Do We Need a New Theory for Online Teaching?
Schools are closed for over a year now and we have been experimenting with the online mode of teaching. In the initial phase of online teaching, the biggest issue we had to face was getting acquainted with the technology and platforms. At this point, most of us have become comfortable in using some or another platform, but the question of using these platforms and the available time effectively is the biggest concern now.
Here are a few issues and Observations:
I] Limitations to the existing theories: Most of us were following the idea of co-constructivism or social constructivism in the classroom context where students as a group would learn something new. Activity-based learning, the use of various interaction patterns, the role of the teacher as a facilitator were a few of the features of the classroom in the pre-pandemic era. But using online platforms have brought automatic limitations to the use of various interaction patterns. Though a few platforms provide facilities like breakout rooms; many of us either can’t afford it or are not comfortable using it. Most of the online classes I observed were having 60% to 90% TTT (Teacher’s talking time) and STT (Student’s talking time) was very less. And students have turned off their video cameras. In such circumstances, using the pre-pandemic methods was indeed a tough job. Blended learning flipped classrooms and connectivism were supposed to answer all the issues, but in all these theories, face to face communication is an integral part.
I am sure there must be many more issues that can come under this topic. Please use the comment feature to share the limitations to the existing theories in the current scenario.
II] Face to Face behaviour v/s online behaviour: It is observed that a person’s face to face behaviour and online behaviour can vary. A person who is shy in a face-to-face meeting can be a bold one in the virtual world. Cyberpsychology is an emerging field that deals with the study. While taking teaching-learning online, we need to consider the developments in this field.
III] Indirect learning: in face-to-face mode indirect learning by observing peers, teachers used to be an important part of the process. While in online classes, each learning experience needs to be more precise and specific as the scope for indirect learning is limited.
IV] Limitations to assessment: Formative evaluation was an integral part of the assessment in which the observations related to learning were noted by the day-to-day behaviour of the student. Now since there is very limited scope for observation; assessment is becoming a tough job.
Having said all the above-mentioned points, I believe that we are in need of a theory/ method that will set at least fundamentals for online teaching.
Please share your views in the comment section below.