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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
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Lessons In Solitude

Students and teachers are grappling with vagaries of online classes

Lessons In Solitude
Photograph by Shutterstock
Lessons In Solitude
outlookindia.com
2020-10-30T14:55:44+05:30

Punam Mishra, a faculty member in the Jaipur-based J.K. Lakshmipat University’s (JKLU) Institute of Management, wasn’t sure if she could do it. This was in March this year when the decision was taken to shift teaching to the online mode due to COVID-19. More than six months later, she feels she is an expert in the use of Zoom, Microsoft Team and other video conferencing tools, and conducts classes without hassles.

Her colleagues too were initially apprehensive and hesitant, but do not face difficulties anymore. They learnt the tricks of online tools, albeit with help from each other. Weekly informal training sessions were organised by the varsity for faculty members. “It was scary in the beginning as we had not used these platforms. But we took the challenge head-on. We are ­comfortable with them and could smoothly conduct the classes. We still face a few technical issues, but we can handle them,” says Mishra.

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But this is one side of the story. Professors complain that their workload has grown bigger because of technology. Many spend double the time to prepare for online classes, as ­compared to the physical ones. “I work 16 hours a day because I need 3-4 extra hours for the online classes. It’s time-­consuming since we have to think of not just the coursework, but PPT presentations, and video simulations. And I have to teach almost 150 students,” says IIM-Indore’s Prashant Salwan.

The more astute teachers, especially those who are comfortable with global best ­practices, contend that there are gaps in ­online education. For example, they are ­unable to watch the students at the same time, as in a...

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