E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...

 
E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE
OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST
LOCKDOWN DUE TO COVID-19
PANDEMIC

Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues and
Constraints of Students

Authors:

Sharique Hassan Manazir
Rubina
Madhav Govind

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
Digital Inclusion Research Forum (DIRF) is an India based
                          research forum focused around multidisciplinary research
                          on Digital Inclusion and its impact over society. Following
                          the footsteps of Science and Democracy Network (Harvard
                          University), it includes distinguished researchers and policy
                          practitioners from the field of Science Technology and
                          Society (STS) across the globe who meet yearly to share
                          their research work and global research trend. DIRF was
                          founded by Sharique Hassan Manazir and Rubina Akhtar.

                          Sharique is an STS Scholar and founder of Digital Inclusion
                          Research Forum (DIRF). He is former PhD Candidate of
                          Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU and is currently
                          posted as Deputy Registrar at Al Karim University, Katihar
                          (Bihar-India). He is also a member of the Science and
                          Democracy Network at Harvard University.

                          Email Id: Shmanazir@gmail.com

Sharique Hassan Manazir

                          Rubina is a Research Scholar at Centre for Studies in
                          Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is co-
                          founder of Digital Inclusion Research Forum (DIRF) and
                          her research focus has been Gender, Caste and Exclusion
                          Studies.

                          Email Id: rubinaakhtar1612@gmail.com

       Rubina

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP) at School of
                           Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi)
                           is one of the oldest centres dedicated to the field of Science
                           Technology and Society (STS) studies in the Indian
                           subcontinent. The centre is ranked consistently among top
                           Science Policy Think Tank worldwide yearly and has been
                           a pioneer in academic research in the field of STS.

                           Professor Madhav Govind is the Chairperson of Centre for
                           Studies in Science Policy, School of Social Sciences at
                           Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He is also
                           Director of UGC-Human Resource Development Cell at
                           JNU, New Delhi. Formerly he was Dean - Department of
                           Student’s Welfare at JNU, New Delhi.
Prof (Dr.) Madhav Govind

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak leads to worldwide closure of institutes of higher education and India
was no exception. Thus, most public and private universities in India lately initiated e-learning for their
students.
While the Digital Divide has been concerning area for online learning pedagogy since access to the
internet might not be uniform in different demographic locations in the country, but Digital Exclusion is
turning out to be a bigger challenge. Unlike Digital Divide which considers internet and device
accessibility only as of the major barrier for equal access to the digital ecosystem, Digital Exclusion
deals with sociological, economical, gender-based physical as well as the mental aspect of human life as
an important driver to ensure equal access to the digital ecosystem. (Manazir, 2019)
As social exclusion touches upon every aspect of the public sphere, similarly digital exclusion touches
upon every aspect of the digital sphere and e-learning through video conferencing is no exception. e-
learning pedagogy has its own fair share of challenges since proximity between teacher and student does
not remain so as compared to conventional learning pedagogy.
As far as e-learning is concerned, the additional aspect of digital public sphere brings in issues like device
accessibility and affordability for students, male and female student’s comfort level in participating
during video conferencing class, separate study space for the student at their home location to concentrate
over their class, gender disparity in internet and internet-based device accessibility for female students,
the online platform being used and its own issues, medium of instruction during e-learning and language
being used by the online platform itself etc. These challenges become more complex when we take into
consideration the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous lockdown under which every student and
teacher of any gender must remain inside their living space regularly. Moreover, as far as female students
in India (especially higher education) are concerned issues like technological literacy, socio-cultural
norms and gender bias lead to additional gender-based digital exclusion.
Thus, it considers online peer learning, training, platform and instructor language, place of learning,
self-motivation, the internet as well as device availability and affordability, the physical and mental
health of the user too as important indicators.
This becomes more important from the perspective of nationwide lockdown in India since both students
and teachers had to undergo additional mental and physical stress because of remaining confined inside
their living spaces continuously, away from their regular routine lifestyle.

