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Online Learning: The New Normal

  Apr 9, 2020
 

The world is undergoing an unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 crisis. Most, if not all, sectors of the economy have been affected in one way or another; the education sector not being spared. Teachers and students across the globe have been thrust into an online technology mode of teaching and learning. Questions have arisen on whether this will help or hurt the traditional face to face mode of learning. What is not in dispute is that we are witnessing a disruption that will change the teaching landscape for years to come.

With the terrifying headlines and rising death tolls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have found myself switching to research and planning mode. As a wife, working mum and student, this period has required an immediate physical and mental shift. There aren’t enough hours in a day to tick all the boxes which include: sanitizing doorknobs; washing the kids’ hands three times an hour; teaching the kids; catching up on my schoolwork and working.

During the first week when a partial lockdown was announced in Kenya, I cautiously tiptoed out of bed every morning. In contrast, the kids greeted me gleefully every morning with so much enthusiasm for the day ahead. The kids’ schools set up online learning platforms that were user friendly. That said, I had to constantly remind myself that victory during the pandemic would not be solely based on online education for the kids but the development of life skills as well as building their character, values, and ethos.

Given the rapid escalation of the pandemic, learning in most institutions, including Strathmore University, shifted to online learning. On the one hand, this provided me with comfort that the pandemic would not disrupt learning, but, on the other hand, I had mixed feelings on what this meant for the quality of learning I had become accustomed to. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised when we had successful lectures via Zoom and still managed to enjoy interactive sessions and view the presentations.

The SBS e-learning website was up to date with all the required learning materials and e-books. The faculty constantly checked on us during the sessions and received constructive feedback. We did encounter the occasional poor internet connectivity and power outages, but, all the Zoom lecture sessions were recorded allowing for catch up sessions.

Granted, an unforeseen event has spurred learning institutions into a paradigm shift from the traditional of face to face mode of learning, postmortem feedback will be necessary after this pandemic with most learning institutions planning accordingly in regards to disaster preparedness as well as incorporating blended approaches into teaching methods.

All in all, it is laudable to see how adaptive the world can be during a time when a transition is essential.

A few tips to get us through this period:

  • Demonstrate patience and compassion towards your family, colleagues, teachers, and students.
  • Enjoy quality time with family and create lasting memories.
  • Stay organized and form good habits.
  • Practice self-care – spiritually, physically and mentally.
  • Stay safe

 

Article by Jennifer Nduati, MPPM Student, An Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Would you like to share your experience on how you are dealing with the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic? Write to us at sbscommunication@strathmore.edu



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