Because of the Covid19 pandemic, the school across the world has had to rethink its teaching whether it wanted to or not. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom.
As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. The pandemic situation has forced traditional schooling to migrate to online teaching to increase retention of information and take less time. With this sudden migration of teaching and lecturing worldwide, finally e-learning will find it proper place in the future education system.
Back in 2006 I continued my educational journey which I started five years earlier at the Norwegian School of Management, BI Oslo. I started at BI Oslo as a student with evening lecturing. I wanted evening lessons because this suited my life situation. In 2006 I started to pursue my MBA. After some research and source search, the choice fell on the University of East London, UEL in London, United Kingdom, a public state university. This was a study on part-time over two years, with the same number of subjects and hours as day students. The program had lecturing and class meeting every fourth weekend. In 2006, part-time education was not so common, and many believed that an MBA degree that was achieved on part-time could not be a full-fledged degree, which is of course just nonsense. For two years we had teaching every fourth weekend, i.e. I travelled to London on Thursday evening every fourth weekend. This was to be ready for the teaching from Friday morning at 9am to Sunday afternoon, which often meant the last flight home from London on Sunday night. In 2008, I graduated from the university with an MBA. Two years after graduating from UEL I started to pursue my PhD in 2010. The goal was to achieve with a PhD in management. This time it was important that the study was practically feasible and not with as many physical assemblies as the MBA program. The MBA program was very demanding with a start-up of two weeks assembly and then assemblies every four weekends over a two years period.
After doing a good deal of analysis and assessment, the choice fell on the Swiss Mangement Center University and the Universidad Central Nicaragua European program due to a ranking done by the Financial Times. Further, the combination with physical assemblies once a quarter rather than assemblies every fourth weekend. Finally, extended use of online teaching. The program consisted of three stages, Core stage, Specialisation stage and Dissertation stage with a total number of 180 ECTS credits. All subjects had significant submissions and group discussions online and through collections. We had a combination of professor and a lecturer from reputable universities and businesspeople. I would say that SMC and UCN were ahead of their time with online teaching, group work and lecturing with the good teaching and training they had for us as students. I believe that the Covid19 pandemic has shows us that the migration to e-learning has taken a major leap. Back in 2010 we had physical assembly, online lecturing and e-learning through chat groups, video meetings, document sharing etc.
In 2020 we see that e-learning has changed the way of teaching and lecturing in traditional schools during this pandemic. I know that traditional offline learning and e-learning can can go hand by hand and I speak out of my own experience. It is clear that this pandemic has utterly disrupted an education system that many assert was already losing its relevance for the 21st Century. Traditional schooling continues to focus on traditional academic skills and rote learning, rather than on skills such as critical thinking and adaptability, which will be more important for success in the future. I do hope that the move to online learning that we have seen during the pandemic can be the catalyst to create a new, more effective method of educating students in the future, especially university students. Major incident worldwide such as this pandemic are often an inflection point for rapid innovation. Even before the current pandemic, higher education had been increasing online learning opportunities, though the traditional model remained focused on face-to-face learning.
I believe that online education needs to be strategic priority at every institution. Management of online learning need to be integrated into existing academic leadership structures and processes further. Being physically present in a classroom is not the only learning option anymore — not with the rise of the internet and new technologies, at least. Nowadays, you have access to a quality education whenever and wherever you want if you have access to a computer and internet. There is no need to discount the scepticism surrounding education through the internet.
Online education is:
Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there is the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there is no need to give anything up. Studying online teaches you vital time management skills, which makes finding a good work-study balance easier and gives you autonomy. There is often access to remarkably diverse material such as videos, photos, and eBooks online as well, and tutors can also integrate other formats like forums or discussions to improve their lessons. Online education brings a lot of flexibility to the learning table.
Online learning is about accessibility and inclusivity. It removes the physical barriers that prevent many people from fulfilling academic or career ambitions by allowing students to work from pretty much anywhere. This means there is no need to commute from one place to another or follow a rigid schedule. The virtual classroom is also available anywhere there is an internet connection. For example, if you are studying abroad and want to get a job, online education is a great choice. There is no reason to give up on working or studying at the same time.
empowers interaction, even for the shy students.
The shy or introverted students are more apt to weigh in on a discussion when it is a digital dialogue as opposed to a face-to-face one, where they get intimidated.
The UNs 4# SDGs goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Undoubtedly, with the even wider spread of technology and deepening of the global mandate of education for all, online education’s potential to become complementary – or in some cases alternatives – to traditional education cannot be overlooked. Instead of worrying whether or not online education can ever be as good as more traditional formats, perhaps we should instead focus on how we can use it to deliver quality education for people all over the world, particularly the poor and underserved.
In any case, remote online teaching and learning cannot fully replace face-to-face teaching and learning, or an environment where teachers and students discuss things with each other. The way SMC and UCN conducted their in-class tutorial with quarterly weekly gatherings and weekends as well as weekly lectures online, with online discussion and group assignments I thought worked well. Therefore, I think a mix of physical collections and online teaching is a good way to develop both future education, finally, a catalyst for more people to take further education.