BROWNITES SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH THE NEWLY ADOPTED VIRTUAL MODEL OF LEARNING
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about changes in different aspects of our lives and this includes our education and learning programmes. Due to safety measures, we have been forced to use online platforms to have lectures and other school activities.
I was able to get in touch with a few Brownites who shared their experiences with me. Check out their views below:
Hmmmm (sighs deeply), I felt virtual classes would be good as a means of moving forward for Nigerian universities. I mean, I would read at my own pace and no lecturer would scream at me during classes, but as usual I was disappointed.
On the other hand, as a medical student, I knew it was a terrible idea because I could not see how getting to the clinic and dealing with real-life cases would happen with virtual classes.
Rather troubling is the fact that most of the lecturers lack the technical know-how required to use the LMS which is supposedly the main site for teaching and the Zoom cloud. (Whispers, some of them can’t actually use zoom). From the unnecessary shouts “can you see my screen?” to the epileptic status of the internet, everything just seems to be wrong.
What I find most annoying is the mismanagement of time that comes with learning virtually. Lecturers have little or no regard/consideration for our time, and so feel it’s okay to reschedule classes till any time of their convenience, and that’s just not okay, at all. Yes, we are in school to learn but these changes alter peoples’ daily plan, and it does more harm than good because your tasks are being moved against your will and you have to find another time from “only God knows” where to fix these important tasks.
Lastly, online postings and practicals? Who came up with that and why is it even a thing?. I don’t know but it’s more of a waste of time to me. Engaging in real life scenarios is the main reason for clinical work and having online postings is something I am yet to wrap my head around.
Unfortunately, I have more of negative thoughts as regards the virtual learning model, but let me start with the one thing I like about it, I like the fact that I don’t have to dress up before attending classes. Funny but so far that’s the only good thing about it for me.
Now, the real talk.
One of the unpleasant things about the e-learning for me is the frequent and rather rude postponement of already scheduled lectures as though students do not have lives outside of school. It is even harder to cope because I am at home, and it doesn’t matter If I am taking virtual classes or not, I still have chores to do around the house.
If there is one thing this virtual learning has clearly exposed, it is the school’s inability to switch effectively to virtual learning. For instance, it is the 9th week and a lecturer is still insisting on a physical class because he/she is unable to learn the dynamics of the global world, it is a shame.
If we can learn to adapt, why can’t they? After all, they claim to be widely read and conversant with the intricacies of the profession outside the country.
Oh, and as is with Nigeria, electricity supply has been a chronic pain in the neck.
Phew, let me start by saying that virtual learning is an unequivocal NO for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was glad when the school management announced that we were finally going to resume after a year of being at home due to the pandemic and it’s aftermath. I was finally going to return to my studies, I didn’t care much if it was going to be virtual or physical, I just wanted to resume. I was also glad to see that the school could attempt, and maybe adapt to something new and exciting as virtual learning. In short, I had high hopes and such great expectations.
More and more, I started looking forward to the classes, the thought of not having to wake early and dress up for school was a bonus point. It also felt good to say, “oh, I am taking classes online” it just made me feel like we were on another level, you know.
Needless to say, my hopes were dashed and my expectations weren’t met. I don’t have to wake early and dress up for school, that much is true. However, as good as that was for me, it was at best an unfair trade off.
Firstly, virtual learning in a country like Nigeria is anything but affordable. Talk about data consumption and fuel as substitute for our poor electricity, it is just too expensive. I had hopes that as a result of these expenses, there would be a considerate reduction in our school fees and other fees, but sadly, that didn’t happen.
Also, there is the issue of poor network. Imagine getting kicked out of a class because of poor network only to be kept on the waiting list on getting back because your lecturer thinks you are coming in late for the class. I mean, it’s a virtual class, so many things can go wrong and it’s not too much to ask that due consideration is given. On days when you don’t get kicked out, you may very well not be better off because all you may hear is, “guitar stings” (laughs).
Personally, I also find that it is very easy to get distracted. I find it really hard to pay attention during synchronous sessions and it’s also hard to study at home unlike in school. The motivation you get from seeing your classmates study is absent and is now replaced by tons of house chores, errands, television and so on.
Lastly, something has been bugging me. What will virtual exams be like? What format will the questions take? What measures will be put in place by the management to ensure everything runs smoothly? What happens if a student suddenly gets cut of or is unable to submit because of network interruptions? See, I have so many questions about the coming exams but we can only wait. So, fingers crossed.
I can go on and on about the downs of virtual learning because truly, there are a lot of them. In another time and under different circumstances it could be the answer. Maybe, it could be better if it’s not the main learning model but runs complementary to physical classes. However, for now, it is a NO for me.
— By Anon
Here are my major issues with the virtual learning model;
Firstly, data cost: The data consumption for virtual classes is really high, and very expensive, in a month I spend about five thousand naira on data costs alone, which wouldn’t be if classes were physical.
Also, poor concentration: My concentration in classes has decreased by about 50% ever since we started having classes virtually. There are so many distractions, more so, because I’m in the comfort of my home where I’m not bound by rules, so I can be in classes and be on social media, cook and watch TV all at the same time. Also, my attention span has decreased greatly.
Lastly, with virtual classes, there’s no room for physical interactions, discussions, group tutorials, a working academic environment basically.
Come to think of it, I was elated to hear that UI would resume virtually for the academic semester. You know, the joy that comes with having classes from the comfort of your home, it hits differently. I was going to be free of all forms of stress; course registration, transportation, waking early etc.
However, after a few weeks of virtual classes, I beg to take back my initial thought, nothing hits good anymore. Virtual learning comes with a lot of ups and downs no one prepares you for.
I had a perfect plan in place, a schedule that included both home chores and school work, I was certain I had it all figured out. Alas, the joke was on me, there were so many factors I didn’t foresee that ruined my perfect plan.
So far, Lectures get delayed and some are yet to even begin because lecturers are yet to utilize the LMS, there’s also the erratic and random rescheduling of lectures without due and timely communication with the students. This won’t be complete without talking about how difficult it has been to help my parent understand that, being at home does not mean I am idle.
In my home, being at home also means I am required to perform all house chores at the due time regardless of classes. In truth, it has been a very long and stressful experience for me.
I thought I was going to be able to continue with my business and trainings alongside classes, but everything has been a lot. The virtual learning model has been a horrible journey I hope to never go through again.
I am looking forward to the commencement of the second semester, even though I am aware that the workload may be a lot as some postings have been rescheduled for then, still, it will be physical and that will be better.
There you have it, the people aren’t having a good time with the virtual leaning model. Hopefully, we all have better days ahead.