Imagine indulging in a vibrant debate with people from all over the world. However, instead of being in a brick-and-mortar classroom setting, imagine yourself sitting in the comfort of your own home while doing so. Thanks to the growing technology and use of internet, it has now become possible to learn anything from biology to music online. An online classroom is a virtual classroom where teachers interact with students through means of synchronous technologies like live-streaming videos or asynchronous methods like chat rooms or message boards.
Online learning through means of virtual classrooms is a growing trend with an increasing number of people around the globe mainly because of lack of access to traditional schools and colleges. Millions of students wishing to learn have turned to education in the form of online classrooms wherein they can procure knowledge from the comfort of their home. The basic concept of online classrooms is to provide students with education at their doorstep.
Online classrooms operate in two ways: synchronous and asynchronous instruction. In synchronous method, the teacher and students are logged into the virtual learning environment at the same time. Web conferencing, video conferencing, live streaming, and web-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are some of the synchronous means which online classroom software applications employ to facilitate communication. Additionally, teachers may also make use of message boards and chat rooms to encourage discussion and dialogue. Online classrooms use virtual ‘whiteboard’ on the screen where the students and teachers work on problems, do activities, demonstrate solutions and conduct assessments.
There are various reasons as to why one may opt for online learning through means of an online classroom. Firstly, it allows the student to avoid the hassles of travelling and report for a class;Bad weather, traffic cannot stop them from learning.Secondly, the variety of subjects and programs to choose from is much greater than that in conventional schools and colleges. Also, being in a ‘virtual’ classroom enables students who are afraid of their arguments being picked apart to speak up.Another noteworthy aspect of online classroom is the global connectivity that it offers between students of different cultures and backgrounds.
In an online classroom, people from across the globe, people with diverse views and beliefs come together to discuss the same topic but with different perspectives. Also, online classrooms follow a more structured plan which saves time and energy. In an online classroom, attendance is given only when the student has actively participated in the session’s discussions, thus encouraging the student to contribute in class.
However, one major drawback of online classrooms is the lack of face-to-face interaction between students and the teacher or amongst students. The energy of a live classroom cannot be matched by a virtual, online classroom where there are physical barriers. It restricts the learners to thinking while the quality of emotion is missing. The lack of actual social interaction may impede the individual’s personality, but that is a risk that most internet- savvy people face today.
At the end of the day, it is up to the student to find out what works best for him/her and will help him/her achieve scholastic needs and other goals.
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