E-Learning: Thriving Academically
in the Current Era of COVID-19 Pandemic
​Dashan Yuan

I believe a number of students envisioned their wonderful school life before the beginning of the current fall semester. However, the reality is always quite different from imagination. The “Zoom University” situation is inevitable by the end of the day. Taking classes while lying in bed and chewing on snack is definitely cozy and satiating, but solutions to how to maintain good grades in such a unique time should not be neglected, and efforts are needed on both students’ and educators’ sides.

“The reality is always quite different from imagination.

The “Zoom University” situation is inevitable by the end of the day.”

The saying that E-learning is inferior to traditional classroom teaching has become a cliché. People who support this idea do have their empirical base ground. As stated in Brown and Liedholm’s research (2002), students in face-to-face classroom setting performed better than their E-learning counterparts due to better and more direct student-teacher interaction. The same results were shown in Coates’s study (2004) as well. However, studies that demonstrated this kind of results generally share one common trait, which is that they all treat E-learning courses as homogeneous commodities without specifications and specializations in methodology, technology, and their teaching-learning process (Merino & Lopez, 2014). I believe both students and course instructors would face series of difficulties and varieties when classes go completely online. This implies certain adjustments might be needed to accommodate these challenges to make the E-learning environment a well-developed “zone” for teachers and students.

E-learning is not as simple as “putting” the classroom into a computer screen. It is an iterative process of planning, implementation, controlling environment, and improving (Cukusic & Alfirevic, 2010). In this process, lecture topics and activities are determined, goals are set, and students are granted access to these materials through the ICT. Afterward, necessary monitoring and evaluation technics should be used to assess both instructors’ and students’ satisfaction level. Based on these results, decisions should be made on what improvements are needed based on the current model of teaching. It is not intelligent to take E-learning as granted by thinking one teaching method or another is good enough. In order to accommodate ourselves to teaching and learning in this unique occasion, an iterative process of continuing evaluation and improvement is crucial. This idea is buffed by the results shown in Cukusic and Alfirevic’s research in which students showed overall great performance in various E-learning courses when their teachers implemented this method. 

“E-learning is an iterative process of planning, implementation,

controlling environment, and improving.”

Students on the other hand, should not take E-learning negatively because it actually provides several opportunities and convenience. By using ICT such as multimedia-based materials, online networking software, asynchronous and synchronous devices, students could gain convenient access to course materials and student to student or student to teacher communication (Merino & Lopez, 2014).

 

With sufficient preparation in technology, individuals need to take the responsibilities to motivate and encourage themselves in the E-learning environment and strive for better grades. Motivation was found to be the most crucial factor in affecting E-learning performance, and those who believed they are well-prepared for online courses are more motivated and achieved higher grades (Merino & Lopez, 2014). As the shift from teacher-focused to student-focused classroom has become the trend, students need to understand the importance of their role in learning processes. Simply changed course delivery method should not be an obstacle that undermines academic performance.

“Students should not take E-learning negatively

because it actually provides several opportunities and convenience.”

The Year of 2020 has been tough for all of the students and faculties. In such a unique time, it is crucial to leave behind the “old ways” that we are used to and embrace new methodologies that could help us again become successful. Students and educators both play significant roles in this process, and it is important to be aware that by focusing on cooperation, communication, and reformation that we could succeed.

 Reference

 

Brown, B. W., & Liedholm, C. E. (2002). Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics? American Economic Review, 92(2), 444-448. doi:10.1257/000282802320191778

Castillo-Merino, D., & Serradell-López, E. (2014). An analysis of the determinants of students’ performance in e-learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 476-484. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.06.020

Coates, D., Humphreys, B. R., Kane, J., & Vachris, M. A. (2004). “No significant distance” between face-to-face and online instruction: Evidence from principles of economics. Economics of Education Review, 23(5), 533-546. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2004.02.002

Ćukušić, M., Alfirević, N., Granić, A., & Garača, Ž. (2010). E-Learning process management and the e-learning performance: Results of a European empirical study. Computers & Education, 55(2), 554-565. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.02.017

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