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Advantages of Online Education-METU insight

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Screenshot of a seminar Zoom meeting that went on.
The pandemic transferred our classes from in-person to over the internet and for some this has been an opportunity to use more resources than they usually do in a normal semester.

From the sound of this topic, people tend to think that this topic will highlight the negative, but on the contrary, it is to accentuate the positive. During the COVID pandemic, I have heard so many negative aspects of online education that it got me wondering if I could find anything positive. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even online education has both positive and negative sides. We just have to change our perspective a little to see the other side of the coin. So, to spread a little positivity and make you realize the good things before we start missing them, here is a list of the advantages of online education.

Bye, Bye Morning Classes ?!

A picture of four different students in different positions during an 8am lecture. An advantage of online education is that there hasn't been a need to urgently force yourself up so early.
Morning classes

The first advantage of online education that I could think of was the escape from morning classes. Not every person is a morning person, and most people find morning classes to be the most difficult. The reasons could be that their brains are not awake yet, or they did not have a good breakfast, which is essential for the brain to function properly. Most students force their brains to wake up with coffee. Now, this is not a problem as most classes are recorded and provided in ODTU class. Previously, if you fell asleep in the class, you missed the lecture, but now you can watch the recording when you wake up. But do not forget to do this.

Speed Up or Slow Down

We all have at least one class in which the teacher speaks at a pace, unlike others that you feel yourself drifting into a deep sleep. The lectures start sounding like a sweet lullaby, and your head starts getting heavy. Despite trying to fight it off, you still end up falling asleep before the end of the class. These feelings and the struggle is very well portrayed in this video: Click this link if the video doesn’t play.

Before online education, I would try to get the teacher’s permission beforehand for eating snacks during their class. This was my method of fighting off the sleep. Often, the teachers would not allow this, and then it would be a lost battle against sleep. I love that now I can speed up the recorded lecture to a speed that does not attract sleep. I will miss this when we return to face-to-face classes.

On the other hand, some accents are difficult to understand if you are not used to them. Or, sometimes the brain just takes a little longer to grasp a concept. Again, the option of slowing down the lecture helps in these cases.

Open-book Exams

Another advantage of online education is that it has promoted the use of open-book exams, which shifts exams from being a test of memory to a test of understanding and using the information provided.

As Amit Kalantri said in his book ‘Wealth of Words,’

“School exams are memory tests, in real-world no one is going to stop you from referring a book to solve a problem.”

In this day and era when all information is on the tip of your fingertips, this is a much-needed shift. Open-book exams also improve students’ note-taking skills, which is a more important skill than it seems. Exam questions also become more like real-life problems – also lower the risk of cheating.

Increase in Opportunities

Motivational point of view

Have you ever wished to be in two places at the same time? Was there a seminar you were looking forward to but your class clashes with the timing? At times like these, you can not help but think that an opportunity has been lost. But now, you no longer need to choose one over the other as recorded sessions lets you learn from and, experience both. The full advantage of being in this university has been unlocked with online education; now, it only depends on us, how much we can do with these opportunities.

The opportunities are also not only limited to the university. With the world as it is now, location no longer matters. We do not need to be in the same location to collaborate on a project or share ideas. My generation or the younger generation would say that they already knew this, but we are no professionals. This pandemic forced the older generation, the professionals, to join on this belief, and they are now more than willing to share with us. In a few months, I have experienced a live session with a famous book writer, a professional cricket player, and a famous podcast speaker sharing tips with the youngsters. All three of these people were sharing from kilometres away. I could not have imagined this before. If not because of the distances, then because of the cost to reach these people and the time it would have taken. Overnight these problems were solved by keeping the meeting online.

Self-management Skill

Managing people with different time zones is very difficult, and managing different time zones can test a person’s self-management skills. Everyone at METU NCC got to experience this and learn from this. For starters, all classes were held at Cyprus time while most teachers and students were in Turkey. In addition, Cyprus had different timing due to daylight saving for half the year. To add to the confusion, some teachers would set the assignment deadline according to Cyprus time, and ODTU class would show it according to Turkey time. However, this was not all as most international students had returned to their home countries in the summer vacations, and the international students come from so many different countries. Most of the international students are still in their home countries and use their management skills daily. Friend study groups are the pinnacle of this struggle. If you are curious about which languages you might hear in these study groups, you can check this link.

A map showing some of the countries that the international students come from. Online education has made it a possibility for them to connect and learn despite their distance
Some of the time zones students had to manage from

New Tools

Humans have this nature that they do not like to struggle with anything and are quick to find solutions. With these new struggles, we have found many new tools to help us overcome them. From meeting platforms to time management/scheduling apps, we have tried and learned many new things which we would not have bothered to do otherwise. I will not go into the details of these apps as the blog is already too long (I do not know how you made it till the end). Maybe another day.

I hope this blog spreads some positivity and it showed you a new perspective. If I missed any advantages of online education, you can comment down below. Also, don’t be in a hurry to go back to your social media, read more articles from some of our other bloggers here.

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