Personal experiences towards online education during Covid-19 pandemic

“Armed conflicts, forced displacement, climate change induced disasters and protracted crises have disrupted the education of 75 million children and youth globally. And that number is growing in an unprecedented way with the spread of COVID-19.  Education has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with 1.53 billion learners out of school and 184 country-wide school closures, impacting 87.6% of the world’s total enrolled learners. Drop-out rates across the globe are likely to rise as a result of this massive disruption to education access.” [1]


As part of AU community, my students and I have been impacted by this pandemic as well. Talking about an online education, it has been a long discussion among faculty members how we should integrate technologies (online class, active learning, new approach for examination, etc.) into an education system. The faculty encourages faculty members to exercise that. Unfortunately very few faculty members care about this. However, Covid-19 pandemic seems to be trigger and enforce everyone to embrace online teaching and learning swiftly (Could we consider Covid-19 a hero in this matter?). Of course, there are so many great advantages about online teaching and learning. That is not the point I would like to share here but rather my personal experiences towards an online education (as we may need to carry on with this for a couple of months or probably till the end of the year if a pandemic is still around). Firstly, not all students can cope with this online teaching and learning. One of my students decided to withdraw from the course in this semester. Note that the student is not a weak student. What is the problem here? Is a student to be blamed. I doubt that.

Secondly, an online examination/assessment is a very challenging part. The faculty gave me options to conduct an examination/assessment as I see fit. It could be paper-based, oral examination, project-based and much more. I think an oral examination is the best way to assess each individual student (It is like students having an interview to get a job). I do not need to worry about cheating. However, I did not go for that option (I still gave students a paper-based examination). Next time, I will definitely choose an oral examination.

Many faculty members seem to worry about cheating while students are taking an online examination (paper-based). Students are enforced to turn on a camera, microphone, etc. You know what they can still cheat if they want to since you cannot see what they are doing. Even you ask them to share a screen they can use other devices to talk with friends. Be reminded that they are at their place and you are not physically there. There is no way to ensure that students are alone and nor talking to anyone. How can we deal with this? Either we set questions that we can really evaluate student’s analytic and/or critical thinking or we go for an oral examination option.

Lastly, I hope this Covid-19 pandemic is over. Personal interaction in the classroom is still very important in my opinion. Obviously, a way of teaching/learning as well as student’s evaluation should be transformed.