Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Illuminate College teaching concept may just be the example for the future of online classes because of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to COVID-19, many countries are relying on online platforms to conduct lessons while world governments are working on flattening the curve. In the United States of America, some schools are relying on Zoom, a cloud-based video conferencing service people can utilize to virtually meet with others, to conduct lessons. This is amazing because it keeps students learning while staying safe at home. However, the site is currently facing some security and privacy concerns according to the BBC news. Looking to the other side of the world, countries like Vietnam that are lacking technological infrastructure throughout the country, are relying on social media platforms like Facebook to conduct lessons which is a very unprofessional and bizarre way for teachers to teach.
Both of these methods are currently managing to provide the basic teachings virtually and they both have two things in common. Students will have to enter the e-class at the arranged time which some students may not have access to their technologies at that time and both methods need constant and strong internet to connect to video/audio conferences with dozens of other classmates. The issue comes as today, we can expect the whole world to stay home and what else would most of us be doing? The answer is using the internet.
Imagine the whole world using the internet, that is billions of devices connecting to the web simultaneously. Do you think today’s technology can handle this load? Hence, we can infer that the internet speed will slow down drastically due to the sheer amount of people using it at the same time. From my personal experience, my internet speed has slowed down drastically since March of 2020. It's not only the teenagers who are bored at home but businesses that are functioning online due to the crisis that is utilizing the internet. Therefore, I strongly believe that the internet is being slowed down tremendously during this crisis. So to think of it, will students be able to have the internet connection required to connect to lessons if the whole world decides to work online? Some homes may have stronger WiFi than others, but for the people who can't afford those expensive plans and routers, what would happen? How will the students learn?
Secondly, not all students have access to a device during the day or maybe students’ workplace is just too noisy preventing them from attending classes effectively. Some students like myself have some concerns regarding the webcams because I don't want others to see my living space. This discourages me from the online classes on a small level. But for some schools, it is mandatory during attendance and formal evaluations such as quizzes and tests.
But after completing the first module in Illuminate College, it left me thinking, what if my school courses are taught like this? How cool would it be? How flexible would it be for students? I can get more sleep right? The way that Illuminate College’s online platform is structured, teaches attendees through a series of pre-recorded videos of lessons. Assignments (Modules) are handed out one by one after finishing the assigned task. The due dates are assigned for students weekly which allows flexibility for students. There is also a forum for students to discuss work-related topics and question bars that mirrors physical class discussions.
If all high school courses are pre-planned to be completed digitally and lessons are pre-recorded, students can access it any time of the day without any worries about time. Many students today are also suffering from sleep deprivation which could potentially lead to students not being able to maximize their performance and productivity as well in schools. If pre-recorded lessons made by teachers are available to students, they can just access them when they are fully ready to learn. This concept eliminates the concerns over student's accessibility to devices at any point of the day. Also, since the lessons are videos, it doesn't demand that much active internet access. Instead, they could just download the video or just wait for it to load fully. This prevents the students from missing out on a teacher's lecture on a live video call. Students can also learn at their own pace in this way. Hence, I believe that the Illuminate College teaching structure can be the future of the standard high school way of teaching, the new norm of teaching.
Just some additional thoughts, this concept can also cut down on some expenses for district school boards’ budgets because they don't need as many resources. Meanwhile, students can save a lot more time by not having to worry about getting up, ready, and to school on time. Instead of wasting time picking out what to wear in the morning, students can put their precious time to better use.
Some concerns may still revolve around students with special needs, but school facilities can be used to teach them after the crisis.
Since this is the digital age, making online schools more available to students may just pave a path for a better future. But who knows what might change during these unprecedented times?