COVID-19 pandemic has created trials for the higher education sector globally. One of the significant challenges posed to the universities was the need to shift to online teaching completely as a replacement for face-to-face teaching.
The virus made 2020 a year of hurdles and difficulties where lots of things had to be changed, and life as we know it became readjusted to these changes.The usual pattern of doing business has shifted from physical to online: restaurants are doing home delivery, grocery is being ordered online, executives are managing their tasks via the internet, and of course classes are online too.The universities could not imagine the complete transition to online learning, and are coming to grips with this only now. While online learning, in universities, was mainly an option for learners who were taking a degree from another city or country, and were delivered by a special wing bearing such epithets as ‘Distant Learning’, face-to-face classroom-based learning was their mainstay. That status quo was upended by Covid-19! Now, online learning is the only option to students and also to the educators if education is to continue. In this new environment, using the internet, students get access to the learning content, they watch or listen to the recorded lectures or attend to live classes.
In Bangladesh, higher education, like many other sectors who must remain open and sustain, has gone completely online, and eschewed physical classes. Based on the directives of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Bangladesh, the safety and wellbeing of university enrolled students had to be guaranteed by closing down campuses and switching to online mode. Covid-19 has catapulted us already into several months of online classes, and it is estimated that, a total of almost 203,200 classes have been conducted by 10,200 faculty members to the benefit of more than 9.2 million attendees.This is a great success given the rapidity with which the new mode of learning was adopted by teachers and students like, and, on its own, a remarkable step towards digital transformation.
While taking online classes students should follow some tips for making the experience more rewarding, and their learning more effective. Online learning is not without its challenges, and students following these tips may find it easier to become successful online learners.
1. Focus: As a student you need to be focused about your course works, learning goals, expectations from the course. The expected score you want to achieve is not hard when you keep focus and do not miss deadlines, and submit all deliverables in a timely manner.
2. Be Confident: Do not be frustrated; specially during this period when you are obliged to remain indoors most of the time- studying at home, doing online classes- at some point you may feel down. Keep yourself motivated to carry on the struggle you are in, and believe that it has some reward for you.
3. Self- Discipline: You need to follow rules about study time, wake up time, whole day routine, leisure time. Sometimes you can break the routine and have fun, but soon afterwards you must adhere to your routine, and lead a disciplined life.4. Keep Tracking: Follow the track of online courses, checkingthe online content regularly, keep notes or keep a record in computer, so you don’t feel lost.
5. Communication Etiquette: To communicate with the faculty, the admin, dept. use some formal communication language, always introduce yourself mentioning which course you are enrolled in, what is your student id and name, and mention clearly if there is any problem that needs resolution. In this way, you can communicate effectively.
6. Make a DedicatedStudy Station: Make a specific study space where you find comfort, and relaxed enough to study. The space should be free from noise, ergonomic, and all your study materials and IT gear should be at hand and easy to reach. Set your mind to study for a fixed period of time, and do not be distracted by anything in between like playing games, listening to songs, social media, and chatting online with friends.
7. Keep Track Record of Required Tech Platform: If you have 3 to 4 courses doing online, make a plan of those courses in terms of how the courses are conducted for discussion. If they are conducted in different platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet or any other system you need to prepare and plan accordingly.
8. Calendar for the Reminder: Try to keep a calendar for example Google Calendar which gives reminder for all the class schedules and assignment deadlines, or other group communication schedules.
9. Make a Plan Ahead: When you are spending some free time, still think ahead, what you are going to do next one or two days. Follow the deadlines and plan accordingly. Keep yourself mentally engaged, where you are always thinking of your course preparation, if you have something still to do, something you left behind.
10. Stay Connected: Try to be in a network, where you have friends, groupmates, peer colleague to share feelings, thoughts during this lockdown time. It will assist you to keep motivated, not to feel that you are lost.
11. Have a BackupPlan: If unexpectedly something goes wrong, you could not finish your due work, how to keep on track have an alternative plan regarding your study strategies, in a short time, how to prepare the long syllabuses.
12. Synchronized Technical Tools: What are the tools and apps you require for continuing online classes and is it convenient to laptop or cell phone, so you can manage synchronized classes from any devices which gives a great flexibility.
13. Before the Final Exam: When the final exam appears very near, plan very carefully of finishing the online lectures, checking if you have submitted every course work, checking still if there is anything left. Lastly, making few days for the preparation of the final exam. If you find yourself not going in this way, don’t panic, believe in yourself, that you can manage.
14. Take Regular Breaks: Take a break from your study where you can maintain healthy diet, do some exercise to boost up, do your favorite thing either cooking, listening to songs, chatting to your friends.
15. Stay Motivated: Reward yourself when you meet the deadline and final done with all your coursework. Time to celebrate.
16. Ask Questions: When you find that study materials, lessons and exercisesare not clear, discuss with your faculty, group members and find a solution.
17. Enjoy the Study Time: So, you need to devote your time and patience for learning online, making it enjoyable as its going to enrich your knowledge and ideas.
18. Make Time forFamily and Leisure Activities: To get the maximum out of online learning it is very important students spend time with family members, and get time to participate in sports and some leisure activities. This will allow you to refresh yourself and come up with a focused mind, well collected self, to start again.
The writers are Assistant Professor and Lecturer respectively of BRAC Business School, BRAC University