As a result of the recent Coronavirus lockdown, many businesses and organizations resolved to make use of virtual meeting softwares to help keep their companies running. Many universities abroad also incorporated their new terms / semesters with online lectures, rather than in-person classrooms as there were restrictions to movements and number of people in a gathering.
In Nigeria, speedy actions were not taken by government officials regarding the Education sector, causing students studying in Nigeria to be out of school for a very long time. However, just recently, some Universities have resumed physical classes, while some have resolved to go virtual, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel virus.
Although there are many fundamental similarities between the conventional campus-based education and the online learning experience, learning virtually offers many benefits that University physical degree programs don’t provide.
See the benefits of Virtual Classes.
• Easy Access Through Devices
Apparently, virtual classrooms are easy to access as the students only need an internet connection with good speed and a computer, tablet or smartphone to attend class. Instead of the daily hassles of commuting to school through buses, having to argue with town gboro drivers (for O.A.U. Students), students only need to open their devices and it connects them to their classroom.
• Access to coursework from anywhere at any time
With the virtual classes, you have the freedom to study and complete your coursework 24/7 from anywhere and at any time that suits your busy schedule. If you’re out of town on business, you can do your schoolwork at a later time. All you need is your laptop or other digital device.
Since online classes allow for archiving lessons as well as recording the class, students have the option of revisiting the lesson at any time of their convenience.
You can access assignments, post homework, watch faculty presentations, join student discussions, conduct research, contact your teacher and classmates, get assistance from student support services, receive feedback, and access your test grades.
Virtual classes give the students plenty of time to digest the information learned, practice it, do their own research, and enhance their understanding of the subject. They can learn at their pace, instead of constantly struggling to keep pace with their peers.
• Opportunity to Learn New Technology & Sharpen Digital Skills
While increasing your knowledge and skills in your area of study, you’ll also be honing your digital skills on the most sophisticated online learning technology. As you continue to learn and study in an online world, you’ll become confident and highly productive using interactive online tools such as online tests, drop boxes for homework, collaboration tools, e-mail communications to faculty and fellow classmates, and video presentations by faculty.
Virtual classroom solutions such as Google Meet, BigBlueButton, Zoom, etc. gives an opportunity for the students to explore and learn new digital tools. From creating PowerPoint for assignments to researching online, one of the biggest advantages of online classrooms is the digital proficiency and skill that the students are learning.
• Interaction With Friends And Peers
Due to the strict lockdown and rules regarding social distancing, many students are struggling with isolation and feelings of loneliness. If left unchecked, these feelings can escalate to anxiety and depression. With virtual classes, students can interact with their friends and their peers. The sense of connection and camaraderie now continues in an online space.
• Improved Attendance
Since the students no longer have to travel to attend class, there is a considerable improvement in the attendance of students. There is a significant improvement in participation and interaction in the class as many shy students feel safer interacting with teachers behind a screen.
• Trackable Learning/Results
The performance of students is easily trackable in online classes. In virtual classes, the data of every student including attendance records, test scores, exam results is stored online. This enables teachers to track students and understanding their learning curve easily. It helps the teachers to create online classes according to the learning patterns and the learning needs of students.
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• Fun And Exciting
Most importantly, online virtual classes are a fun and exciting experience for students. The generation today is proficient at digital technology and have a good understanding of various devices from a young age. Thus, adapting to online classes in an easy and comfortable change for them. It breaks the monotony of physical classroom learning. Additionally, with an array of tools, even the most tedious topic can be made fun and exciting for the students.
• Effective time management
An online education provides a welcome environment for working adults who need to balance work and family with the new demands of going back to school. Right away, you save hours every week not having to commute back and forth to classes on a campus—and that’s just the beginning. Going back to school online sharpens your time-management skills, because you have to be disciplined and find the time to study.
• Immediate feedback on tests
When you’re enrolled in one of the many online degree programs available, you don’t have to worry and wait for days for test results. You take your tests online, and they are usually scored when you finish. You can quickly see where you did well and where you need improvement. When you submit papers and projects, you’ll use a private “drop box” where your teacher will access your assignments confidentially and provide written or video feedback.
As an online student, you’ll start enjoying these top benefits and many more as you experience the special world of online learning
To conclude, it is very glaring that the education system in Nigeria needs to be improved and schools need to invest in such technologies. There are many reasons for this; We live in an ever-changing world, and during any unexpected crisis as this, we must equip schools to function without compromising the education of the students.
Virtual classrooms are not just the pressing need today, they are the way of the future, and I want to believe that an increasing number of schools will look towards online school management software to ensure they are prepared for a brighter and better tomorrow.