Distance learning signals disadvantages

On March 23, Zoom online classes officially began. This popular online platform is being used worldwide due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Although a great way to communicate during this pandemic, distance learning via Zoom has its disadvantages.

For one, many can agree that it is harder to concentrate during classes from the comfort of their homes. The option to put oneself on mute and turn off the video camera results in students getting distracted and doing other things. This leads to great chaos when teachers ask questions and students do not reply.

Two, the workload that students are receiving has increased dramatically. Until last week, students were spending at least 8 hours doing school work from home. However, this week, they were informed of the expected time to be spent per subject, per grade level. The DP students, for instance, should be devoting 5 hours per HL subject and 3 hours per SL subject every week. This should not be too hard considering most countries are in lockdown or are refraining people from going outdoors. 

Three, although most assignments are due the week after they have been assigned, giving students ample time to complete them, distractions at home remain inevitable. While some are asked to help with household chores, others find themselves with siblings and parents who are always concerned about their health, constantly coming into their rooms and offering them food or telling them to move around. Students are, therefore, finding it hard to complete and submit assignments on time. However, if they are struggling to meet expectations, they are allowed to request teachers for individual meetings while still attending their weekly classes unless excused. 

Four, strong wi-fi and time zones are always an issue. The school has many international students and most have gone back home to their families. It is hard for everyone to attend a class at a fixed time and may cause students to ruin their already disturbed sleep schedule. “It is hard to wake up for class and I can’t even imagine what it must be like for students who are not in India,”  Vansh Aggarwal, Class of 2022, said. Connection and network problems come with every online platform, Zoom is no exception. Throughout meetings, teachers find students getting disconnected and sometimes emailing them to inform them about their weak network connection as an excuse for their absence. 

Five, like any other social media, Zoom is easy to hack into and students are not afraid to mess around with it. Recently, students have discovered that sharing meeting ID’s lets them attend each other’s classes. It is also possible to change their own names which leaves the teacher in confusion. This results in less class time and encourages other students to lose focus. 

Six, on top of the fact that students are constantly on social media or watching tv shows and movies due to the quarantine, distance learning has conveniently increased screen time. As all assignments and classes are online, students have to frequently keep checking Managebac, google classroom, and outlook for updates. They are spending more than advised time staring at their screens. 

Overall, the first few weeks of distance learning have definitely been hectic for both students and teachers. However, keeping in mind that many across the world are not receiving an education at this time due to the lack of resources, students attending school via online portals should consider themselves extremely privileged to be able to continue their studies. 

Ira Ahuja is the first person editor for The Woodstocker

Edited by Riya Gupta

Featured image by Ira Ahuja

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