Online classes are nothing new, but now that they’re the new normal, many people are only discovering them for the first time. With the pandemic forcing countless schools and universities to turn online, e-learning is under the spotlight. Still, they often find themselves on the hot seat, taking blows from disgruntled students.
And the complaints of students aren’t just about slow internet connections and other technical difficulties. Though those two are also major issues, some protests are more deep-seated, such as hefty tuition fees that are not worth it.
A student from the University of Chicago, for one, paid over $50,000 for her education this year but felt shortchanged. Students from the University of California and New York University also voiced out similar concerns. But those from Miami and Drexel Universities took their objections one step further; they filed a class-action lawsuit for tuition refunds.
But are online classes not living up to the expectations? Are the teachers to blame for the collective dissatisfaction of students?
We’ve rounded up the top challenges faced by students in online classes to determine how teachers can make things easier:
1. Adaptation Struggles
Switching to computer-based learning is an unfamiliar experience for many students. Since they have to do it so suddenly, they are overwhelmed and unprepared. Their resistance to change makes it even harder for them, with the Course Management Systems (CMS) and online learning methods requiring some elbow room for adjustment. Furthermore, instead of just passively listening and taking notes, students have found themselves creating web pages.
2. Technical Difficulties
Many students, especially in third-world countries, aren’t equipped with the strong internet connections that online classes require. Those with weaker and outdated monitors may find it almost impossible to conjure the CMS up on their screens. As such, they lag behind their classmates with better gadgets.
To make matters worse, some students don’t own computers and have to seek help from local government agencies or other public offices.
3. Computer Proficiency
Although the typical student today is tech-savvy, their internet navigation skills don’t necessarily equate their literacy in Microsoft Office Programs. Many of them don’t know how to troubleshoot minor computer bugs, too. Hence, interruptions and delays are common occurrences while having online classes.
4. Time Management
Staying at home also demands a lot of time from students. Because online classes require more intensive work than traditional courses, students struggle to juggle their daily commitments and schoolwork.
With the problems above weighing them down, capped off with anxieties about the pandemic, students lose motivation to learn. A slow computer alone is an obstacle big enough to stop them from wanting to continue their courses. However, students still need to cope with and overcome the challenges. They have to understand that online classes have benefits in store for them, which they’d be reaping in the future.
How Teachers Can Help
Like students, teachers are struggling in computer-based learning as well. But students and parents are counting on them, and they can’t afford to let them down in this challenging period.
Teachers have to find out the problems their students are having. By doing so, they can adjust their methods to suit their students’ circumstances. For example, if a slow internet connection is the most common problem, teachers should consider recording their lectures instead of live streaming them. That way, everybody will catch up, as they can watch the recorded videos at their own pace.
But try not to make your videos too long. As much as possible, don’t exceed 15 minutes, because such length may affect downloading speed. Not to mention, that becomes too boring for students with short attention spans.
Explore existing resources as well, because it’s simply unrealistic to expect yourself to film high-quality videos every day. Send over useful links to your students, making sure that they’re accessible and free.
Utilize group communication tools like Zoom or Google Meet. Set a specific time for live discussions, and use it to check on your students. Note the issues they’ve been having, and plan a course of action that will mitigate their challenges. However, don’t be upset when you don’t meet full attendance. Considering the slow internet and other technical difficulties among students, not everyone is likely to show up at a live conference.
Thus, to accommodate students who may frequently lag, consider creating a blog. Blogging is ideal for teachers, as it will allow them to make learning material available 24/7. Plus, it isn’t just your students you’d help, but others from all over the world as well. Make your site stand out by employing a web professional from a local SEO outsourcing agency. With your educational content known worldwide, you’d be an exceptional teacher who may even stand as an inspiration for students and your fellow educators.
As the world continues to battle COVID-19, we don’t have much choice but to cooperate with the new regulations and standards, so let’s make the best out of it, and not waste the unique learning opportunities it presents us.