Online Classes — A Substitute or a Snag?

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Photo: Azizur Rahman Anik, The Business Standard

O P I N I O N – E D U C A T I O N

Anindita Bose

The ongoing pandemic has left no stones unturned to disrupt our daily lives. The alarm clock, the morning cup of coffee — all are somewhere put to rest. Likewise, it has somehow drugged our determination and our ambition to be put to sleep. However, after a long break, educational institutions decided to resume classes online, but there lies an underlying question: how much beneficial has the classes been?

It’s a given fact that online semester is all but a substitute to keep up with our education. Numerous disrupting factors are hindering our way to properly understand a chapter. Starting from internet connection to our very own laziness to attend a class, the list is endless. Furthermore, not everyone is privileged enough to be bestowed with smart devices and 24/7 uninterrupted internet access. In a recent survey conducted by Shout, a magazine of The Daily Star, a total number of 338 students from both public and private universities shared their experience with online semester. Nafiz Imran, one of the participants and a student of DU, expressed how difficult it is to get proper internet connection in rural areas, and the mobile data packages being pricey makes it tough for him and his peers to attend the classes online.

Thankfully, most institutions upload recorded live classes so that some of us can binge watch everything in a go. Ironically, that harmed us even more. Our screen time dramatically increased; our sleep cycle perfectly got damaged; our eyesight has probably deteriorated. Most of us are now reliant on bluelight filters as the last resort to save our eyesight. Jessica Oyoque and Courtney Brown, counsellors of Michigan State University Counseling and Psychiatry department, stated:

“(Students) may experience increased fatigue, headache, lack of motivation, avoidance/procrastination, ineffective time management, feelings of isolation due to limited socialisation in-person, minimised awareness and understanding of others created by in-person dialogues.”

Evidently, students who need to take online exams are having it worse. Students’ brain and eyesight get jiggled, as they need to prepare for midterms or finals in a short span of time, while being swamped with assignments. Yes, it’s true that students could have easily avoided this, had they studied from the beginning of the semester. However, it goes without saying that a large number of students won’t really study until and unless there is a push, namely, assignments and exams.

According to a BBC article, it is harder for human brains to process information from a screen than textbooks. That is to say, “Zoom fatigue is real.” Additionally, the anxiety attacks; the dreading fear of not ending up with good marks; the constant feeling of not being good enough; the uncertainty of career and dreams — hamper students’ mental health. That is why Oyoque and Brown from MSU’s Counselling and Psychiatrist department advises to practise “self-compassion”, “self-care”, and “forgiveness” for one’s own mental satisfaction.

On the contrary, it is also true that online semester keeps us occupied so that our mind doesn’t wander off. Our thoughts know no bounds and keep on running till we end up questioning our very existence — which often leads to depression. That being said, this is a question I often ask myself, “Are we studying to learn, or are we learning to merely get some good grades?” Until and unless we are over with the pandemic, let’s hope we can gather enough strength to overcome this and all the upcoming online semesters.


Anindita believes that you should procrastinate daily to give your brain a healthy lifestyle.


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