Online teaching's tough, but fun nonetheless
Faculty Speak: Online learning takes a getting used to. Our faculty share their online teaching experience. Our faculty in focus this time is Sirish Kumar Gouda, a doctoral candidate at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
He teaches Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
How has your online teaching experience been so far?
This is completely new for me as I haven’t taught online before. The initial first takes were very difficult as I had to cope with the flow of my thoughts while I looked into the camera to deliver my lecture. However, within an hour, I got into the flow and thoroughly enjoyed it. This was the technical side, on the subject side, I had no problems. It was nice trying to come up with the content for the course.
Do share with us how long you have been into online teaching.
As mentioned, this is very new for me, however, I have always enjoyed teaching. In fact, for my doctoral I have taken up teaching assignments and taught several MBA preparatory courses. I have taught for about 60 to 70 hours, and that gave me the confidence you venture into and explore online teaching.
What is the one thing that you absolutely love about online teaching?
In classroom teaching, student discussion has an impact on the course of the session. In online learning, one can deliver the lecture in a structured manner – this can actually be seen as a pro or a con. If one prepares for their sessions, it comes out very well in an online session.
As a faculty did you face any difficulties getting accustomed to the online medium? And how did you overcome them?
I think for me, the difficulty arose in the subject that I picked. I noticed that the prescribed text book listed out topics randomly. The topic classification was not contextual. I discovered this mid-preparation, so I had to prepare my own content and bring out a certain topic flow and a logical context. I managed that by including real world examples related to each topic.
What are the benefits of online teaching for faculty members like you?
There are a couple of benefits like control, flexibility and reach.
The concept of control – in a classroom session, there is a possibility to overshoot one’s schedule. Let’s say you have allotted certain hours for a topic, however, in actual, discussions, interactions can lead to an over up spending more hours on a certain topic.
In an online session, you have full control of how you want to break-up a topic, how much time you want to spend on it and stick to that plan.
Flexibility – In online learning you have the flexibility to take a lecture for extended period of time. For instance, if you are in flow and want to complete recording a certain topic, you can go at it for 4-5 hours at a stretch. The session can then be made into capsules of 20 or so minutes.
This isn’t a feasibility in a classroom session as students may get bored and a class cannot be extended for long durations.
It is a win-win for the faculty and the students, as faculty can decide their schedule for recording and students can take time to look up the sessions at their convenience.
Reach – In classroom learning, there is always a physical constraint, even an auditorium can hold 400-500 students. However, in online learning there is no limit.
On a national level, how do you think online learning can contribute to the education system?
As I mentioned earlier, reach is one of the most important things. Physical classrooms have several constraints, from infrastructure, to scheduling classes at a certain time, etc. All of this is negated in a virtual classroom. In the future, how education is handled is going to change. While you cannot replace this will be an additional or supplement to the existing classroom learning.
Could you share your most memorable online teaching experience – an instance that has stayed with you?
I do recall one such instance. It happened when I was covering “Inventory” topic, I think. While delivering the lecture I cited an example that came to mind right at that moment. It was prefect, I hadn’t prepared that bit. However, it came out well, thinking on my feet. It sort of sums up my teaching experience, I was comfortable and it felt natural to be talking into the camera. In reaching a comfort level, with the medium I was able to give a spontaneous example.
Overall, my online teaching experience has been fun, it is no doubt hard, at least in the beginning, but it has been fun all throughout.