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY

To better understand issues and constraints of students related to e-learning we conducted this study so
that we can understand how to make e-learning more successful under the current situation and if an
ever-similar situation comes up in future. A research study-based policy guideline under present scenario
could be used nationwide or in specific areas which undergo lockdown for short and long duration in
future caused due to political turmoil, war, violence, riots, health hazards etc.

            THE STUDY

We conducted this study in two stages. In the first stage, we conducted depth interview to understand
the issues related with students as far as e-learning are concerned and based upon that we drafted our
survey. In the second stage, we conducted an online survey which was meant to be mobile friendly so
that more and more users who own smartphone can participate in it. We focused on university students
across the country where online classes have been initiated. We have kept the questions open-ended,
short and precise at various instances. We also used the 5-Point Likert scale too in a few questions to
gauge the attitude and affirmation of students who participated in the e-learning program being initiated
by their university. We conducted the survey for fifteen days online using the google-doc form and we
got a total 185 response from people of various gender from across the country.
The study focused upon students enrolled in
courses of higher education in universities
(public and private both) across the country. The
heat map shows the location of respondents from
across the country.

                                                          Figure 1: Heat map of respondent’s location from across the country

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & POLICY PROPOSAL

Before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic which forced most of the world to go under lockdown, e-
learning pedagogy was mostly seen as a supporting tool of learning for people of all ages. Institutions of
higher education in India too had to suddenly stop their classroom activities and many universities
focused towards e-learning pedagogy to continue their academic interaction with students.

Truth be told, unlike the previous circumstances, under current pandemic, planning and implementing a
successful e-learning pedagogy is a big challenge for all the stakeholders i.e university administration,
teachers, students and organizations providing e-learning infrastructural support.

Through this study, we found that around 1/3rd students do not have separate study space at their present
residence and around the same proportion of students do not have their own laptop. While almost all the
students who are participating in e-learning pedagogy during lockdown use the smartphone.

Unlike the preconceived notion about poor internet-based infrastructure condition in India, around 44%
students said that internet in their area is either good or very good while around 32% students said that
internet connection in their area is acceptable. Only around 23% of students said that internet
connectivity is either very poor or poor in their area.

Irrespective of government advisory regarding safety concerns related to Zoom platform, around 36%
students prefer to use the platform while the use of google based platforms like Google Hangout and
Google Meet is preferred by roughly 3% students.

While more than 75% of students stated Hindi as their mother tongue, but sadly not every internet-based
platform for e-learning incorporates Hindi as the medium of instruction over the digital platform. Thus,
the university administration should keep in mind this issue while designing their e-learning pedagogy.

Peer learning is an important aspect of classroom pedagogy, but under e-learning pedagogy more than
1/3rd students (both male and female) stated that they have never interacted with their classmates which
raises the question about barriers to peer learning.

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E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY IN INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA POST LOCKDOWN DUE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO - Research based Policy-Guidelines on Issues ...
Online chatroom for doubt clearance and issue-based discussion among students being administered by
a few of the student representative can be a useful tool for improving the peer learning beyond teacher-
student interaction-based e-learning.

Unlike the preconceived notion that students mostly female are not comfortable during an online
interaction with their teachers, we found that more than 3/4th of the students (both male and female)
reported being moderately, very or extremely comfortable.

Probably one of the most important findings of our research was about the student-faculty interaction
related to student’s mental and physical health. While teachers were found to be interaction uniformly
with students regarding academic issues, but around 50% of students reported that they never or rarely
had any interaction with their teachers about their mental and physical health.

E-Learning involves equal participation from all the stakeholders and just like university administration
should keep track about their teachers mental and physical health during the lockdown, teachers too
should keep track of their student’s mental and physical well-being.

Indeed, there remain various aspects associated with e-learning that might not be covered in this research
and that could be studied from multiple perspectives using various approaches, methodology and
statistical tools. We hope that our research will initiate a dialogue around the development and
continuation of e-learning pedagogy and its future keeping the student's issues and concern in mind.

