How Is The Academia Coping Up During Coronavirus?

Covid shifting paradigm of academia

With 1.5 billion children stuck at home, COVID-19 is reshaping parents’ role as mentors for their little ones and ensuring that students and teachers are adapting to online learning tools. What are ways in which 2020 has reset our educational needs? Will the defense mechanisms adopted in the pandemic, last long enough to seep into the common practices of academia in the post-corona world?

Crux of the Matter

Education Technology Startups Booming
Startups dedicated to educational purposes are temporarily offering free classes to help offset the impact of school closures. Since BYJU’s announced free access to its app, the company experienced a 60% increase in its existing user base of 40 million users, as per 2019 data. It’s products range from interactive video lessons and live classes to quizzes and exam preparation.

Even before COVID-19, the global Ed-tech investments had reached $18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education was projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. Now the surge in usage of video-conferencing tools offered for virtual classrooms and e-learning software is shifting the paradigm of how academia worked pre-Covid and getting limelight for continued investment in this sector.

Pushing Academic Cycles And Postponing Placement Drives
The pandemic has added a delay in the examinations and announcement of results for exams like SAT and ACT that are conducted across the world. Internships and placements for half the suitable candidates have been stalled by companies ranging from Walt Disney to Yelp. 

Meanwhile, the integral medical examination assessed by Imperial College, London, put 280 sixth-year medicine undergraduates through two online exams last week. Following suit, College Board’s prestigious Advanced Placement (AP exam) for obtaining college credits is being conducted online this year. 

Simultaneously Tech giants like Facebook and Google have announced their decision to shift summer internship programs online rather than cancel them completely while Apple and Uber have adapted a model to onboard a section of the newcomers in office while training the rest digitally.

Online Classes To The Rescue Of Academia
After seamlessly shifting it’s flagship courses to digital formats, US’ ivy league Harvard is moving them online for students to study them easily from home. As per a teaching fellow, Anthony A., recorded lectures are being shared on their Canvas portal while discussion sections and writing labs are being hosted on Zoom.

Meanwhile applications such as Diksha and e-Pathshala are being promoted by India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development while planning distribution of lessons through radio and television. Microsoft Team and Google Classroom is being used to conduct classes and weekly tests by all schools across the nation.

Zoombombing Not a Cool Prank Anymore
Being one of the few apps that allows conducting a meeting with up to 100 people by default and 500, in case of a large meeting add-on, traffic on Zoom had increased to more than 200 million last month.

In an official press released to the US Department of Justice’s website last month, Federal prosecutors started issuing warnings to pranksters and hackers of the potential legal implications of Zoombombing i.e when someone invades a public or private meeting over the videoconferencing platform to broadcast pornography, harassment campaigns or any kind of content that causes disruption to the main issue being discussed.

In the interim, Zoom addressed the bombardment of complaints from the media and security experts over its lack of privacy by announcing its plan of action to upgrade the security of the portal with additional features.

  • Khan Academy is an American non-profit educational organization created in 2008 by Salman Khan, with the goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students. The organization produces short lessons in the form of videos. Its website also includes supplementary practice exercises and materials for educators. All resources are available for free to users of the website and app. Its content is available in more than 30 languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu.
  • TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an American media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. TED was conceived by Richard Saul Wurman in February 1984 as a conference; it has been held annually since 1990. TED conferences talk on many scientific, cultural, political, and academic topics.
  • Advaita Vedanta is a school of Hindu philosophy, and originally known as Puruṣavāda, it is a classic system of spiritual realization in Indian tradition. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta. India’s Teacher’s day is celebrated on Dr. Radhakrishnan’s birth anniversary.