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The Shift to Online Teaching during the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Reported by the United Nations [1], there are over 166 COUNTRIES that have implemented country-wide closures of educational institutions. This crisis forced nearly 60.2 MILLION TEACHERS to remodel learning materials to be taught on digital platforms in a short period of time.

This left a great impression on how the education sector paved way to different unconventional teaching models and how the teaching force tuned to opportunities, challenges and risks of teaching online.

Without any doubt, teaching in a different environment has its own pros and cons. You would think that teachers wouldn’t have any problem with the transition to online learning. But… that’s only if you’d take a step back and see the bigger picture.

With the sudden shift and less to none preparation of educational institutions for online learning, COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the abrupt transition of educational institutions to online learning and imposed the challenges to the teaching force on how they’d be able to deliver quality education through digital platforms.

So, did you see the bigger picture? Then perhaps you can share a thought or two for a crucial question.

Can online teaching through various learning tools measure up to the conventional, face-to-face teaching in terms of quality and experience?

Exactly! It’s possible, right?

Whereas there are notable differences between face-to-face and online teaching, both models if prepared for and with the right reevaluation of teaching practices:

  • Can deliver quality teaching and learning experience
  • Can close the gap between experience of student-instructor face-to-face interaction and online learning

Then what could possibly go wrong?

Challenge to the Teaching Force

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Some would think that refining teaching models and practices is already hard enough but believe it or not, most teachers are having a HARDER TIME overcoming basic challenges with digital platforms than refining their teaching practices. What used to be trivial is taking a significant role now.

You’d ask yourself, “How hard can it be? You’ll just set a Zoom meeting, turn on your cam and make sure that your mic is working.”

This sounds easy, right? Yes, but it’s not the same experience for everyone.

Feel free to join the club if you’ve ever said…

  • “Can you hear me clearly? Is my voice loud and clear? Everyone? …Hello?” You’d think the problem is you but most of the time, your students do not really engage in class discussions — possibly afraid to speak or still half asleep.
  • “Oh sorry, I think you’re on mute. Please start from the beginning again.” There you were, thinking that the student was practicing their oral performance task.
  • “Oh no, some of you are getting disconnected already and we haven’t even started our class!” Really, this is one of the things that can’t be helped.
  • “Come on guys, can someone answer the question for me?” And sometimes… you’d end up answering the question yourself. Or ever heard from your students…
  • “Professor, my internet connection is very poor right now.” Again, some things are out of your control.
  • “Ma’am, we can’t see the presentation. Are you sharing it already?” And you’d hear this when you’re already halfway through your discussion.
  • “Ma’am, I-I-I can’-t h-ear yo-u cle-ar-ly.” A POSSIBLE never-ending cycle.

And the list goes on. While some teachers are tech-savvy and know most of the “How to” when it comes to digital platforms, there are some that are challenged and do not look forward to encountering setbacks. All of these seem to be trivial to others but to the teaching force, these affect the quality of their student’s learning experience.

Aside from making sure quality education is delivered, teachers are now challenged on how to use different technologies starting from how to use Zoom meetings, facilitating breakout rooms to how to make sure that online assessments are taken properly without any need of a facilitator.

This sounds tough, right? These challenges are becoming setbacks for some.

But… COVID-19, with its opportunities and risks, pushed the teaching force to be innovative, creative and reevaluate their teaching practices to focus on what is more significant in educating during a pandemic.

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*This gives an opportunity to education sectors to reshape education and protect not only the students but the teachers as well. Although this may have put the education sector in a vulnerable state, it also resulted to an eye-opening experience on how important to not only invest in the student’s learning experience amidst pandemic but to also invest in the teaching force’s efforts in delivering quality education on digital platforms and developing a better online learning system.*

For over a year after COVID-19 forced educational institutions to close and gave the challenge to the teachers on how to deliver quality education through digital platforms, as an educator…

How did you respond to the transition to online learning?


Sources:

[1] https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/sgreportsocio-economicimpactofcovid19.pdf

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