Nepal has experienced significant gaps in its school systems since the shift to online learning and has underscored the need to rethink conventional teaching practices. We had the opportunity to interview three esteemed college professors working to make the online transition seamless, productive, and interactive. Here’s what we learned from them.
Comparing online and offline teaching
According to Mr. Lokesh Gupta, a System Analysis and Design instructor at Herald College, unlike the in-person classroom, online classes lack the human touch: “We can monitor our students’ attention and read their facial expressions in traditional teaching which is difficult to monitor online. Also, conducting a practical session and fixing lab error is tough remotely. However, the time and location flexibility, ability to connect to all the students located at different parts of the country without having to commute and reuse all the digital course content since the online transition has been super beneficial to me.”
KIST college’s BIM and BIT instructor, Mr. Prasanna Jabara responded that both online and traditional teaching are alike in areas of student performance evaluation, assignment submission, course completion, and attendance. Highlighting the differences he stated: “Online learning requires students to be more self-directed, disciplined, and accountable. Also, there are no biases in remote learning methods as teachers can conduct one-on-one interaction with every student via chats or during online class.” He added how students who were hesitant to attend and speak up are now showing active participation.
Although online education is new for teachers, they are finding the flexibility, accessibility, time to prepare digital content, and reduced manual work more advantageous than traditional teaching. An English professor who teaches grades 10,11, and 12 said: “Using and learning about advanced technology and learning platforms along with students has been the best part of online teaching for me.”
Instructors ideas on how to improve the online learning process
Mr. Gupta stated that self-motivation among students and teachers is pivotal. Mr. Jabara elucidated the importance of AI integration in online education for a seamless learning experience:
“I believe AI integration in education can make online teaching a whole lot easier. Evaluating a huge number of students, keeping track of their attendance, assignments, grades and overall performance manually is tough for teachers. We need an AI-enabled platform to amplify the speed of those manual tasks and divert teachers’ efforts towards creating new teaching methods and high-quality digital content.” Mr. Jabara has been teaching for more than 5 years.
Nepali students are facing problems like unstable internet connection and lack of proper technical infrastructures. Addressing these issues, Mr. Gupta responds, “We record the online class for those students who are unable to attend the class and provide recorded sessions and other downloadable resources via DVD. This has helped us a lot.”
Embracing the flipped classroom
Converting and creating content for the online classroom can be tough for non technical teachers, yet online learning has pushed them to get hands on experience using digital learning tools. When asked what approaches provide the best online experience, teachers responded that we need to adopt the well known “flipped classroom” model where teachers provide offline lecture videos or resources that students learn on their own, and conduct live training sessions focusing on projects and group activities. “An automated or AI-integrated system that incorporates ERP, LMS, SIS, and CMS is essential for success in the online learning platform,” adds Mr. Jabara.
How to evaluate online
Since NEB announced cancellations of SEE and other exams, it’s been tough for teachers to come up with new evaluation modalities. Mr. Gupta and other teachers had a similar response stating that relying solely on paper-based examination is not the best way to evaluate students as assignment submission, projects, viva, quizzes, and fun game-based online competitions should be considered.
Online learning is growing exponentially and instructors in Nepal are willing to adapt and evolve with online teaching. Now is the time to think outside the box, overcome challenges, and find the best platforms, tools, and teaching practices to deliver the best learning experience for students.