Blog entry by Koketso Maredi
The growing COVID19 pandemic has posed serious problems to the worldwide education system, with many universities having to switch to online learning and varsity students having to adapt to the new learning environment.
My online learning experience was quite stressful at first taking into consideration that I am really not used to, neither am I that good with technology. There were a lot of technical basic things which I needed to figure out on my own, like using Microsoft office, setting up Zoom and Teams meetings for assignments group discussion along with presentations. In my first year (2020) I was really happy and enjoyed learning from the comfort of my home, considering it being the year the pandemic came into to play, and full-time online learning came into introduction which left us feeling overwhelmed, worried and stressed, so home was the best place to be.
Here are some of the pros and cons I had during my experience since last year:
- l You get to learn using your own flexible schedule: as opposed to physical contact or on-campus learning, online learning enables you to attend recorded lecture classes at your own time, which serves you the advantage of pausing the video/audio to take notes or simply take a moment to absorb what had been said, and you also have the ability to re-listen to different parts as needed, which is something you can't do in a live lecture.
- l Some of the lectures and tutors do not mind at all being contacted outside consultation time, this allows you to ask questions at whatever time you decided to study and get a response, if you are lucky you will get it immediately.
- I am not really fond of how some of the lectures bombarded us with more assignments whose due dates are not that far apart from each other, However that somehow taught me time management along with independence, but also came with a lot of stress.
- I can also say it has turned me into a procrastinator, now I have developed the tendency of doing my work at the last minute, while in the past (on-campus) I would usually complete my assignments days before the due date without feeling lazy.
- l Internet was at my disadvantage at times. There will be times where I get to experience load-shedding while in the middle of an exam and I’ll lose connection and start panicking because I can’t even email the lecture for assistance at that moment reason being I don’t have a connection which is so stressful and emailing the lectures hours after the exam may seem dodgy.
Overall, I do not find online learning effective reason being, you are easily tempted to cheat during an online test or exam, I mean… the fact that you are writing alone without invigilators and the only thing you get to focus on is the time given and answering as many questions correctly as you can, so there might be a question in which you are quite not sure about the answer but you know where the concept is in the textbook, then you just quickly page through and copy and the end up getting marks you do not deserve with something you do not know and that will catch up with you in the future when you have to apply what you were taught in varsity in the workplace.
I would prefer a physical classroom to an online classroom in the future. The rationale for this is that it makes it easier for me to comprehend lesson plans and confidently apply what I've learned.