Virtual Learning


School closures due to the pandemic brought unparalleled disruptions to the education sector. As the countries faced outbreaks, almost overnight classrooms closed to prevent the rapid transmission. Staying home became a new normal, forcing students to turn to alternative sources to continue their education. Now, amidst a global pandemic, many colleges and universities are ramping up their online course offerings. With the ongoing Covid-19 case the curriculum of my school (Rangjung Yeshe Institute) changed to online classes.  Perhaps I have experienced a bitter taste of online learning during the COVID-19 quarantine. I have struggled with time management or self-motivation along the way. Nevertheless, I know everyone has different experiences with online and campus classes and everyone will have their own preference when it comes to earning a degree. Both paths have pros and cons, and both are given equal importance.  

In online learning, I noticed that there is a lack of complete and dynamic student-teacher interaction unlike in campus learning but it is only possible through emails, teams, chats and forums. On the other hand, in online learning, it is very difficult to monitor the learner in a virtual environment as they attend lectures online while listening to music, playing games and engaging in other activities. These things are difficult to happen in the campus learning due to the physical presence of both. The online classes require more time than campus learning thus slow internet connectivity like at my place in Bhutan has seen shortcoming in attending online classes.      

On the contrary, campus based learning is able to utilise all areas of learning, as teachers are able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of students and provides an improved learning environment, giving students the best possible education. Besides these, the advantages that I found in campus learning are that we will be able to maintain interpersonal relationships, access to libraries and research materials, and scheduled learning environments.  In addition, the campus learning experience involves exploring campus grounds and enjoys meeting with their professors and peers in person, or learning better in a face to face setting.   

The pandemic hit the education sector hard. Though the importance of online learning was felt and rushed as a part of globalise effort to fight against the recent pandemic, and to meaningfully engage the students amid growing fear of COVID-19, the campus learning is far better than the online learning. The campus learning also allows for social interaction with teachers and fellow students. Not only on a social level is this important but on an academic level, it allows students to discuss what they do and do not understand with each other and help one another. 

 ~ Kinley from Bhutan