The COVID-19 crisis has put a stop the entire economy in Bangladesh. The country was put in a lockdown for over 2 months. Educational institutions have been put on a halt for an indefinite period. This is preventing students from getting access to quality education. This article discusses how strategies educational institutes can adopt to continue running the operations of their respective curriculum using digital learning and other methods that will prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The campuses and school premises are locked down at the moment. Hence, the only possible and viable way of teaching is digital learning. Digital learning technologies are widely adopted in developed countries and many top universities provide paid masters degree courses via platforms such as https://www.edx.org or their own learning management system. Master’s Degrees on edX.
Bangladeshi institutions are primarily dependent on on-campus learning. Hence, these institutions can adopt some of the proven technologies of digital learning used in developed countries. However, adjustments need to be made to ensure that the technologies are viable and accessible in Bangladesh.
Many private universities in Bangladesh have started their online classes using Zoom Cloud Meeting software. However, Zoom is known to require a significant amount of bandwidth and internet speed which prevents students living in areas with slow internet from accessing classes.
Recorded classes could become an attractive alternative to Zoom. Recorded classes do not require the user to have a constant high speed internet connection and users with relatively slow internet can download the classes and view them.
Classes should be encoded in the most popular format which is mp4 to ensure everyone’s device can support it. And the videos should be provided in several formats. The minimum quality of the videos should be 1280×720 px; also called HD. The videos should provide another down-scaled format of 640×360 px for students with slower internet. This will ensure greater accessibility.
This article advises against full evaluation of a student’s academic assessment online. Even though it is possible to accurately assess students online, it is not viable in the context of Bangladesh. Teachers are not familiar with many strategies used in online education to prevent cheating. This will make it not viable in Bangladesh.
However, partial assessment of students should be possible. Institutions may utilize free tools such as Google Classroom for assessing student’s academic qualifications. Presentations, assignments and attendance can be measured using Google Classroom. Some institutes may substitute mid term assessment of students via quiz questions in Google Classroom.
The quiz based exams should be treated as open book exams as there is no way of preventing students from cheating. Hence, the questions should be adjusted to check a student’s ability to solve problems. Also, a larger volume of questions covering the whole syllabus should be presented to ensure that, even if the students cheat, they have to work hard to find the answers.
Assessment of some topics may not be possible via this method for which the mid term assessments should be halted. Institutions should consider the students’ situation and allow them enough time to perform well in their exams. Private universities should follow directions of UGC when creating their course curriculum.
Education For Students Without Internet Access
Providing education to students without any internet access is a big challenge. However, some strategies may help institutes provide course materials to them. Course materials such as recorded lectures can be ripped on DVDs or memory cards and sent to students via postal service.
Full instruction about how to utilize the resources should be provided in videos. Then students can complete the course by watching the DVDs and send their presentations and assignments via another ripped DVD or memory card. Students should get another person to help them record their presentation and then load it onto the memory card and send it.