The Covid 19 Pandemic has brought unbelievable changes in all the walks of life. I had installed 'Zoom' in my cell phoe as well as desktop before a few years. However, I had never used it before the arrival of pandemic era on account of my fear about the privacy of my students. I had plaaned to use it at campus itself for dealing ICT class for my students who had been devided into two groups, and one group had been sitting in the general classroom while the other group had been in the computer lab. My plan had been that I would sit at computer lab, and would deal the class by using 'Zoom', an app that was something unfamiliar for all my students. But, it hadn't occured because of some technical issues. After a couple of weeks, the college was closed because of the arrival of the Pandemic. It is so ironic that even the LKG students use 'Zoom' now a days.
I may share another experience of mine that is similar to this one. I had just shared some of my friends. my plan to enroll an online course offered by Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands on Coursera, the popular MOOC platform. Most of my friends discouraged by listing many a factor. However, I completed that course without any delay. It was a nice experience for me. I not only did the course, but also got an idea on how to organize an onlien course, which helped me a lot later when I was creating a few moodle courses for my students. And, now, people lists tens of certificates they have secured by completing courses on Coursera on different social media platforms. Now, UGC has decided to make online courses a common practice by introducing a mixture of online and offline classes.
ofThough the complete picture of UGC plan is not clear now, as they have just asssigned the duty of studying about it to some people, UGC has made it clear that the coming days are of blended learning. UGC believes that such a type of blended learning will offer much comfortability for students, as they can plan and learn at their pace. It may replace the concept of 10 to 4 learning to 7X24 mode of learning. Another advantage that UGC sees with this blended learning mode is that students can select their own papers that are compatible with the papers included in the syllabi of a particular course.For instance, if the M.A. English literature syllabus of Kannur University has got a paper called 'Criticism of Some The Works of Some Writers', students can leave it aside and can search online for a similar paper which has included the works of their favorite writers, if they want to do so. This, you may claim, that realizes the concept of individualized curriculum to an extend.
Though the decision of introducing blended onlie learning that is expected to organize 60% of a degree by using online possibilities is that of UGC, the supreme academic body in India, we cannot help admitting that it has got some dark corner, as well. The decision might have shocked the academics that 60% online classes mean that there is no place for offline teachers. This may result in the job loss of thousnads of academics all over India. Gradually, the concept of offline education may become a page in the history book. People have already become machines with excess of social media use. Then, what will be the future world if their learning process, too, become just as using social media platforms. This will be a double whammy for those who have constructed four pillars of education such as Learning to Know, Learning to Be, Learning to Do and learning to Live Together. The only one pillar i.e. Learning to Know will be realized, and all other three pillars will be wanished. The present conflict called value crisis will be further deepened, and the result will be anarchy.
I have just presented two sides of a coin. The readers can think which side of the coin wins over the other. Let those days on which great teachers moulded the character of thousands of youngsters not a nostalgia only for the old generation.