The spread of COVID-19 has indeed disrupted our way of life. The things that we have regarded as normal routines have been modified in the efforts to contain the transmission of the virus. One such aspect of our life that has been affected is the formal education which is now being forced to adapt to the new normal.
In a virtual press conference given by the Department of Education (DepEd), Secretary Leonor Briones announced that the school year 2020-2021 will officially open on August 24, 2021 which is usually during June.
However, she added that should the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) allow it, the start of classes may come earlier for private schools.
“Private schools who want to open in June may do so if allowed by the IATF and DOH (Department of Health) guidelines, and no face-to-face for June,” Briones warned.
Adapting to the Pandemic
To ensure that the education will continue despite COVID-19 pandemic, DepEd is finalizing the Learning Continuity Plan (LCP), which will detail changes in policy and practices.
“We have repeatedly consulted and collaborated with our partner institutions and organizations in crafting the LCP, which includes key features on K-12 curriculum adjustments, alignment of learning materials, various modalities of delivery, and corresponding teacher and parent or guardian training for homeschooling,” the DepEd said in a statement.
Briones clarified that the classes, especially for the elementary and high school students, should not be conducted face-to-face. Instead, they can be conducted online, or via distance learning, until the government allows the reopening of school buildings, which were temporarily closed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease.
PROS AND CONS OF ONLINE CLASSES
The conduct of online classes is a good idea since it reduces the physical interaction between people, thus, minimizing the risk of virus transmission.
The conduct of online classes is a good idea since it reduces the physical interaction between people. This will minimize the risk of virus transmission. However, online classes can present unique challenges, such as unavailability of the technology needed to attend online classes (laptops, phones, internet connection, etc.), and the skills to navigate through it. Also, unlike in classrooms where there is a physical presence of the teacher to make the students accountable for their schoolwork, online classes may give the students a feeling of disconnect from the school and learning.
Whatever your stand is about online classes, there is nothing wrong with prepare for your online classes and equipping yourself with the right skills for effective online learning.
Here are some tips to ease you into your first online education and make sure you get the most value out of your next online class.
If you’re considering taking online college courses (or you’re already enrolled in a program) the tips and advice below will help you address their unique challenges to get the most value out of your online program.
Treat an online course like a “real” course.
When it comes to online classes, you need to have the dedication to sit down and work on your lessons. Though you can be flexible as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, you have to have the discipline not to procrastinate.
One of the easiest ways to motivate you to do your school works is to remember that you are paying to take this online course, just as you would for a traditional, in-person class. You must “attend” the classes if you want to learn and get real value out of your classes. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.
Hold yourself accountable
At the beginning of the semester, set goals that you want to meet for the course. In addition, assess your progress every week.
In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a teacher actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due.
If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check your progress. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.
Manage your time well.
The greatest appeal of online classes is the flexibility to create your schedule
But that freedom can also be harmful if you do not have strong time management skills. Without them, you might easily find yourself cramming before classes or handing in subpar assignments.
Here are some universally valuable tips to help you practice and improve your time management skills:
· Look at the syllabus at the start of the semester and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead.
· Create a weekly schedule that you follow, designating certain hours each week to read, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Commit to making your online coursework part of your weekly routine, and set reminders for yourself to complete these tasks.
· When working on your assignments, try time-blocking. Don’t forget to allot yourself a certain amount of time for each task before moving on to the next one. Also, set a timer to keep you accountable.
Create a regular study space and stay organized.
Chances are, you will be working at home. To make it easier for you to get into the learning mode, set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, the living room sofa, or in your bedroom, it’s important to determine what type of environment most effective for you.
Setting up a regular workspace or office will also help you to stay organized.
Set aside some space in your home to prepare for your online class. It is important to have some organization, even if it’s just two folders — a physical one for important papers and a folder on your computer where you put all your papers. Put your books, some blank paper, a pen, and a highlighter all in one place. If you are planning to use multiple computers like one at home and one at work, buy a backpack. This will keep all your stuff in so it is portable and handy.
Knowing exactly where important dates, files, forms, and assignments will help keep you on track towards hitting your goals. When setting up your study space, make sure you: have the required books, materials, and software for the course. Also, make sure you have headphones for listening to lectures or discussions (especially important in shared spaces)
From Netflix to Facebook to your rowdy little siblings, many distractions will easily derail your studies. It is best to know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus.
Exactly how much of a challenge these distractions will prove to be will depend on your unique personality and situation. Some might find that they can tune out a noisy home by listening to music. Others may be able to focus more if they will lock themselves in a quiet room.
Ultimately, you will need to find a strategy that works best for you.
Regardless of where you choose to work, turn your cell phone off. This will help you avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up. If you’re still having trouble resisting the temptation to check your email or surf the web, try downloading a website blocker. Using applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Figure Out How You Learn Best.
Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study the first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If the kids require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re at school.
Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.
Now is the right time to prepare for Your online class
Online classes are an excellent option to help you earn that degree you need to fulfill your goals. Though they come with their unique challenges, if you adapt to the situation, you will be successful even in the most chaotic of times.
The list of pros and cons of conducting online classes is very long, but let us face the fact that education has a vital part in our country’s development.
Now that we are facing a pandemic, we cannot afford to call the stops in educating our youth. Now more than ever, we need to have the foresight to deal with the present and future crises.