As COVID-19 threats loom, Uniglobe College goes online
March 20, 2020 09:03 AM NPT
By: Aditi Baral
KATHMANDU, March 20: These days Ajay Adhikari, a student of Uniglobe College, Kamaladi doesn’t feel pressurized to wake up early in the morning to reach college as early as possible. Instead of following his previous routine of waking up and rushing towards the college, Adhikari a 17-year-old student living in Balaju rather wakes up with no pressure and looks forward to join the online classes for the day. Adhikari is one of those 200 students who join the online classes that the college has started providing to its students of late.
Although the college had been planning to initiate virtual learning system since past few months, the recent scenario of spread of the Coronavirus gave the plan a ‘green signal’ to commence it as soon as possible.
“Our plans to start virtual classes a couple of months ago had been delaying. However, the present scenario gave us discernment that it’s the best time to start off,” said Ashok Kumar Chaudhary, vice-principal at the college. Today, five days down from when they started it, the classes has been facilitating around 200 students at once, collecting positive response from everyone connected – from students, teachers and even parents.
Chaudhary mentions that this has significantly helped the students as they can attend important classes sitting in their homes itself. It greatly saves their time.
The use of this technology also gives students an environment to learn in a fun and entertaining way through smart boards and smart tools sues in it.
“Although students are no obliged to join the classes, most of them realize its importance and join it themselves” he said adding “Often joining the class by myself to check its state and how it’s functioning I also remind and request absent students to join the class.” However, it’s not a big problem if students do not join the live classes as clips from these classes are saved and stored in the form of recording allowing students to refer to it anytime later.
According to the college administration around 200 students are already are the member of virtual class and at least 100 students join in at once. The numbers of students being members is increasing every day.
“We have plenty of students joining for live classes. Unlimited students can join it at once,” said Anil Pantha, IT officer at the college. Pantha mentioned that both students and teachers were instructed thoroughly before making the use of this technology. These classes are scheduled for about 3 hours every day. All the students are pre-informed about the classes through the app itself.
Both the students as well as teachers mention that these classes carry plentiful advantages as students do not have to travel a longer distance to travel to colleges. Instead, they can utilize this time to study at home itself.
“One of our main reasons to initiate this was to help students utilize the time they have to spend in travelling back and forth the college. Instead of coming to college they can study at their home itself,” Chaudhary explained.
Student Adhikari well agrees to that as he has noticed how the virtual class has helped him save huge fraction of time. “It takes around an hour for me to reach to college. Coming back home adds up another hour. But now I can better utilize these two hours for studies,” he said.
The use of tools in smart board also makes the learning environment fun and lively. “The virtual classes have made it easier for us as well. We normally get exhausted controlling students and instructing them to stay silent during physical classes. But virtual classes are usually quiet,” said Dev Bahadur Khadka, a physics teacher at the college. Khadka often takes virtual classes and finds it easier and convenient than the physical classes. “It’s easier for us because we can teach comparatively more students at once” he said.
“The only disadvantage I found is that we cannot look at student’s expressions to figure out if they understand what is being taught. However, the advantages both teachers and students get from this weighs more than the disadvantage,” Khadka added.
At rare cases, students try to mess around intending to distract the scenario – they play songs in the background and upload dim-witted pictures and videos. However, the admin immediately identifies the student and instructs them personally.
“Initially we were skeptical about what kind of response it drags but now I can undoubtedly say that our students are enjoying these online classes,” said Chaudhary. He mentioned an instance where a student’s whole family members joined the virtual class with excitement. “Once a student’s whole family members joined the class. They were all excited and taken aback by this new technology”.
Chaudhary believes that accompanying the technological wave, other educational institutions too should take step ahead to initiate the virtual classes, at least in emergency situation like this. “It is completely free of cost.
Anyone can have easy access to the app. However, he suggests institutions willing to start anything as such should have a strong IT team or else it might not as work effectively. “Technology can work efficiently only with sterling working team. We’re happy to have one,’ he said.