Paul L. Caron

Friday, October 22, 2021

Some Thoughts On The Corona Semester

Shivangi Gangwar (Jindal Global; Google Scholar), Some Thoughts on the Corona Semester, 65 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

The COVID-19 pandemic presented educators across the world with a unique set of challenges. In this Article, I reflect on my experience of transitioning to the online medium mid-semester without much preparation. I compare the vastly dissimilar experiences of conducting classes “physically” and remotely, highlighting the difficulties I experienced in translating, to the online realm, the pedagogical methods I usually employed while teaching Contract law to first-year students.

The Way Forward
The coming semesters will likely continue to be in online mode, at least for the foreseeable future, as the pandemic remains unabated, and this time we will be in a better position to tackle the challenges. The main test for universities and instructors is how to adapt traditional teaching to the online medium. Conversations with students regarding their experiences of the online semester have raised certain salient points. Whatever system we come up with, a premium must be placed on student interaction and engagement, since most students find it difficult to stay focused during online classes or even motivated to attend them in the first place. We also need to reconsider mid-semester or final exams as methods used to gauge student knowledge. When the decision to do away with final exams for this semester was taken, one student commented that he could finally enjoy classes and learn in a relaxed environment, since he no longer felt the exam pressure. All these deliberations must keep in mind the socio-economic status of the students in a country where electricity supply and reliable internet connection is not to be taken for granted.

I see the past semester as a missed opportunity where I, and so many others, simply took our existing methods of teaching and translocated it to the online realm. Instead, with proper training and planning, we could have put innovative pedagogical systems in place to maximize learning opportunities for the students. I hope that, with a semester’s worth experience of online classes, we can design a lesson and assessment plan which will utilize the online system to its fullest potential.

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