Now, it is a ‘back to school’ period like no other: many of the countries are planning to reopen institutions gates following weeks of required closures. So, education authorities worldwide is preparing for in-institution learning to start again, knowing that students as well as institution faced unprecedented challenges in the time of acute phase of the COVID’19. Students at the time of coronavirus, first found difficult to adjust in the virtual education system, but with time as they adjusted into it, the new phase is taking them back to on-campus education. This will definitely make it challenging for students to settle back in college life given limited time frame.
How will students adjust after experiencing a shift from online classes and what should institutions do in this regard?
Students might find difficulty in adjusting back to on-campus learning, but with mutual collaboration of professors and students, it could be easily achieved.
This pandemic has made students more towards digital life. The technological dimension in education has become stronger than before and this compels professors to reconsider the teaching methodologies. Students now expect that, they will be given a monologue that could be easily pause, and will move forward and backward, upon own command just as a video. At higher level, students can record lectures and listen to them peacefully when free as this could allow them to catch the pace slowly.
As for the initial few months after quarantine, the class strength will be less. Therefore, the teachers have to be prepared to teach both online and face-to-face. Flipped classrooms will become important and has to be adopted smoothly. This calls for methodologies which we were not accustomed to. So at first, the professors will become digital content generators, and secondly, create and manage dynamic activity sessions to get students adjust easily among peers.
Education now will be collaborative and more open. Internet has allowed us to be permanently linked with friends, colleagues and family. So, in realistic world, now students won’t be happy when they will be asked to disconnect from the world in order to “learn”. They have got a habit to messaging applications to solve exercises and assignments together. It is paradoxical to expect from students to work individually when today we greatly values the abilities of teamwork and collaboration. So, instead banning these practices, it should be encouraged through class-group learning.
· No exams
The test has almost lost its strength as an evaluation tool. In a highly asynchronous, fluid and collaborative educational environment, the test has lost its meaning giving a way to other assessment methodologies. The automated assessment systems (providing feedback in real time) for students have become increasingly important. For this reason, the instructors will have to design educational experiences such that the assessments will permit the student to improve and correct, almost at the same time of learning. Many teachers are somewhat skeptical, but there is life beyond exams.
Below are few suggestions and tips to support institutions in managing the transition back (online to on-campus classes) to institution for all students, and specifically those with additional education needs.
· Skill development
With the process of digital transformation of education during Covid-19, it is of crucial significance to ensure that the faculty acquires appropriate skills in order carry out this transformation efficiently. Today, digital literacy is important than ever, which calls for teachers to become experts in web publishing and administration, digital community management, multimedia content creation, etc.
Teachers wouldn’t only have to learn new tools, but they need to be familiarized with new methodologies. It’s not all about using the best technologies only, but also to discover in the new educational model that what new methodologies and teaching strategies can be adopted to get students engaged in learning environment.
· Technological aspect
The digital divide has increased and so, the institutions should ensure that it would not affect the equal right to basic education for all. It has already taken place during quarantine and is one of the challenges to be resolved. Providing connectivity and technology to classrooms is key, but it also curial to assign work, seeing how many students have access to this at home and if not, then given by institutes.
Routine and communication:
Institutions should use communication method, like email, video or newsletter to inform students and their families about the system, current timings, instructions, about being in the classroom and precautionary measure to be taken every day being on-campus. Likely, give them a way to be prepared before coming to class in post Covid.
Tackling self-isolation experience to develop confidence in student
The unprecedented level of responsibility which almost students of all age group had to embrace is worth both harnessing and celebrating. The teachers at institutions should use student output produced during the study at home period; as a tool for practical learning in the classroom environment. This could be effectively used to infuse confidence and self-direction capabilities of students. It creates supportive and safe learning environment where students get challenges to strive for success.
Give time to adjust from home learning experiences:
Students need space and time to settle back to school-based learning. As the transition carries much anxiety institutions must cater student’s potential needs as highest priorities. Also, give opportunities for students to discover their home-school experiences to support this transition. The use of open class discussions or yarning circle; while, music, poetry, art, writing, drama, etc. would all allow authentic therapeutic prospects in post Covid.