Teachers are not well-versed with online meeting platforms used for online classes.
Dr. Helen Roselin has been teaching Environmental Sciences at Mount Carmel College for many years. She loves to teach, but online teaching has made her hate her job. She feels she isn’t able to give 100 percent to her students because she lacks technological know-how.
“Virtual learning requires creativity to better engage the students and this requires training as we remain accustomed to the traditional in-person way of imparting knowledge,” the doctor said.
Like Roselin, other educators also feel that teachers need to be trained for virtual/online teaching in order to increase the quality of education. It is equally hard for both teachers and students to adjust to this new normal.
Mr. Madhusudana, an English professor at Maharani College said, “One faces various inhibitions during online classes. We need to upgrade our teaching methods and incorporate newer technologies. The first step would be to understand the basics of the online software that is used to hold classes.
“We also need to inculcate better time-management skills and maintain good communication with the students. Flexibility, adaptability, and patience are the key to surviving and flourishing amidst the new normal.”
“Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are constantly juggling between the online and offline world. It is important to be well equipped with technology. EdTech is a growing sector in India. New technologies will arrive and educators should be the first to get well versed in them,” said Prof. H. Nagaraj, who teaches English at Maharani Arts, Commerce and Management College for Women.
For students, online classes lack physicality and a sense of community which can be found through offline classes.
Ayush Bhatt, a student at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, said, “I feel there isn’t much interaction in online classes. As a result, I end up feeling distracted and prefer missing the class. There isn’t much practical learning and it feels boring and hectic just sitting in front of the screen listening to the teacher’s voice.
“I believe that teachers can come up with creative ways to engage the class, for instance, simulation activities and games which can help accelerate the learning process whilst making it interactive. Through this, the students can retain the concepts for a longer period of time.”
Technical issues prove to be a major problem during online classes. “Often, the teacher has a weak internet connection which makes it difficult for the students to understand what is being conveyed and make notes. Teachers also find it difficult to adapt to the various online platforms (like Zoom and Microsoft Teams) because they aren’t accustomed to teaching this way. Before taking classes, there should be sessions for teachers to make them adept with the platform so as to make online learning efficient,” said Aniket Edhate, a student at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
Parents are worried about their children’s future.
Geetika Singh, mother of Abhimanyu Singh, a student at Presidency College said, “Quality online education is the need of the hour. Children do not pay much attention during online classes and are often careless due to the lack of strict regulation. Why will they pay attention when they know nobody is watching over them? Therefore, teachers should make all children switch on their cameras during the entire duration of the class and ensure that each student is paying attention. They should be questioned regarding the concepts at regular intervals.”
Those involved in the education business say it’s essential to train teachers to better manage virtual classrooms.
Smitha Venkatesh, adviser-Technology and Products, Sikshana Foundation, Bengaluru said, “It is the duty of the schools/colleges to make teachers comfortable with the online platform. India is becoming digital. It’s high time that we all become prepared for the future.”
Beas Dev Ralhan, co-founder of Next Education India Pvt. Ltd, said: “India has a high youth population. Each of them has immense potential if given the right education. So it would be a good idea to train our teachers to set a benchmark for virtual education.”
Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns forced schools, colleges, and universities to stop face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. They had to move overnight to the online-only learning-teaching model.
The online education market in India, however, saw an exponential growth rate. According to a report by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, The EdTech market in India is expected to reach $ 4 billion in 2025, from $ 750 million in 2020.