In this era of ‘at-my-finger-tips’ digital technologies, can traditional classroom teaching-learning be replaced by these omnipresent, ubiquitous wired platforms? That’s one question that has been mooted a thousand times in the last couple of decades.
At one moment in the last decade, I believed that teachers are passe! That schools and colleges would not anymore be relevant. But no more – at a time when technologies are much more developed!
One of the privileges these technologies have brought in is online courses – MOOCS. Two years, ago, when I stumbled upon a few hard-to-resists courses, I registered for them – from Zurich University and from Stanford University.
It was an exciting beginning to learning online!
Low and behold! The excitement was shortlived. I found, without a teacher to goad you, to discuss with you, to pep you up, to motivate you, MOOCS were a hard proposition. I gave up both the courses in about two weeks! The work pressure had gotten better of me, and I succumbed to it.
Two years passed by.
And In this summer, I registered once again for two more (tough, but similar!) courses. I this time told myself, I would give up everything- my sleep, my food, recreation, relaxation, and anything else, but not these courses! I completed both of them, a couple of weeks ago. And with distinction – scoring 94% and 90% in the two courses offered by University of Amsterdam! Credit must also go to my MOOCS tutors – they have been simply fabulous. Two of the best I have ever had!
But that required a very high degree of self-motivation. In normal circumstance, I just could not do it.
And the excitement led me to register for three more. While I am still pursuing one more (in the last week), I had to surrender the other two. Sad, but true!
In the meantime, some publicity and my “site-visits” led me to BBC -University of Birmingham, and found a course which I recently I must do. That is on Video production (online!) And why not – if I can learn statistics and research methods, why not video production? Just then, the same platform offered me another course on twitter research (through another UK university) scheduled to begin next week. And with any number of meetings and collaborations and commitments and papers-to-be-written at hand, I only hope, I don’t forget to breathe!
But one thing for sure – with all the excitement, ease and convenience surrounding the new digital-educational technologies, I still am convinced, none of these technologies can replace a typical classroom and a good teacher.