Virtual reality and clash of expectations

First-year college students have begun to lament online classes for a variety of reasons: from boredom to lack of interactions, exposure, and co-curricular activities.

It has been almost a year since Anshika Singh, a resident of Ghaziabad, enrolled at Delhi University (DU) for not graduating. However, with online classes still the norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult for him to measure the operation of the university or access campus facilities.

For several freshmen like Ms. Singh, who will be taking exams in the second semester next month, the lack of interaction with teachers and classmates, without the computer screen, has meant that the “college life” they expected was in dissonance with reality.

Ms Singh, a student at Miranda House, said: “After the meetings, we thought we would go out, explore an independent life that offers DU and meet people who come from different parts of the country. But we missed the opportunity. exposure offered by DU, including extracurricular activities, is also why you want to join the university. But because of the pandemic, interactions were restricted. ”

The BA (Program) student added: “Sometimes attending online classes makes you want to listen to podcasts. Interaction with teachers is also restricted and you just don’t get the exposure you expected. For many, mental health problems also increase. When there is interaction, you can learn things that are not present online. We don’t even have direct interaction with the administration. The experience by which I joined Miranda House is still unclear to me. Even for teachers, this is a completely new scenario. ”

Attending online classes was not the same as the “human connection” you might expect on campus, others added.

Prathit Singh, a Political Science student at Ramjas College, said: “When you join a DU North Campus you have expectations. Initially, I adapted to the life of online classes, but eventually the enthusiasm disappeared. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on online conferencing. Although I was able to make a few friends and meet them online, the human connection is missing. I’m missing something very important. “

It was more stressful during the second wave attack. “During the second wave, it was even more stressful when the teachers were also feeling bad. Everything around us was baffled and little by little the pace of the classes was also slowing down as several students and teachers were infected. The motivation escapes slightly, but at the moment we have no alternative “, said the Kolkata resident.

Suffocated dreams

Dhruv Garg, a student at Kirori Mal Col, said the current batch was “extremely unfortunate” due to reduced dreams of independence and self-discovery.lege (KMC) said: “To have good ones you have to go out and college is essentially the first time people travel and live alone. That’s something we missed. I’ve been able to make friends online, but for a lot of people it is difficult “.

“Last week I met some of my friends online for the first time and I didn’t really find it overwhelming. It was pretty normal. I think the transition from the internet to the offline will be good for me, ”said Garg, an economics student.

University professors also said the current teaching-learning structure, introduced due to the ongoing pandemic, had a negative impact on students.

Practical obstacles

Tanvir Aeijaz, a professor at Ramjas College, said: “Students have had an academic and social impact. Academically to theThere are so many things we do in the classroom, such as impromptu discussions in online classes. The liveliness and experience of the classroom are not there. That makes a big difference. Most students often do not have their videos activated for various reasons, which also makes it difficult for the teacher to know if the student is even present.

There are multiple obstacles, he said. “Communication is distorted online. The university is a space that once students enter, they are in a different mental space and there is some purpose. Online classes lack academic charm. Teaching-learning in a structured environment is not there and if this ecology is lacking, the factors that determine learning also change. Online students are becoming impoverished in terms of learning and knowledge and it is a huge loss for them, ”Aeijaz said.

Dystopian reality

Speaking of a “dystopian reality” currently experienced by teachers and students, the St. Stephens College, Nandita Narain, said: “There is no sense of community, class or university. It is not even a pale shadow of what is really experienced in a college, mainly one of the In this virtual reality, most people don’t even turn on their videos, so they don’t even know it.with whom they speak. “” It remains to be seen how the present lot will be dealt with in the second year, as the foundation of the first year will be unstable, “lamented Mrs. Narain.

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