA college, we are doing everything and even the faculties are trying to replicate the entire offline model of MBA into an online model. Truth to be spoken, they have been successful in their endeavours, but to what extent?
With each passing day, such online classes are becoming more of a burden. Attending classes every day, for such long hours as well as trying to grasp new topics is becoming increasingly difficult. Even though the faculties are trying to make things easy, there is something about this online platform that makes the entire teaching process a mile less effective. Recent trends suggest that the attention span of a normal 25 years old human being ranges from 10 to 20 minutes. This trend is well observed when we are studying a class environment, usually surrounded by friends who help us getting through the class. But coming to the online mode, what usually happens is our attention span gets drastically reduced and since there is no check with the reality, we often drift away from what exactly is happening in the class. What spikes our frustration is the absence of non-verbal cues during the class activities or during presentation. In classes, we can see our audience and change ourselves accordingly, but in online mode, it seems like a one way communication – we only speak without any response from the opposite end. And to add to that, we always face a fear of losing internet connection in the middle of class. And God forbid, the days when that happens, we have no other options but to succumb to our own senses to try and to understand what we have missed.
But that is not all. Post graduate study is so designed that group work is more of necessity which reduces time and increases effectiveness of our study. Studying solo in our rooms is making things harder, and this is piling up day by day.
But what is more frightening and despairing is that unlike the corporate, schools and colleges does not have any mental wellness programs. Hours of online classes with studying solo in our rooms is creating a mental challenge coupled with anxiety and stress. What actually is happening now is that students are trying to cram everything but what is the effectiveness? Are we really being able to retain anything at the end of the day? There is no doubt that the faculties are trying their best, but somewhere they have failed to consider the mental challenge that we are facing in the meantime.
Online class is perfectly fine for those curriculum which have been designed in that way. It does not work, or at least we are not ready to embrace this form as a substitute of offline mode of classes.
Source – Self