Current issues in online education

Online education is among the current trend in education, which involves students learning or gaining knowledge from home and like the traditional method where students had to go to classrooms to learn. Education has revolutionized into online techniques, especially in the 21st Century due to the evolution of technology and technological equipment, making online learning easy. Online learning can also be referred to as remote learning in this very much encouraged in the modern world due to its numerous benefits. Online learning or education comprises internet-based training, computer-based training, web-based training, online training, mobile learning, e-learning, and computer-aided distance education. In simple terms, online learning or education is mostly electronically supported and relies on the internet for student-teacher interaction and the distribution of learning material. The main difference between online learning and traditional classroom setting is the absence of interaction between students and teachers (Sun & Chen, 2016).

Online learning has recently gained more recognition in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. During the pandemic, the movement was restricted, and social distancing and encouraged. Schools and various Ministries of education had to devise ways to ensure the continuation of learning while maintaining the safety of students and teachers. This is only possible through online education or remote learning, where the Education curriculum continues through online platforms. In online learning, the materials necessary include electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, or laptops and an internet connection such as Wi-Fi. Students and teachers interact on various platforms such as video, email, and text messages. Classes are conducted virtually on a video call or other means such as Skype. Online learning has been more beneficial, especially in higher learning institutions such as colleges and universities, which accommodate students worldwide. Students can acquire an education without the limitation of distance or geographical location (Allen & Seaman, 2013).

Many colleges offer online courses and learning to students who cannot be able to avail themselves physically in the classrooms or the specified location of the institution for one reason or another. Many universities have been certified to offer distance learning to the point where graduations are also held online. Students from a different country can graduate from a global university in the comfort of their home country. Technology is the future of many industries, especially the education sector, and incorporating IT makes this easier. Learning institutions, significantly higher education, have revolutionized online learning to offer all the perks and advantages of students attending their dream University with an added convenience of a personalized schedule and learning experience. Technological advancements have made it easy for students to study on online platforms while socializing with their peers, participating in subject-specific discussions, and watching lectures altogether. Even though some individuals consider online education to require a higher level of self-motivation, not learning institutions recognize that educational support is as essential as teacher feedback to enable students to receive the same level of support that they will have gotten who are they physically on campus (Sun & Chen, 2016).

Poor engagement

Despite the numerous advantages of online learning for distance learning, this system has numerous disadvantages that lead to poor student engagement. Any learning setting has to be productive by involving students and teachers and promoting the interaction between the parties involved. The main reason student engagement is poor is the lack of student feedback on online platforms period. The traditional classroom setting allows students to be physically present and the teachers to be physically present. This encourages engagement which involves asking questions and student and teacher feedback altogether. Teachers or teachers give the students immediate physical or face-to-face feedback in the traditional classroom setting. They’re able to get the performance of the students’ level of understanding. While on an online platform, especially ones that are not incorporating videos, students find it challenging to ask questions or raise concerns about what they have not understood (Hu & Li, 2017).

On most classroom occasions, it’s easier and more efficient when teachers notice or recognize deficits during learning when they happen. Direct personalized feedback by students usually has a positive impact on their learning as it makes the Education process richer, easier, and more significant while increasing the motivation levels. Online learning is still trying to cope with how to conduct student feedback. Students find it hard to finish the regular assessment, and they’re usually dissatisfied when teachers don’t offer personalized feedback. The main reason why student feedback is limited is that such platforms look for other methods for providing feedback success through email or text messages. Students cannot fully express their concerns (O’Shea et al., 2015).

Poor engagement results from E-Learning or online education course in social isolation among students. The remoteness associated with online learning from lack of interaction as students undergoes a lot of contemplation on how to react. Most students tend to remain silent as they start to lack physical interaction. Social isolation not only happens in the classroom settings but also affects their social life and how they interact with other individuals such as family and friends. After spending so much time learning remotely and on electronic devices, most students experience social isolation signs as they lack human communication in everyday life. This isolation, together with lack of communication, usually leads to numerous mental health issues such as anxiety, negative thoughts, and stress (O’Shea et al., 2015).

