The Internet brings us a multitude of opportunities and new experiences unlike before. Many of us now have almost instant access to information, entertainment, and news thanks to our gadgets and a WiFi connection. One of the biggest opportunities is online learning. We always think of online learning as a great thing. It sure is for those who lack access to schools and trained teachers. However, as universities and schools move online it’s beginning to show that online learning is not as great as we think it is.
Schools and Universities Move to Online Learning
With lockdowns taking place all over the world, students are at home more than ever. Classes are online through platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom. Materials and homework are handed out to students online. Schools are also postponing exams because students cannot be put in classrooms.
As we get used to a new normal and social distancing, it seems that going back to the classroom is not happening any time soon. In fact, Cambridge is the first ever University to prepare for online learning until Summer 2021.
Following in those footsteps, our very own Government is implementing a similar strategy. All Malaysian universities must conduct online classes until the 31st of December 2020. However, there are four groups of students that are allowed to return to campus.
These groups include final year or final semester students, those with special needs, and new intake students under the 2020/2021 academic year. It is because some students might need access to facilities, equipment, or require face to face teaching.
Moving on, while online learning is a good alternative during this period of time, it shouldn’t be permanent. Students around the world are not receiving a proper education as online learning lacks in many areas.
Why it isn’t as Good as You Think
With students unable to go to campus, they are unable to make use of the facilities and resources available. This includes libraries, computers, study rooms, laboratories, and more. As such, many feel that they are paying fees for services they can’t even enjoy. They feel that it is unfair for universities to collect these resources fees when campus isn’t even open.
Moreover, online learning does not take into consideration those who lack access to the Internet or proper gadgets to carry out the work. Laptops are now essential in completing online assignments and accessing study materials and not everyone has one.
Let’s also not forget that a home environment is not ideal for most students and also teachers. Some of us have younger siblings, a noisy environment, pets, and other distractions. Teachers also have to struggle between their jobs and their role in the home.
Furthermore, parents who are at home with their kids might not be able to provide the guidance they need. After all, how many of us remember how to do Add Math? There are students who greatly benefit from face-to-face learning and guidance that are struggling at home.
Lastly, students with special needs are missing out on the structure and programmes that assist them in learning. Children with ADHD, Dyslexia, and more may rely on learning programmes that they no longer have access to.
It’s a relief to see our Government identify that there are groups of students that require a physical learning experience. While online learning is definitely the solution now, we hope there is more room for growth.