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RESPONDENT’S PROFILE

                                  COURSE WISE RESPONDENT PROFILE
                              60.00%
Respondent's Population (%)

                              50.00%

                              40.00%

                              30.00%

                              20.00%

                              10.00%

                              0.00%
                                                                        COURSE

                                       Diploma    Graduation      Post Graduation      PhD      Post Doc

                                        Figure 2 :Student’s Profile (Gender; Age & Course Enrollment)

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RESPONDENT’S PROFILE

      70.00%
      60.00%
      50.00%
      40.00%
      30.00%
      20.00%
      10.00%
       0.00%

                                         Respondent (%)             Corona Cases (%)

                Figure 3: Respondent’s Location vis-à-vis Covid-19 confirm Cases (as on 25th of April 2019)

As shown in the above figure 2 and 3 most of our respondents were male (61%) while female and other
gender were 38% and 1% respectively. This should be seen in line with a lower enrollment of female in
higher education in India along with extremely low enrollment of people from another gender in higher
education. (Parmar & Modi, 2016) Another important aspect remains that youth in India face online
bullying on a large scale, which could be an important reason why not every student is comfortable with
clearly mentioning even their gender. (Shivashankar & Rajan, 2018)
Majority of students who participated in this study were enrolled in graduation, diploma and post-
graduation courses while the percentage of participants enrolled in PhD or Post-Doc courses was
extremely low. In states where COVID-19 confirm cases were more, we got less response (e.g.
Maharashtra) and in states where COVID-19 confirm cases were less, we got more response (e.g. Bihar).
In total students from 16 states/UT of India from all four corners of the country participated in the
research.

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

                                      35.00%
                                                                                        31.89%
                                      30.00%
         Respondents Population (%)

                                                                                                        27.03%
                                      25.00%

                                      20.00%                             17.30%                                        17.30%

                                      15.00%

                                      10.00%              6.49%

                                      5.00%

                                      0.00%

                                                      Very Poor      Poor      Acceptable       Good       Very Good

                                               Figure 4 : Internet condition available to students at their present location

Poor infrastructure support and internet connectivity have been one of the biggest hurdles in
implementation of successful e-learning pedagogy worldwide and especially in the Indian subcontinent.
(Mwakyusa & Mwakyusa, 2016; Fatma, 2013; Soni, 2015; Andersson, 2008)

But our study showed a different story where very few students who were participating in online classes
being organized by their respective universities faced very poor or poor internet connectivity as an issue.
Most of the students mentioned that internet connectivity is either very good, good or acceptable in the
area where they are residing during the lockdown.

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

                                                                             RESPONDENT WHO OWN LAPTOP
                                        30%
                                                                             RESPONDENT WHO DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN
                                                 70%
                                                                             LAPTOP

                        100.00%
        POPULATION(%)
        RESPONDENT'S

                        80.00%

                        60.00%

                        40.00%

                        20.00%

                         0.00%
                                                  Male                                          Female

                                            Separate Study Space               Own's A Laptop

                                  Figure 5: Device and Separate Study space availability for students

Separate study space and the internet-based device is a prerequisite for online learning of students during
lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic. While separate study space is a cognitive need of student
similarly separate internet-based device is a necessity. (Nortvig, Petersen, & Balle, 2018) Research has
shown that in India internet access is done more through the internet-based handheld device and less
through laptop/desktop computer. (NIELSEN, 2019) As far as online learning for students enrolled in
various courses at the institute of higher education, laptop/desktop becomes essential because the various
platform does not provide all the features in their mobile app version. (Ghirardini, 2011)

We found that only 60% of the male student has separate study space and laptop while around 80% of
the female student has their own laptop. It showed that male students prefer to access the internet more
through their handheld devices but how efficient it is, remains a question.

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

Around 40% of both male and female student who are taking online classes through their university
during lockdown does not have a separate study space which is a matter of concern as far as ease of
learning and success of e-learning pedagogy is concerned.

                                              90.00%
                Respondent's Population (%)

                                              80.00%
                                              70.00%
                                              60.00%
                                              50.00%
                                              40.00%
                                              30.00%
                                              20.00%
                                              10.00%
                                               0.00%

                                                                                 Figure 6: Students mother tongue

The medium of instruction during online learning is an important aspect of e-learning pedagogy just like
during classroom teaching. But since the internet-based platform for e-learning plays an important role
the language of the platform should be such that it could cater to the need of Indian students.

