First things first I am not a luddite, rather hold the opposite view to build better and new stuff that can be used by other individuals and make people’s lives easier.
In the pandemic era of 2020 we all find ourselves surrounded by tons of video calls everyday to replace human interaction that our minds are used to but is it really a solution ?
Even though we have been able to emulate the real world paradigms and functionalities of organised systems of Schools, Colleges, Companies and Businesses is the way things are being done the best way forward considering all factors of impact, effect and mental balance of the human mind ?
Let’s Start with stats from my online zoom classroom
Firstly, Personally speaking in a classroom of 235 students before september the number students that joined the online zoom classes was around 160 - 170 roughly 70% joined and 20% who joined their audio was never connected basically they weren’t listening to anything that was spoken. Post September the numbers have dropped to 40% which is very low.
The numbers dwindling isn’t the problem; the problem is how the things are conducted in a very weird way. First and foremost we are living in a time that hasn’t happened before so our subconscious brain hasn’t been accustomed to long hours of virtual interactions.
Being glued to a screen for hours at end for very low information disposal rate.
Secondly, Lectures are very slow methods of teaching but as most of the learning population of undergrad students I am colleagues with have always learned in recorded format on the Internet, so our idiosyncrasies to pause, record, play and reflect as time progresses with relative intervals is habitual.
Also most recorded lectures of zoom also don’t solve the problem but actually raises it to a power. Think about it if you want to find a particular piece of information buried deep within hours of content without any indexing and filled with teacher’s asking if they are audible or question students whether they are getting it or not which half the time are not responding.
Natural human conversation and interactions
Thirdly, learning usually happens with casual interactions that are results of spur of the movement between people having different mental models of ideas.
these mental models get copied over to other’s minds be it classroom environments where people chit chat about a topic they might have learned or an office place where a new strategy is discussed.
We can always digitalise communication but can’t take away the extempore nature of such interactions which we can’t emulate quickly on the current scenario, even if we do we can’t make a raw parts effect as it usually does.
Concepts as themselves are graphical in nature coupled with the above problems and the linear nature of how information is organised result in a lower learning rate.
Student’s lack of interest
Fourthly, Adding to all of this, most of the Indian population in education focuses on marks they receive rather than actual learning shows way less effort from student’s sides too.
Most Students are just bombarded with assignments which they just make by removing components from other people’s assignments or if a quiz happens everyone is connected on a video call where everyone gets more less the same marks.
I wouldn’t doubt as time progresses and things come to normalcy the people who attended classes as medium to remain afloat on their academics would be eventually labeled as the ones of lower quality and mocked by their peers and colleagues when they join any workforce.
This is a very personal point of view it can be both wrong in some ways and right in some manner but here are some problems I Think that won’t go away for a long time and we have got to do something to find solutions to do this.
For Student’s and Readers
A solution to this has always been (that I have been trying to implement) taking your own education in your hands. So I have started collecting resources by trial and testing multiple youtube creators and blog writers and internet quality resources after all we live in the information era where information should be publicly accessible which has become like a moral right to us.( More on that later in another blog)
College Education once went virtual gave me a thought on how we are just given a package of teachers and professors to study but it is upon us to choose where we can learn from, internet is your playground and there are chances that better resources are going to be freely available for you to learn from depending on your format of learning. Why Does Learning Format matter? Because not everyone’s learn in the same way. Think about this give a pause and reflect. Some people learn better when they are learning audio visually, some by reading or practicing and exprentially (which I believe is the best way).
On Institute’s End
College Education System’s can create high information packed content which are high in quality and to the point it can be achieved recorded via webcam and screen share. Though only one professor in my 4th semester was able to implement that via his youtube channel.
coupled with such formats there could be sessions where problem solving and issues could be solved with TA’s and professors.
A lot of thought and work needs to go in how information dissemination should work and what systems work for what students. This could have been an opportunity to experiment but that ship has sailed a long time ago.
There needs to be research done on the long term impacts on mental health on this online virtual world we have started to live in .
Peace! Hoping for the best. Stay Awesome