Online learning: The new normal

As we pass from month to month under coronavirus conditions, it is becoming more and more evident that online education is turning out to be the norm.

Even if normal face-to-face classes return in some distant future, online learning will likely continue as a pedagogical method.

Why is this so? For one, students learn a new discipline with online classes. It is no longer a matter of racing from one classroom to the next to catch courses, but rather of disciplining oneself to be at the computer or mobile device at a specific time and ready to focus on whatever a lecturer may propose: a stream of words, a PowerPoint, a video, a
library reference to read and study.

Students also have to be ready to pull out their Word or Excel file to respond to and perform assignments. It is not like before when a student could comfortably hide behind his/her books or doodle or daydream

Failing attention could mean missing an assignment or not hearing those precious explanations which give the meanings behind the laborious words passed in a class.

Students also learn more precisely how to research the internet for information and distinguish comprehensive information from spurious or superficial information.

Under the lecturer’s guidance, they also get acquainted with the more reliable authors.

In a word, online education imposes a new sense of self-discipline and punctuality, a new appreciation of internet research.

Some students might also learn new learning methods, thus broadening their personal educational experience.

From the learning side, some students actually like the automatic quizzes on the Learning Platform, so do teachers since the Platform also scores the quizzes and posts the grades!

No calculation work for the teacher. But sometimes I notice that more than half of students score a 100 on quizzes—which statistically is usually not possible.

It is a simple trick which many young people use even for others, often innocent activities. On computers, tablets, and smartphones, it is possible to open several tabs simultaneously, depending on the memory capacity.

So while one tab is open to the quiz to be answered, another tab is open to the lesson containing all the information on which the quiz has been based. To score a 100 is merely a matter of copy-pasting the right answers. It is like an open book exam!

But it also takes some thought and intellectual fiber to tell which information is the right information, so I also consider these open tabs as a way of the students’ learning which are the correct answers! It is also possible to shorten the quiz time so that the time for searching answers on other tabs is limited. Then the student must fall back on his acquired knowledge.

With its advantages and its weaknesses, online education will continue in some form in the post-COVID era.*