But on most occasions, there exist various types of students. We have the outgoing students who are primarily extroverts, and we have those students who are introverted and do not like socializing with going out of their comfort zone. The introverted student usually benefits from the traditional classroom setting as it encourages and forces them to have human interaction. In such settings, students tend to speak up as circumstances force them to. This is contrary to what is observed on online learning platforms where there is no physical human interaction and students are only allowed to speak when they need to. Online learning platforms further encourage such students to isolate themselves, causing social isolation and poor student engagement (Hu & Li, 2017).

Student outcomes

Researchers revealed that students’ outcomes in online learning platforms are much poorer and lower compared to the traditional classroom setting. Most of these studies have been conducted in the most recent coronavirus pandemic, which forced most countries across the world to engage in distant or remote learning. A lot of the studies conducted indicate that student satisfaction level was relatively low in online learning compared to the traditional classroom setting. Most students indicated that they did not gain as much knowledge as they loved. Feedback from students indicates that online learning platforms provide Limited information and knowledge and limited learning opportunities. According to most studies, online learning is tailored to a particular curriculum and is very specific, and rigid hands changes are hardly done. Unlike in the traditional setting where teachers could change the learning plans based on the assessment of the students, online learning does not accommodate such flexibilities as Explorer learning outcomes (Henry, 2018).

The issue of low concentration is very rampant when discussing the current trends in online education. Students do not concentrate as much as they would in the traditional classroom setting when studying remotely. This is due to many reasons, such as lack of Close supervision by the teachers. Another reason is that students are responsible for their time management and scheduling in online learning. Students in higher learning institutions are at a point in their life where exploration is at its maximum, and online education or remote learning allows them to concentrate more on issues that are not education-related. This is why most students recorded a drop in their performance levels once they joined higher education institutions. Most students are reported to drop out of school in colleges or universities, and online learning partly contributes to this (Kuo et al., 2013).

The lack of close supervision at times makes higher education students lose focus in the program and to the extent where they get other people to do the exams and attend the classes for them. Online learning equips students with a lot of theoretical knowledge with no knowledge of applying it. Moment of this information and knowledge gained from online learning is not applicable in the real world. The online curriculum in most higher education institutions is primarily theoretical, and the examination and grading system furthers this menace. Students are forced to memorize Concepts online for the sake of passing exams, and the information memorialized is a rest from the memory as soon as they are done with the specific exams. This has primarily contributed to poor outcomes. Online education systems only service the students the ability to memorize theoretical concepts. Most universities and tertiary institutions do not teach students workplace systems and adapt to that setting. This leads to students not being ready to face the outside world hence missing out on good opportunities due to lack of knowledge (Kuo et al., 2013).

Despite the online learning system being beneficial and advantageous, especially the 21st-century students need the practical aspect of learning to apply the concepts taught in the classroom to the real world. Corrections are quickly done when teachers monitor students’ practical application of knowledge. Students have their Masters and teachers in remote learning, and they’re forced to monitor their performance by themselves. This is difficult as they cannot differentiate between what’s wrong and correct regarding what is expected. The online learning system in higher education institutions has not yet adopted the scientific approach to education, which enables students to develop critical thinking skills and Innovation; hence, they are unable to think empirically. Research reveals that the emphasis on a theoretical education system on online platforms leads to students being unable to apply coursework in real-life situations, especially in workplaces (Henry, 2018).

Online learning does not favor specific courses, especially scientific ones such as mathematics and other technical subjects, which need close teacher supervision and explanation of concepts. Learning outcomes in such subjects have been recorded to be very low (Kuo et al., 2013). This leads to most students failing in their dream careers and dropping out on good opportunities as the system does not favor them.

Use of videos in online classes

The introduction of video in online courses contributes to the system’s efficiency. Videos in online classes imitate the presence of a teacher and the typical traditional classroom setting. Students tend to gain more from videos, unlike notes in file formats. Videos tend to be more elaborate. Hence they are preferred by students and teachers. Video lessons imitate the same setting as classroom lessons, where the teacher can see the students and interact with them. Students can ask questions and give feedback regarding what they’re learning. Video lessons are more beneficial than audio lessons as teachers can monitor student activities and enhance human interaction. Video lessons also encourage concentration and time management (Bialowas & Steimel, 2019).