                                     60.00%
   Respondent's Population (%)

                                                                                                                                        49.19%
                                     50.00%
                                                                                                                                                 36.22%
                                     40.00%
                                     30.00%
                                     20.00%
                                     10.00%                                          2.16% 0.54% 1.62%             0.54%
                                                       2.16% 1.08% 2.70% 0.54% 1.08%                   0.54% 1.62%
                                              0.00%

                                                               Figure 7 : Student’s Preference for Online/Video Conferencing Platform

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

Majority of the students shown their preference for “Whatsapp” and “Zoom” platforms for video
conferencing. In fact, in all the preferred internet-based platform for online learning, as shown above,
there is not much provision for regional languages of India except few platforms which provide their
limited services in the Hindi language. Another issue with the internet-based platform for video
conferencing is the data security of its users.

Recently issues advisory by the government of India has clearly stated that it is unsafe to use Zoom
platform and truth be told many other similar platforms have the same concern. (Verma, 2020) Our study
shows that 36.22% of students prefer to use Zoom platform for video conferencing.

                           Figure 8: Students use of Digital Platform for Video Conferencing

As far as the use of video conferencing platform for e-learning is concerned percentage of male student
respondents who have never or rarely experienced it was more as compared to female student respondent.
This finding contrasts with previous researches which showed social taboo and privacy issues especially
from female participants in India are concerned. Overall, the percentage of students who have used video

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

the conferencing platform for e-learning always and very often was higher as compared with those
students who have never or rarely used it.

                                     Figure 9: Online Peer-Learning Process

For student’s learning under the classroom ecosystem, peer learning is a backbone beyond the student-
teacher learning process. (Watts, Malliris, & Billingham, 2015) The aspect of peer learning reduces
drastically under online mode and to compensate the same usually topic-based online discussion, doubt
clearance in chat rooms etc. methodology is used. Thus, the interaction of students with their classmates
not necessarily very close friends needs to be known. We found that more than one-fourth of students
never communicated with their classmates through or during the e-learning process which raises an
important question about the lack of online peer learning process and its overall consequences over
students learning.

                                                       \

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

                         Figure 10: Students comfort during online student-faculty interaction

Comfort level between student and teacher is a must for better understanding of any course in a classroom
setup and teachers communication skills aided by technological study aids play an important role in
making academic pedagogy more interesting. (Racheva, 2018)
Under e-learning mode, first, the eye contact between teacher and student goes missing and it becomes
tough to engage everyone during online classes through video conferencing. Further, many times
students, as well as teacher’s especially female, are not comfortable in participating in live video lecture
due to rising online crimes against women over the internet. There is always social taboo and societal
notion based upon student’s social circle which also acts as a barrier for female students participating
during live classes with other students from inside their home.
Unlike the preconceived notion that students are not comfortable during an online interaction with their
teachers, we found that more than 3/4th of the students (both male and female) reported being moderately,
very or extremely comfortable.

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RESEARCH FINDINGS

                            Figure 11: Student-Faculty Interaction for Academic Purpose

We got a mixed response from students upon their online interaction with their teachers related to
assignment and study material exchange i.e for academic purposes.

                            Figure 12: Student-Faculty Interaction for Academic Purpose

On the other hand, the most shocking aspect was the student’s response regarding their interaction with
their teachers related to their mental and physical health. There have been various research report related
to increased depression, anxiety, tension due to prolonged lockdown and its social, economic and
psychological aftereffects. Yet, more than 30% of students said that their faculty never asked them about
their mental and physical health. Any e-learning pedagogy cannot be successful if the participants are
not fully cooperating and that can happen only when both the students and teachers are physically and
mentally sound.

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11. Verma, S. (2020, 4 29). Indian govt advisory says avoid using Zoom: Why and what to do if
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Published By: Digital Inclusion Research Forum (DIRF)
Copyright © 2020 DIRF All rights reserved
This report is an outcome of the collaboration between Digital Inclusion Research Foundation (DIRF)
and Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi.

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