Studying abroad is a quintessential experience for many students. Each year thousands of students pack their bags and go to different countries for their higher education. This year the Covid-19 pandemic has wrecked the dreams of many. What now?
Universities worldwide believe that despite the spectre of Covid-19 looming large, there’s no reason for students to despair and give up on their study abroad dreams. Instead of waiting for universities to resume physical classes, why not opt for online learning to continue education during the ongoing pandemic.
What to look forward to?
Traditionally, university programmes have been intrinsically based around physical attendance of the students, and digital learning has remained a supplementary support mechanism. However, there is always a way if you look for one. Owing to the ongoing global crisis, academic institutions across the globe are transitioning to online education. Teachers are using online tools to keep their classes running, and ensure that the next generation workforce develops the skills that they need, irrespective of unprecedented challenges brought by Covid-19.
Several international universities have also commenced online classes to bridge the current gap in contact time with students. International universities in many countries, including the UK, US and Singapore, have replaced in-person teaching with an online teaching-learning model.
A recent announcement from the UK Home Office said that international students can start their courses online and join on campus by April 2021 and still be eligible for the graduate route. The decision reflects the fact that most of the UK universities are willing to adopt a mix of face-to-face and online teaching a “blended learning” approach. The UK Visa and Immigration Services have also resumed operations in a phased manner in India.
Why opt for online learning?
Nothing can indeed match the experience of face-to-face classes. However, virtual or online learning provides an array of new learning opportunities.
In an online learning setup, educators leverage interactive tools and technologies that help foster online student engagement. Being able to interact with data and information on the screen helps students learn as well as retain concepts better.
Tools such as user interfaces or apps and hands-on learning exercises. can be used to introduce interactivity into the course material. Virtual labs or simulations created can augment students’ engagement, and help them understand complicated subjects in a simple way.
There has been a time when questions arise in the quality of education when conducted online. The reality is, through online learning students have access to world-class faculty. The idea of conducting online classes isn’t new among international universities.
The pandemic has simply acted as a catalyst to boost online education. Unlike physical classes, online learning provides various channels such as mail, online chat, and video conferences, through which students and instructors can interact with each other. Online learning drives community engagement that enhances the exchange of new ideas beyond boundaries.
Learning should never stop, and technology is the best channel for that. There are new-age skills such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, and data analytics. that require frequent training to ensure students remain up-to-date with industry needs. This can be executed via online learning.
Online teaching and learning eliminates the challenges of time and place, and students can attend classes from anywhere and anytime. In an online set-up, with the automatic grading system, the students receive immediate feedback and learn from the mistakes. Online learning system also helps students set reminders for assignment deadlines.
The virtual system of learning has proved its merits. As the technology advances, online education is here to stay. A collective effort of teachers, students and universities is important to ensure that students’ education is not affected by the pandemic.
Read: Covid-19: How parents can increase their child’s productivity in home-schooling
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