Teaching presence implications in online learning

Teaching presence in online learning encompasses all aspects of organization-designed facilitation and Direct instruction of courses that personally support meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes. Research indicates that students are very much aware of teaching presence, and they tend to feel satisfied when they have human interactions with their lecturers. Teaching presence comprises the forethought and the planning that is included in building the cost and what the lecturer or teacher will do while interacting with the students. The aspects of teaching presence that’s happened during the session include direct instruction and facilitation of discourse. The most straightforward aspect of teaching presence is direct instruction which includes assessing student work developing presentations earlier run, and providing constructive feedback. Clarifying Concepts diagnosing misconceptions, and referring students to extra resources or additional practice opportunities (Khalid & Quick, 2016).

According to Preisman (2014), there exist numerous roles that instructors can undertake to provide active teaching presence in online education. These roles include amplifying where lecturers draw attention to the most crucial Concepts and ideas in the course materials and student feedback or comments. The second role is curating, where lecturers arrange and select videos readings and other resources to scaffold concepts. The third role is aggregating, which involves displaying and finding patents in communication and discussions. The last role is modeling, where lecturers demonstrate the skills and behaviors they expect from their students in terms of analysis and interaction (Preisman, 2014).

Lecturers’ teaching presence covers the organization design facilitation and direct instruction of courses that support meaningful and educational learning outcomes. Some of how teaching presence can be established by the lecturers and student-teacher interactions and Hurst is by the lecturers going to the online class a few minutes earlier to catch up with students through chatting. The second method is by lecturers using the together mod, which automatically places all the student participants in a shared background, making it feel like they’re seated in the same room full stop. Another way is by the lecturers using both the chat and voice function to interact and respond to the student. Another way the lecturers establish teaching presence is by the lecturer showing sharing their contact and photo details during the interactions. It’s important for the lecturer to also create and allocate time for Consulting four groups of students were given for the whole class. The teacher should also allocate time for students to ask questions. Finally, the lecturer can establish a teaching presence by staying online until all the students leave since some students return to ask questions (Preisman, 2014).

Application of teaching presence in online learning.

Teaching presence can also be enhanced by lecturers boosting social presence. Social presence is a term that refers to the level to which a student feels personally connected with the lecturers and other students. According to research, most students are not yet clear whether social presence is essential to their learning even though it appears to enhance their excitement and morale in online classes. To boost social presence, teachers can start by asking students to post a brief introduction and share a photo on the channel before the official first class. Another way lecturers can boost social presence is by requesting all students to turn their camera a microphone on to have a few minutes of socializing before the class begins. Social presence is also boosted when lecturers call students by their names when asking for their input. Lecturers should encourage the students to share some learning experience or personal experience, or even relevant reading with their peers during the class (Khalid & Quick, 2016).

Teachers also promote teaching presence by ensuring cognitive presence. This refers to how students gain understanding and construct meaning through reflection and collaboration. Many studies reveal that lecture recordings, live chats, and the presence of question-and-answer message histories allow students to go through content after the class (Preisman, 2014).

References

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Sloan Consortium. PO Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950.

Bialowas, A., & Steimel, S. (2019). Less Is More: Use of Video to Address the Problem of Teacher Immediacy and Presence in Online Courses. International journal of teaching and learning in higher education, 31(2), 354-364.

Henry, M. (2018). The online student experience: An exploration of first-year university students’ expectations, experiences, and outcomes of online education.

Hu, M., & Li, H. (2017, June). Student engagement in online learning: A review. In 2017 International Symposium on Educational Technology (ISET) (pp. 39-43). IEEE.

Khalid, M. N., & Quick, D. (2016). Teaching Presence Influencing Online Students’ Course Satisfaction at an Institution of Higher Education. International Education Studies, 9(3), 62-70.

Kuo, Y. C., Walker, A. E., Belland, B. R., & Schroder, K. E. (2013). A predictive study of student satisfaction in online education programs. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(1), 16-39.

O’Shea, S., Stone, C., & Delahunty, J. (2015). Exploring how students narrate their engagement with higher education institutions in an online learning environment. “I ‘feel’like I am at university even though I am online.” Distance Education, 36(1), 41-58.

Preisman, K. A. (2014). Teaching Presence in Online Education: From the Instructor’s Point of View. Online learning, 18(3), n3.

Sun, A., & Chen, X. (2016). Online education and its effective practice: A research review. Journal of Information Technology Education, 15.