Global and Lokal Distance Education - GLOKALde April 2020, ISSN 2148-7278
Volume: 6 Number: 1, Article 2
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID -19: WILL ONLINE LEARNING BE THE GAMECHANGER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION?
COVID -19 has been the game changing phenomenon for the world. Online Learning is being claimed as the new normal learning when the world is struggling to come to terms with unprecedented catastrophe- Pandemic due to COVID-19 Online learning which is a version of distance education is based on the premise that education should be all inclusive and lifelong. It believes in the values of equity, access and quality. Digital initiatives by Ministry of Human and Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and University Grant Commission (UGC) were gaining acceptance slowly and steadily before the pandemic times. There had been many initiatives of digital education by Government of India like SWAYAM, SWAYAMPrabha, E-PG Pathshala, Shodh-Ganga, Shodh-Sindhu. In last few years the connectivity across India has increased tremendously. The initiation of Indian version of MOOCs -SWAYAM and its pan -India reach was possible due to increases internet penetration brought in by affordable mobile data plans. In the COVID -19 times, when the world came to stand still, the cities were shut and so were educational institutions. The educational processes also got stalled-like curriculum transaction, assessment, promotions to next grades. The emergency response to this Covid -19 situation was switching to the online way of teaching and learning in COVID -19 times, which is replication of conventional face to face teaching through virtual conferencing tools like ZOOM. This ZOOM boom was evident with more players coming like GOOGLE Meet, Jitsi and Microsoft TEAM. In this paper the challenges in online learning and some ways of address the same are discussed