One of the biggest impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic is the closure of schools and a switch to online learning. Many may wonder what effect this change may have on the quality of student education. After all, it’s still uncertain for most states how long students will be out of school. This type of uncertainty can lead to anxiety and fear. Let’s take a look at what switching to an online curriculum could mean for students.
About Online Learning
Every school is handling this current transition differently. Some have moved quickly to implement an online curriculum, while others have students on hold waiting until educators are able to better implement a formalized plan. Some districts whose students may lack resources like laptops and the internet are even working to send paper packets home to the students for supplemental education during this time. Those students who will be relying on the internet for their education for the foreseeable future can count on a few things. This type of learning doesn’t have to occur in real-time. There may or may not be a need to be at the computer at a set schedule. Much work can be done independently. Teachers are likely available to answer questions and provide guidance through methods such as email, message board or chat feature. Students can receive a wide variety of supplements to their lessons during this time such as videos, websites and interactive virtual study sessions with classmates. These different opportunities allow students to find methods of learning that appeal to their preferred style, whether that be auditory, visual or hands-on.
Challenges of Online Education
While there is much flexibility to online learning and the ability for coursework to be creative, there are some challenges to this format. Some students have difficulty with self-direction and motivation. They may do better when they have a teacher in physical proximity to guide them. Some require more structure as is given during separate in-school class periods. Reading comprehension and other competencies come into play, as well. Students may struggle with these aspects on their own.
Takeaways of Switching to an Online Format
USA Today explores the ways that parents, teachers, and educators are facing much uncertainty during this time of coronavirus. There are a number of questions facing the nation. Some wonder whether summer school may be needed or if students will be able to bounce back from this period of inconsistent academic practices. There are worries for students who lack economic resources for such things as a home computer and internet service. Fortunately, most of this academic year has been completed, so students may only be missing a short period. It’s possible that they can work to play catch up at the beginning of the next school year and get back on track. It is important, however, that educators are aware of and address the issues that are affecting their own unique communities and students.
Overall, it is possible that distance education may not be ideal for all students. Given the unusual and pressing circumstances, it’s fair to say that overall learning isn’t likely to suffer during the COVID-19 pandemic now that so many are online students.