As the world remains under lockdown amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, universities remain shut along with other institutions. This has pushed universities to let go of the traditional ways of education and adapt to the new ways of teaching, with most, if not all going online.

Online education was not a new term for some universities including the University of London, who offered ‘Distance Education’ since 1858. During that era, they used the method called correspondence course — via post until the introduction of the internet and World Wide Web (WWW) led to online education. This course was for the students who could not always be physically present at the university.

Many universities are now following the path, opting for online education methods to continue with their classes during the pandemic. The aim is to provide classes to all the students, irrespective of the country they reside in. This could be a new opportunity for the education industry to expand in future by providing distance learning to students around the world.

The question that arises is that will this new method of the education system, be a boon or will it present difficulties? Many universities are facing backlash because of the degree of inconvenience and grading system since they have no plans or strategies to assess exams remotely. This has been a major issue of online education since each course and the field’s requirement of examination is different.

We cannot ignore the downsides of the online education system. Teachers and students are new to this and are trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of the situation. Problems include basic tech glitches like poor quality of sound and video, external noises from home, forgetting to switch on the microphone or poor WiFi connections, hacked video conferences and so on.

‘My workload has doubled,’ comments Edith Kearney, a teacher at Lusk Community School to Royal Society of Chemistry, ‘as I’m having to reorganize and redesign my existing resources to move to an exclusive distance learning model. I’m sure my colleagues in other schools have been experiencing similar. And coupled with homeschooling my own children as well, it’s very tough.’

However, there are many advantages to the online system as well. As mentioned, it provides a new path of education reach for the students around the country as well as internationally. This could be an opportunity for students to opt for enrolling in the university for remote learning rather than physically being present. It can lead to more opportunities for international students.

The University of Iowa managed to smoothly take the classes from traditional ways to the online education world. The teachers and students are finding it quite beneficial to come online to study, teachers are seeing more participation online, even from the students who generally remained quite. They believe that this might help them reach out to the possible future students who cannot come to Iowa city in the future. 

Students, teachers and universities are taking steps to battle this situation together.

However, certain problems need to be solved in a very strategic method, especially when it comes to administrating tests fairly and equitably, keeping in mind the different requirements of every course.

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