The emergency shift to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Undergraduate students’ Experience
COVID-19 has left the institutions worldwide, with no choice but an emergency shift to virtual learning, creating several opinions associated with digital infrastructure, digital divide, digital literacy, technical and pedagogic skills of teachers, digital contents, and so on.The teaching–learning methodologies have been remodelled globally due to the outbreak that many schools and teachers around the world are struggling in alternative ways for delivery of instruction remotely.
Though the National Education Policy, 2020 talks about digital and
online education, the preparedness does not seem to be conducive in India. The
budgetary allocation for digital learning was reduced from 6.04 billion in
2019–2020 to 4.69 billion in 2020–2021. In 2017–2018, only 24% of Indian
households were reported to have Internet facilities (National Statistical
Online learning relies on the Internet for interaction between students
Despite challenges all around, the institutions in the country are left
with no choice other than an emergency shift to online mode in the middle of
the semester. It is also uncertain when they can return to the face-to-face
traditional classroom. In Assam, clear notification from the government is yet
to come regarding the resumption of the face-to-face classes at a higher level.
Therefore, it becomes imperative to know how far the emergency online learning
is effective so far, which can be perceived from the experiences and
satisfaction level of the beneficiaries, that is, students.
The primary purpose of this study is to throw light on the
implementation mechanism of COVID-19-lockdown-induced emergency online learning
at the undergraduate level in Assam, India, and assess its effectiveness, and
finally, the problems faced therein, from the perspective of students’
experience and satisfaction. Primary data were collected from 132 undergraduate
students drawn at random from different provincialized colleges in Assam
through using a questionnaire in Google Form.
The result of this study revealed an unsatisfactory picture of emergency
online learning implemented overnight. Poor Internet connectivity, insufficient
IT infrastructure, irregular electricity, significant cost involvement in data
plans, lack of proper environment at home, lack of technical and pedagogic
skills of teachers, students’ conformation etc. turned out as the central
challenges. In a country like India where people were struggling to get quality
education, is now facing the challenge to adopt a new model. Institutions are
struggling in trying out options to deal with the never sought situation.
Now, the concern is not the quality of education, rather it is merely
the delivery of education.
is high time that all the stakeholders work collaboratively to create, adapt
and evaluate innovative techniques, user-friendly tools, student-friendly contents,
develop pedagogical and technical skills of teachers, and above all a positive
attitude for inclusive and effective online delivery of higher education in
India in coming days.
Using Students’ Experience to Derive Effectiveness of COVID-19-Lockdown-Induced Emergency Online Learning at Undergraduate Level: Evidence from Assam, India
First Published January 30, 2021 Research Article
Higher Education for the Future