By Andrea Zuray Martinez – Education career student

In a virtual classroom, there are many kinds of students: on the one hand, there are those who fall asleep in the middle of a reading and unwittingly leave their faces visible to everyone. There are also those who never participate in the class; they never activate their camera or microphone and when they are called to participate, they simply write a message in the chat blaming their wireless connection. Similarly, there are those who take advantage of the fact that no one is noticing them to navigate through their social networks. And others who, while taking the class, find the opportunity to eat. This is common among students globally, and regardless of what behavior they exhibit, they all have one thing in common: none of them are paying enough attention to the class as they should be. This evidences that, in order to overcome distractions, it is necessary to seek and implement new strategies to keep students interested.

In the past few months, many educational institutes that were used to in-class teaching had to resort to the implementation of online classes. This modification has not been easy for teachers nor students; both have had to cope with the changes that this has brought. Online education is more than just reading while sitting in front of a screen (Tarasow, 2009). The implementation of interactive activities is necessary to ensure student participation. Requirements such as keeping the camera on, promoting dialogue and discussion among students, and using audiovisuals that enrich the learning process are among the factors that can help maintain an active space in the classroom. According to Tarasow (2009), these spaces should also be used to strengthen the bond between students and teachers. By promoting this, we ensure that the classes are comfortable and more familiar settings that leave aside imposed, awkward, and tedious learning

For many, virtual education cannot be compared to classroom instruction. As Villafuerte (2020) stated “the biggest change that virtual learning requires is flexibility and the recognition that the controlled structure of a school is not replicable online”. This highlights the importance of giving students a chance to analyze and retain the information, and not forcing them to do something they might not feel comfortable doing. Nevertheless, this does not mean that online classes are going to be ineffective or impossible to manage; on the opposite, they are learning opportunities that bring students together in spite of the distance.

Undoubtedly, the success of the learning process will be determined by more than just the attitude of the instructor and the students towards the class. Ensuring that online classes are places where learning becomes an exciting process rather than one that invites indifference or contempt for the subject under review depends on both the teaching techniques and the learning methods adopted by both sides. Taking all this into account when being part of an online class allows participants to become aware of how their presence and participation directly influences the learning and leads to the desired outcome. The ultimate goal should be to have students willing to give their opinion freely and without censorship. By constantly encouraging them to participate, teachers promote a collaborative environment where everyone has the right to share their experiences and knowledge voluntarily and without any pressure in between.

 

MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.

Bibliographic references:
• Tarasow, F. (2009). La educación en línea en tiempos de pandemia [Online education in times of pandemic]. Proyecto Educación y Nuevas Tecnologías. Retrieved from http://www.pent.org.ar/fabiotarasow/educacion-linea-tiempos-pandemia
• Villafuerte, P. E. (2020). Educación en tiempos de pandemia: COVID-19 y equidad en el aprendizaje [Education in a Time of Pandemic: COVID-19 and Learning Equity]. Observatorio De Innovación Educativa. Retrieved from https://observatorio.tec.mx/edu-news/educacion-en-tiempos-de-pandemia-covid19