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Online-Only Learning For Coronavirus Comes With Challenges

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Education, Health, Local News, Technology
(Photo: Lucélia Ribeiro on Flickr)

In an attempt to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus, many colleges are going to online-only classes and K-12 schools are planning in case they need to do the same.  For some teachers, it will be a big adjustment.  And, as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, one Ball State professor says the rapid change means some might not be ready.

“In the classroom, we’re able to visually see whether or not there’s that light that comes on in student’s eyes when they understand something.”

That’s David Hua, an Associate Professor of Computer Technology at Ball State University.  He says many teachers will need to get used to the vastly different teaching styles of online learning in a short period of time.  And because of technology barriers, that might not go smoothly for everyone.

“What are the technologies that I’m going to need to use for my students to be able to continue what they need to get in order to finish this class, and still have a meaningful learning experience?  I’m scrambling.  And I have a good idea of what I’m looking for.  Now imagine the complications that people that have never done this before are going to have.”

In K-12 schools, many students are used to e-learning, but only for a few days of bad weather.  Longer sessions also come with challenges.  Hua says most schools have done a good job at having technology for students and teachers available.  But having a tablet or computer doesn’t mean your home has internet access.

“With those short-term e-learning days, they’ll recommend going to the public library, or to a fast food place, or some other location in the community that has public WIFI.  But that’s contrary to what we are supposed to be doing in light of the coronavirus.”

Read More: You Asked: How Concerned Should I Be About Coronavirus?

Hua says a longer e-learning period also puts an increased burden on teachers to keep in contact with students to make sure they’re actually understanding what they’re supposed to be learning.

And for both students and professors, there will be an issue of focus.

“This is not a vacation.  You have to be involved and active in that learning and teaching process.”