Unstoppable learning despite the COVID-19 lockdown

Dipak Prasad Mishra

Some told, untold, and retold incidents bring exclusive experiences in life. So has COVID 2019 brought experiences in our life. We are bound to lock ourselves inside our house to avoid spreading the virus. Like globally, Nepal has also declared lockdown leading to an isolated life, resulting in psychological suffering and monotonous lifestyle. While writing this piece, I’m in Kathmandu struggling to manage foodstuffs and my study. My university shifted the regular classes into online mode. However, I didn’t have a stable and reliable internet in my place. Therefore, I requested my house owner to manage internet access for the same and he provided too. Then, I was hopeful to accelerate my study through the virtual class. This new mode of study has given me some exciting experiences and challenges, which I will share in this piece of writing.

On the very first day of lockdown, I woke up only around 7. Oh my god! I was late to complete a review of an assignment and I hopped on that immediately. After that I went through the emails from my professor, which asked me to read some resources. Then, I downloaded books and articles, and read some research to explore the focus of the articles, the researcher’s objectives, and findings with future directions. Reading the research of others was deepening my own insights into research, which was helping me to write about research and prepare for the same.

In another mail from my university, my professor wrote about virtual class, plan of the university to shift towards it, and its process. I was extremely delighted to learn that the university was going to run the classes virtually even during the pandemic. The first day went on setting up the things and learning to handle the technology. The second day of the virtual class went much better. We talked about the previous class and the plan of the day. Basically, two of our classmates presented their research proposal. Their sharing gave me many ideas for mine. After that, we talked about our assignment and comments which were given on it. We were also oriented to work on Google docs, which was a new concept for me. It was interesting that one could see another’s writing, read, and give feedback easily without exchanging emails and attachments. In the next class, our teacher assigned one of our classmates to present English continuity and counter-discourse and then in the second session, he delivered his presentation about World Englishes, the variety of Englishes.

Benefits of virtual classes

The virtual class was a new taste for me. From my experience, I came to know that online classes/learning is also one of the crucial modes of teaching and learning in difficult circumstances and it can be taught and learnt in the corner of the world at any time. It is also a good alternative for those who cannot attend face-to-face classes. The online class has developed a habit of listening carefully to others and takes notes. I have been collecting adequate ideas through virtual class, virtual conferences, and seminar. These conferences and seminars have taught to get connected, share, and learn in any situation. The online class has also offered me opportunities to collaborate in assignments with my peers across Nepal, which has saved my time too.

Challenges and limitation of virtual classes

It is true that virtual class doesn’t give the flavour of a real classroom while engaging in discussions with teachers and classmates. I also faced some problems while participating on it. On the very first day of the online class, while my professor was presenting about research, my internet went out of coverage. After ten minutes, I managed it but again there was a problem in my audio and video. The issue ruled the whole day went and I couldn’t fully participate and share my opinions in the classes. I just watched the screen of my professor but I couldn’t participate actively, like face to face classroom. At that moment, I felt truly isolated. In addition, later I was not able to fully concentrate during the presentations and talks because the movement of my family members and sounds in the room and I would also move around the kitchen to eat something unknowingly, missing some bits of class sometimes. Likewise, my neighbour and street dogs would equally distract me during our class. Similarly, staying long in front of the screen was also painful for me. In addition, I soon realized that my teachers wouldn’t able to truly assess my learning as I could surf the questions asked by teachers online and read out that.

Conclusion
The online classes during this isolation have kept me connected with my university and study allowing me to be familiar with new technological tools. It brings my teachers and mates at my home, while I’m sitting comfortably in my chair or on the bed, watching and listening to them with the flexibility to attend and study the resources. The online class sometimes makes us comfortable and confident enough to express ourselves without any worry as nobody would be gazing at us. Saving my time and money to travel to the university is another benefit for me. Therefore, even after the lockdown, my study is going on as I’m locking myself inside and devoting more time in reading and writing. The piece you are reading is an example of that.

[Note: since you have come up to here reading it, please share your feeling, feedback or any question related to it in the comment box below, which will encourage the author. Thank you!]

[To cite it: Mishra, D.P. (2020, April 20). Unstoppable learning despite the COVID-19 lockdown. [blog post]. Retrieved from: http://eltchoutari.com/2020/04/unstoppable-learning-despite-the-covid-19-lockdown/]

 

The author: Dipak Prasad Mishra is currently pursuing MPhil from Kathmandu University. His areas of interest include English as a Medium of Instruction, Teacher Professional Development and Critical Pedagogy.  

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