Higher education has transformed dramatically throughout the world over the past fifteen months making a paradigm shift from classroom-based teaching to online, remote teaching and learning. Pertinent to mention that the pandemic affected as many as 1.6 billion learners in more than 200 countries impacting more than 94% of the world’s student population besides bringing far-reaching changes in our teaching-learning methods(WEF, 2021).Countries that were prompt enough to withstand this tidal wave of disruption, transition and adapt themselves to the newly evolving system were the ones to emerge successful in continuing with their teaching and learning without any cessation whereas those that were reluctant to the new order are still struggling to find ways and means of reaching out to their students in an effective, acceptable and productive manner. We live in an age of discontinuity and more and more organizations face a dynamic and changing environment that in turn requiresthem to adapt. As stated by Peter Drucker “we face an age of discontinuity in a world economy and technology. We might succeed in making it an age of great economic growth as well. But one thing that is certain so far is that it will be a period of change.” Therefore, a renewed understanding of our teaching and learning is needed.
No doubt there is no substitute for face-to-face classroom teaching, owing to the enormous positive impact of body language, facial expressions, personal care, individual attention, better connectivity, one-to-one interaction, on-the-spot questioning and re-questioning, unlearning and relearning that it envisages but when there is no other option but to change the medium of instruction and switch over to online platforms as a fall-out of the pandemic and resultant lockdown, we need to transition fast andembrace the change as quickly as possible along with all its features lest we shall be left behind in our march towards knowledge acquisition, progress and development and nobody in the world will wait for us. Albert Einstein has said that the measure of intelligence is the ability to change and according to Clayton “if we hope to stay competitive-academically, economically and technologically-we need to rethink our understanding of intelligence, re-evaluate our educational systems and reinvigorate our commitment to learning.” So rather than brooding over the pangs and qualms of online teaching we need to scramble ourselves up and adopt the change with open arms at least till we are able to switch back to offline classroom teaching in full swing.
A survey conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum from October 23 to November 6, 2020among more than 27,500 online adults under the age of 75 in 29 countriesrevealed that seven in ten adults globally (72%) are of the opinion that, five years from now, higher education in their country will be conducted online at least as much as in person. On an average, across the 29 countries, just over half (53%) agreed that in-person higher education is worth its cost versus about one-third (36%) who to the utter surprise of many readers disagreed (IPSOS, 2020). So the notion that in-person education is always the best does not necessarily reflect a majority opinion. As per this survey the majority of respondents think that the split between online and in-person learning witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic is here to stay. One in four adults surveyed (23%) believed that higher education will move mostly online, while around half (49%) thought that it will be split between in-person and online. Only 29% respondents were of the opinion that it will be delivered only or mostly in-person. Therefore, even in the year 2025, higher education will in all likelihood be a hybrid of in-person and online learning, according to the latest Ipsos survey mentioned above.