Due to increasing cases of COVID-19, Movement Control Order (MCO) were implemented in many countries including Malaysia. The requirement of MCO is that organisations and sectors that are not vital for the country need to close all operations for a while. This includes schools and universities. Any educational organisations were told to close as mass gathering is dangerous and could lead to an outbreak. Teachers and students were also told to implement an online learning method in order to keep with the syllabus. As Malaysia is new and rather foreign with the idea of online learning, many teachers and students voice their uncertainties with online learning. It is undeniable that online learning has its own pros and cons. As the world is getting more advanced with technology, we will unravel the pros and cons of online learning.
Pros of Online Learning
1. It is accessible anywhere and anytime
With online learning, as long as you have a phone or a laptop and have access to the internet, then you are set to go! It does not matter where you are at nor what you are up to, as long you have two of those things, you can join an online class. You do not really need to spend a lot of time to prepare yourself (just like how you did when you have physical classes). You also do not need to spend much time travelling to class. Class is now brought to you whenever you are! In your study room, dining room, bedroom or even toilet. This is extremely beneficial since you cannot simply go out from your house during the mco.
2. It enhances one’s creativity
Online learning can be very, I repeat very, boring. Listening to lectures through your laptop or mobile phones can be very draining. This challenges the teachers to be more creative in teaching their students. We can see various creative substitutions that teachers came out with to make their online class more fun.
Teachers conducted various activities to make sure that their students are not bored. For example, a teacher could relate to the current famous application for youngsters; tik tok, and implement it in their teaching. Teachers also conducted various different types of assignments that are more doable than the old traditional essay assignments. These types of assignments can enhance the students’ creativity too. For example, video assignments, posters, game-based assignments and many more.
Cons of Online Learning
1. Not everyone is privileged
However, as online learning requires mobile phones, laptops, and the internet, we must remember that not everyone has them.Having these key items mean that you are somewhat privileged and now everyone is born privileged. For example, a Sabah student Veveonah Mosibin climbed a tree and stayed on top of the tree so that she can get good internet access. This speaks a lot about privilege. Many students like Veveonah are not privileged enough to get good internet access, and some of them do not own a laptop or mobile phone. This makes it impossible for them to attend online classes that clearly need a strong internet connection and good quality laptop or mobile phone.
2. No privacy
It is undeniable that online learning has broken the boundaries between teachers and students, especially in terms of privacy. Despite having a clear timetable during physical class (that should have been followed when conducting an online class), certain teachers/lecturers tend to not follow the timetable. They tend to just conduct an online class when they feel like it. This totally disrupts the privacy of students as they all have other responsibilities at home.
That is not the end. Both teachers and students tend to contact each other out of office hours. Sometimes even at midnight! This is totally breaching others’ privacy as night time is usually the time for people to rest and spend time with family. Online learning has totally broken this boundary because it is not only done by the students, but the teachers too.
3. It limits the mean of communication between students and teachers
Lastly, communicating through an online medium sometimes is not as efficient than a face to face communication. When sending texts, others cannot easily read the intonation of your text and this can cause misunderstanding. Your body language is also unavailable, hence creating more of a barrier for the other party to fully understand you. This is really limiting the communication between teachers and students because misunderstanding will constantly happen.
To conclude, online learning does its own benefits and disadvantages. It is unavoidable because currently the whole world is going through a pandemic. That is why, to ensure the stability of online classes, teachers and students have to communicate with each other and make sure that all of them are able to participate. Government institutions could also help the poor who are not privileged enough with online learning. Together, we will all be able to go through this pandemic.
Written by: Muhammad Mustaqim Bin Abdul Rahman