The online education system has been gaining popularity since the advancement of technology and the widespread use of internet. The facility to learn without having travel is one of the biggest plus points along with other minor perks of online education. As the world is evolving at a faster pace, it has become essential to change our lifestyles. Examples of humans adapting to their environment are not rare in history. Having to learn to cook meat, hunt, cover our bodies, and living under shelters were adaptations to the environment that were done for survival. Similarly, in the year 2020, there was a massive shift in lifestyle due to covid19. Work from home and online education system was followed massively all around the globe.
Online Education System
By definition, an online education system refers to learning via teacher-student interaction using the medium of electronic devices supported by the internet. Unlike the conventional education system, people from anywhere around the world can join these virtual classes. Although the transition from conventional to online education may seem rapid due to the covid19, it has been always here in many forms. For example, using e-books, e-mails, online documents, and study material has been in use for a couple of decades is all somehow a part of online education. After spending the year 2020 in lockdown and attending online classes, the advantages and disadvantages of the online education system can be discussed in detail.
Advantages of Online Education System
- Teachers can conduct classes without having a physical space.
- Students do not have to travel as it involves learning from home.
- The online education system can be made cost-effective by excluding travel charges, building rent, electrical charges, etc.
- People from any part of the world can register for their desired program.
- People having jobs can select classes according to their schedule.
Disadvantages of Online Education System
- The practical knowledge cannot be transferred as effectively as it can be in a conventional education system.
- Many countries or areas do not have access to the internet services which can cause difficulties for some students.
- It can be difficult for people who are not tech-friendly or cannot afford the internet or electronic devices.
- There is no or less real-life socialization in the online education system that is necessary for a healthy and fully functioning individual.
Digitalization of Education System
In the past few decades, the rapid digitalization and progression in technology have set foot in every sector including the education sector. The innovation of various software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, etc. has made it easy to conduct online classes without any interruption. However, it is essential to have a good internet connection for online education. With the availability of the internet across most parts of the globe, it is easy to adapt to e-learning. The process of transferring most systems to online services has been started for some years but covid19 has proven to be the catalyst to a revolution in the online education system.
As necessity is the mother of invention, covid19 has normalized the concept of online education in every single part of the world and everyone has accepted it graciously. Institutes have covered almost all of the year 2020 through online classes. According to a UNICEF report, around 90 percent of countries transferred to online education during the pandemic. During this time, many big universities offered many online courses for people around the world to encourage the virtual classroom culture.They developed a system to regulate virtual classes and the assessment of students, effectively, in online education.
Encouraging Online Education
The Chinese e-commerce company, Alibaba, installed around 100,000 cloud servers to expand the areas of internet reach to support online education for students from remote areas. Other than that, software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet enhanced their features during this time to support online education and work from home conditions on a larger scale. Within a span of one year, there was seen a major shift to digitalization and online services. It would not be wrong to say that this could be the start of a digital revolution.
“Online learning is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-effective ways to educate the world rapidly expanding workforce.” Jack Messman
Role of Covid19 in Online Education
In the times of the covid19 crisis, online education proved to be a panacea. Even though there was progression in the online education system in many countries of the world before the emergence of covid19 but the progress was slower as compared to development in the digital arena. After the pandemic was declared as a health emergency throughout the globe, people were asked to stay inside their homes, and schools were closed down.
To prevent the loss of education, authorities decided to start online education instead of wasting the whole academic year. This accelerated the digitalization of the education system more rapidly.Therefore, the credit for creating and normalizing virtual classrooms fore-learning goes to Covid19.
Many universities conducted their exams online along with various other activities. The US also hosted an online ‘Class of 2020 Graduation’ ceremony in which many famous personalities from Academia, Politicians, and Celebrities participated to bid farewell to graduating students and give them hope for a new beginning. These events not only encouraged the students but made it easy for everyone to survive the lockdown.
Future of Online Education
The online education system amid covid19 proved to be a successful feat for everyone, as it did not let an academic year to waste. However, things have started to get back to normal. Almost all of the countries have resumed their on-campus classes. So, where does the situation of online education stands after the pandemic is over? If we analyze, the digitalization of the education system can be proved beneficial in many ways which already discussed.
It is time to devise a new education model that is hybrid of online and on-campus education. The year 2020 has already proven that learning through online education is not possible. While doing so, it is important to reduce the digital divide among all parts of the world. Countries with low resources should be allowed fundings to improve their digital infrastructure.
Moreover, it is important to train teachers for effective teaching methods using electronic devices and the internet. Many universities have devised many online courses and degrees even after the on-campus classes have resumed. This is one step ahead of the situation of online education before Covid19. Moreover, some degrees that require technical knowledge and lab work must continue their on-campus education. This will be beneficial as more research labs can be allocated to these students, resulting in development in the research arena.
One thing that should be kept in mind while focusing on the education system is that dissolving or reducing on-campus education can impact the socialization of individuals because schools and universities are a great way to socialize and learn from one another. While trying to win the race of excelling in the online education system, we must not ignore the psychological impact on students. Schools and universities should plan extracurricular activities for students and for their physical and mental health.
After the discussion, a question arises whether online education is successful or not?
Answer to this question differs for many countries and demographics. Underdeveloped countries do not have the full fledge facility to hold on-campus classes as there is no infrastructure for schools and universities. So the question to conduct online classes seems absurd for these areas.
These countries should not be forgotten while moving on the same road to the development of an online education system. Moreover, a certain age group i.e. older generation does not have enough computer literacy to handle the complications that occur in online education. This age bracket is mostly the professors and teachers in universities. This challenge can cause harm to students attending their classes. Therefore, on-hand computer training and computer literacy is one important factor in the promotion of online classes. Only this way online education system can become successful.
By concluding, there is no doubt that the online education system can prove to be a successful medium to promote education throughout the world. It can pave new ways to develop. Despite every difficulty, Covid19 proved to be a blessing in disguise as it opened many ventures for online education or e-commerce or introduced other sectors to the digital revolution. Considering this, it can be said that online education can become successful. However, some things must be taken into considerations. Inclusion of all ages, ethnicities, countries in the new revolution should be the top priority. Otherwise, the priviledged vs. underprivileged division will only widen. Because the system is updating, it should emerge into a new system, leaving all the prejudices, unethical things, and oppression behind.