Challenges of online education system

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Role of education in the growth of civilization has been accepted by everyone and is rightly said that“ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” by Nelson Mandela.  At present, due to serious pandemic (COVID-19) situation all over the world education sector is also one of the most affected sector.   Students and teachers were forced to change the way of teaching and learning from class –room practice to online teaching/learning in a big way.

Initially, both students and teachers found it quite strange and difficult to switch over to online practice and there was a strong opposition to online mode of education from both side. But, with time (for the last about two years) not only students and teachers but other stake holders also are getting accustomed to online education practice. However, the overall quality of education is at the stake. Although, at present, it very difficult to pin point on the view of administrators and planners about the advantages and disadvantages of online education and its future role. Students are completing their online courses by scoring very high marks but gaining very less knowledge. Online learning requires strong self-motivation, sincerity, honesty and time management skills from both-students as well as teachers. From students’ point of view, the negative aspects of online teaching are lower course quality, decreased usability of content, technological problems (, lack of internet facilities & slow or irregular network or electricity availability) and a lack of interaction with peer students. Some other disadvantages of online learning can be mentioned as: social isolation of students, lack of communication skills development, focus on theory rather than practice, no practical exposure to vocational (with science and technology) courses, virtual practical classes are proving ineffective, limited student feedback etc.

Accreditation & quality assurance in online education

Accreditation & quality in online education is being compromised from both sides-students as well as teachers. Here are some points which are proving as road blocks in imparting quality online education.

Role of teachers

  • Teachers are sticking to easy ways of teaching and conducting of online examinations viz., just uploading book notes (pdf) or lecture notes pdf in G-suite class room and route reading them to students.
  • Taking classes by making these one-way process with very less interaction with students.
  • Less efforts are put to address the academic quarries of students.
  • Theoretical lectures are considerably easier to implement in an online learning environment than practical lectures, so efforts should be made to make virtual practical classes more effective and interactive.
  • Many a times the teaching environment is disturbed/influenced by teacher’s surroundings at home/office.
  • Students are sometimes heavily loaded with assignments.
  • Putting simple quizzes on G-suite as making mathematical/design oriented quizzes is a difficult process.
  • Putting simple examination questions.
  • Not taking the evaluation of answer sheets very seriously.

Role of students

  • Students feel their online teachers are not particularly interested in neither them nor the instructional process.
  • Students also not seem very serious in making the learning a two-way process.
  • They join the class just for attendance.
  • For a teacher it is difficult to watch each and every student on video during the class so students just login to the class and do not pay much attention to lecture.
  • Some students fail online college courses because they don't know what to expect. They may think that online classes are easier than classes taken in the classroom, when in reality these courses require more discipline and, often, more work.

Observations about online examination

Examinations have an important role in the process of learning and in the whole educational system. Examination has always been an integral part of the education system in order to bring out the responsible, capable and knowledgeable students in the fore front and to motivate others to work hard to excel in their life. Examination are intended to develop a sense of responsibility among the learners to remember the concepts and present them in the most valuable form. Exams improve the student's overall personality, memory, and their revision skills. Though cheating in examination has always been in the offline examination system also but its scale was limited to very few students and was always with in control of the invigilators. The examination system is the most victim in online line education system as cheating of many types in online examination system is most rampant. Here are some common observations from online examination process.

  • The answers to questions by most of the student’s match word by word with each other.
  • The answers seem to be copied from each other and down loaded from google.
  • Students share the answers with their class mates immediately after the paper/test or quiz are out on the G-suite google classroom.
  • For such acts students seem to be well equipped with internet and communication devices.
  • Though this practice is less in higher education students but the answers seem to be just copied from books or lecture notes.
  • Few students just cut and paste the answers from their notes into answer sheets.
  • Sometimes the ink impression and writing flow varies in an answer sheet.
  • Students never follow the guidelines regarding their answer sheets like: writing name, registration number, date, time, page number and putting signature at every page.
  • Most of the students never come on video during their examination.
  • Even if they are on video, they only show either their face or other parts of their place but not the answer sheets.
  • Some students leave the G-suite class after downloading the paper.
  • Most of the students upload their answer sheets very late giving an excuse of networking.
  • Few students intentionally upload blurred images of answer sheets.
  • The hand writing of few students is not worth to read on the screen.

Through online examination, most of the regular students are getting A+ & A grades and this system has proved to be boon for those students who appeared for supplementary or improvement examinations. The online education should not become a source of only getting high grades/marks but also a gate way of gaining sound theoretical as well as practical knowledge.  Teachers should teach with sincerity, students should be honest learners and methods to stop students from online cheating should be developed. Open book system can be a boon not only to failing online examination system but it will motivate students to be more innovative and self-learners.  However, for this both teachers and students have to be equally competent and dedicated to adopt the system. Hope that if online education has to stay or at least become a part of the offline education system, these limitations will be addressed and fixed by some of the more innovative online learning platforms, dedicated teachers and self-motivated students.

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