Online and Offline Classes: From a University Professor’s Perspective
I didn’t expect a full year of working from home to completely change my approach towards work.
I’m an assistant professor of civil engineering at NIT Silchar, an institute of national importance in India.
Before the pandemic hit the country, my job was pretty interesting. The regular interactions with the students were an enriching experience. The discussions and exchange of ideas with them were intellectually stimulating.
The pandemic changed all that.
Compared to walking into a lecture hall packed with students, doing online classes feels like watching a cooking show to sate your hunger when you’re famished. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of seeing a hall full of appreciative faces at the end of a good lecture.
After a year and a half of working from home, my whole perspective towards my job has changed. This post recalls my experiences and how online classes have turned the teaching experience around for me.
The breeding ground of ideas is now just a lecture
Before the pandemic, classes used to be the highlight of my day.
I taught the same subject to different sections. When I walked in for the day’s lecture, I knew what I’d start with, but the direction in which the lecture would go totally depended on the students.
Sometimes, some students shared anecdotes which led me to explore areas of the subject I hadn’t fully prepared for. At other times, they asked questions that forced me to venture out of the guided path of the lecture outline.
The result was that even though the starting point was the same for all sections, where we ended up at the end of the lecture depended on how the students welcomed the new ideas for the day.
My lectures were always a two-way street, with me walking out of the classroom feeling like I’ve learned something new every day.
Online classes don’t have that option.
At the beginning of the semester, I tried my best to keep the lectures interactive with slides for discussion and…