This week, I wanted to give an update on online learning. This is a topic I’ve covered before, but a lot has happened since then. Today, I’ll be explaining how teachers are coping with Coronavirus and what I think of their teaching.
It might not be surprising, but we can’t exactly go to school. However, that can’t stop learning and teachers now needed a medium to teach through. Fortunately, prior to Coronavirus they already had a pretty good one in place. In most classes, we use a website called Google Classroom. It allows teacher to post reminders, work, and assignments. Unfortunately, most teachers were only using Google Classroom for the former. Out of my four classes this semester, three of them uses this website. Out of those three, only two posted work. What I’m trying to say is, a rapid transition to e-learning was needed to made and it wasn’t really made smoothly.
The week after March break was the most desolate. There was no contact at all, and it was hard to get answers to what was going on. A week later, your school email would be flooded with notifications. During this time, I noticed two ways teachers were posting. The first method was a mass dumping of information. This is when a teacher posted multiple lessons at once and wants them done by a certain time. The second, is a more hands approach by the teacher were they post a lesson every single day. Personally, I prefer the latter as I think it’s a lot more organized and controlled. With mass dumping of information, it’s a lot harder to sort out all the work. On the other hand, when a teacher posts one lesson a day, things are a lot more streamlined. All questions that day are related to the one lesson, and the teacher doesn’t need to worry about organizing question for specific lessons. The only problem with posting a lesson each day is that the teacher needs to be actively involved. To summarize, mass dumping of information isn’t good. It confuses students and the only benefit is that teacher only need to be active during their office hours, which is when teachers get on to answer questions.
Fortunately, courses that do employ the mass dumping technique try to soften the blow with online tutorials. The most obvious contenders for this are the courses that revolve around computer programs, examples being Photoshop, AutoCAD, and VisualStudios. I’m fine with a few tutorials to allow students to get a better understanding of the program. However, there is a point where I begin to wonder if I could just teach myself the entire course. Teachers are meant to guide students, and I don’t really feel that in the tutorials. The only time I really interact with teacher during this quarantine are when I have a question, and sometimes I can’t even get an answer.
If this is what online is like, I feel bad for future generations of students. Regardless of how a teacher posts lessons, they should at least teach them in some way. However with quarantine going on, they can’t do that. If a teacher can’t teach what’s the point? At this rate, students might as well go off on to learn on their own and only come together for assessments. I don’t like it, but that’s the vibe I’m getting from the constant posting of tutorials and short responses I get out of teachers. At first I thought maybe they could conduct mass conference calls for lessons. Those who want to learn can join, those who don’t can just read the lesson on their own time. However, that isn’t happening. The only reason I talk to my teacher nowadays is to ask question, and I could probably get the same or better answers from Reddit.
Overall, I understand the necessity for students to work on our own. We’ll need to be independent at some point after all. However, if that is the case, it just makes we wonder what’s the point of a teacher? If they’re there to answer questions, the internet can answer most of them. If they’re there to point out good resources, the internet is full of websites and videos for that. And if they’re there to assess our learning, I think there’ll be programs in the future doing just that. I use to think teachers were safe from robots taking over their jobs, but I think the internet already has.