During the pandemic, the requirement for greater cyber security in academia was highlighted by online and hybrid learning. To address this, UGC published a 'Digital Hygiene' handbook with advice for teachers on how to keep virtual classrooms safe. This handbook will assist students and teachers in remote areas who have been exposed to digital learning for the first time. The manual covers topics such as safe cyberspace practises and instructors' new roles in the use of digital tools. These protocols aim to broaden teachers' mentoring roles.
Exposure to EdTech learning and virtual classrooms increased the difficulty for teachers, who now have to handle cyber security in addition to teaching.
According to Sudharshan Mishra, head, Department of Education, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, Odisha, the UGC handbook has a set of regulations on what to do and what not to do, which will assist teachers in making better use of their allotted teaching hours. "The protocols have introduced one such sharp qualitative teaching option for reaching learning goals," he explains. Aside from that, instructors' roles and teaching styles have been redefined and expanded, making us aware of safe online pathways for planning and delivering a lesson plan in a tech-savvy manner.
Mishra went on to say that in order to keep students involved in the virtual classroom, teachers keep track of all questions or concerns and reply to all conversations, which are mostly done in real time.
"Aside from responding to questions asked in discussion forums, chat rooms, films, and other forms of the virtual classroom, professors must also be available to students after class hours," he argues.
Compliance is not so difficult.
Teachers at Delhi University (DU) and its affiliated colleges found it simpler to adjust to online lessons than those in rural areas or the interiors. "Even though we have not received any official circular regarding protocols to be followed for online classes," says Priyanka Choudhary, Assistant Professor, Motilal Nehru College, DU, "we conducted the sessions without hassle because we had a basic understanding of technology and the threats associated with it." In online classrooms, most teachers learned how to create presentations and use interactive approaches. She adds that in the second phase, online classes were held using digital resources such as pen tablets and the Google Classroom integrated presentation aid Haiku Deck.
Issues and protocols
In the early days of the epidemic,teaching in an online mode proved difficult for teachers in rural schools.
They faced their own set of challenges in terms of adhering to protocols that were not well established at the time.
“We began online classes through video recording on a specified topic and
teaching the information," Antara Mitra, Biology Post Graduate Teacher (PGT) at Notre Dame Academy in Patna, Bihar, states.
We quickly realised that this mode of instruction was insufficient to inspire
student discussion and instill a habit of question probing."
She noted that, as a result of the handbook's instructions, the problem of a lack of seriousness in following the protocols of an online session of a planned class will
be effectively addressed from now on.