Continuing to teach or pursue education during the coronavirus pandemic has been testing for both providers and students alike. Our own scholarship students at UWC Atlantic have migrated to online learning, something that the majority of universities and colleges have also had to resort to. Alumna Khushbu Mishra is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stetson University, Florida. She shared with us some of the challenges the current pandemic has created.
‘Coronavirus brought with it several challenges for both instructors and students. As instructors we had to prepare materials and adapt to the online teaching environment at very short notice and learn about the platforms that we could use. I spent several days doing extensive research on which platforms would be the most user-friendly and add less stress to my students. Depending on whether my students were in the same or different time zones, I designed course materials so that I could teach in both synchronous and asynchronous ways. For the latter, I had to dedicate extra hours to recording lectures that I uploaded online so students could access them at their own convenience. Conducting final exams with an online teaching model was another challenging part of the course. Nevertheless, I felt sorry for my students who had different professors using different platforms, meaning that they had no agency in choosing the platforms that would serve them the best. I had a few students that disappeared and dropped out of my courses. This has been quite common for my colleagues as well. Many students have had to juggle taking on family duties with attending classes. However, most of all, financial hardship has been the most challenging aspect for students.’
We are certain that students are grateful for the continued support that is being provided by educationalists like Khushbu and the efforts they have made to try and keep learning inclusive for all.