The world is going through an extra-ordinary crisis of unparalleled dimensions and naturally the education sector is no different. Some 540 million students from class 1 to the highest Masters and research levels in India are studying or trying to study from home. Given the factor that there is uncertainty about the duration of this period, we must get used to this New Normal and get ourselves on to the task of teaching learning online through various digital platforms. The following are my ten top suggestions for effectively doing so today when we are home-locked in the collective interest of all.
- First, just as we wear a shirt, a trouser and a footwear to be at home or go outside, we invariably need a smart phone with data, a stable wifi-connection and a laptop with camera inbuilt. I am aware that many cannot afford these, many will not have a great connectivity in their locality, and there may be troubles in getting these just now. However, whether you have, or loan, or buy online, these are simply must for a digital learning experience of a good quality.
- Second, for digital learning, you must have an active habit of browsing portals, being an active member of some social media (Facebook for experience sharing, Instagram for visuals sharing, LinkedIn for professional networking, YouTube for films and video explainers, and Twitter for short messaging of news and views). This will help you to attend FB and YouTube live sessions on knowledge issues as well.
- Third, you must be on Gmail, on Google platform, with access to Google Drive and if possible, paid access to G-Suite of Google. These will give you an opportunity to interact with others, store good content of all variety, and be part of Google Class by mentors or use Google Spreadsheet and attend or address Google Hangouts on specific themes, apart from co-creating a document on Google with peers.
- Fourth, you should be conversant in attending Zoom sessions for live class or webinar experience, and even better, if you can generate Zoom sessions which are free upto 40 minutes. Though a maximum of 100 people can attend a Zoom session, it is best organized with 30 to 40 participants at a time.
- Fifth, you must develop an email etiquette to address the recipient properly, end the mail properly, give a body-copy to your communication, and write briefly in bullet points almost identifying the core issues of your problems or learning needs. Similarly, there is a web-discussion etiquette of not speaking out of turns, not speaking over someone, muting one’s speaker phone when someone talks, and raising hand to make a point and waiting for the chance to speak calmly.
- Sixth, you must be able to download videos, watch minutely while listening to academic discussions on videos, noting down key points, and ideally repeat watching a second time to capture points missed out the first time.
- Seventh, you must know basics of Adobe Premier and may be iVideo or WeVideo to create short explanatory video or statement of understanding of a subject discussed digitally, apart from knowing how to make a good visually rich power-point presentation and an excel sheet as needed.
- Eighth, you must be good in recording video and audio, use whatsapp to share files even after compression, and conduct co-created collaborative study resources digitally. Even videos, podcasts (audio content), ppts, pdfs etc can be shared on whatsapp individually or to a group. While using Whatsapp, special care must be taken to avoid false content, doubtful content and defamatory videos etc.
- Ninth, you must prepare separate folders for each course, and save ppts, pdfs, videos, podcasts etc of that course chronologically in order of the chapters or units in the syllabus in the folder so that there is no time lost to get the same when needed and during course revision.
- Tenth, you must space your time suitably for not less than eight to ten hours a day, dividing time between listening, reading online, attending Google class, a zoom session (or Microsoft Meets, Webex meets or GoToMeetings as the case may be), watching videos, filing and preserving, and preparing your notes based on all inputs you have got.
- Eleventh, you must register free or by paying small fees good courses relevant to your domain of learning, beyond what your mentors are teaching and sharing. These can be Khan Academy videos and explainers, Course Era courses done in collaboration with several American universities, Swayam courses by UGC, MOOCs, etc. These will give you additional skills and certification and make you a pro in digital learning.
- Twelfth, digital learning also needs that you take a 10 minutes break after every hour, stretch yourself, have a little walk, or a cup of tea or juice or a fruit etc, and may even jog around in your home or corridor or go up and down the stairs. This will help you avoid any body pain, neck ache or getting fat accumulated. While you must minimum three good meals a day with small breaks of tea, juice or fruits, no meal should be heavy while staying at home and studying.
Take the lockdown as a time gifted to you by nature to reboot yourself, set your ethical and professional compass right, re-prioritise, introspect, plan, and take a leap in life and work thereafter.
Best wishes for an intensive engaging journey with yourself, and with others digitally.
by Professor Samit Ray
Chancellor, Adamas University, Kolkata
Visited 2212 times, 1 Visit today