By Olajumoke Opasina
Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, education systems around the world have been affected, leading to the widespread suspension of the usual classroom teaching and learning at universities, with the world turning to virtual learning arrangements.
As far as I am concerned, classroom or face-to-face teaching can give valuable and better learning experience than online instructions to the students because to me, real teaching is more than just instruction. In face-to-face teaching, a personal bond is established between the teacher and the students. The students can learn directly from the teacher’s knowledge and experience (I know of a few teachers who would take some time from lectures to share experiences and advise the students, or just crack a joke to lighten up the mood. I don’t really see how one could do that on WhatsApp with a host of annoyed children waiting for the class to end so they can save their data).
With the classroom experience, students can also learn the information, knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs, values of the particular subject matter of focus. That to me is very difficult in an online platform.
There is a belief among some students that online courses are a click and answer thing, but much more effort is needed to successfully complete an online course. In rural areas (where I stay) for example, students may not have access to a computer or internet from home, which poses a problem.
Additionally, I believe educational institutions should have preparatory classes before students take online courses. We must not set students up for failure. I have heard multiple of complaints from my colleagues about several new issues they do not know how to deal with.
I believe that students in a classroom do have a better learning experience/opportunity, than those at home learning from WhatsApp or Zoom, because during face to face interactions, an alert student is able to catch the subtle nuances, and things that are not verbally expressed.
One reason I can appreciate the online classes, though, is that anytime I think about my tuition fee, I realize how much I cannot afford to waste time. Therefore, I am really left with no other choice than to embrace online classes.
I believe that online courses are only the next best thing, and cannot actually take the place of normal classroom
lectures. While I feel like that though, I would not hesitate to avail myself to the online classes opportunities if needed because whether I like it or not, I have to conform with the present realities.
Olajumoke Opasina is a 200-level student of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Osun State University.