Since Covid-19 became a global pandemic, online assignments have become one of the convenient tools for continuing educational practices. As accessing the traditional physical spaces of learning became difficult, educators have preferred this unconventional teaching mode.
Although the concept is much older than the pandemic, they are so widespread and commonplace after it that they have become intrinsically connected to our understanding of the education system now.
There are simultaneous benefits and limitations of online assignments. Research has been done on the motivational effects of online assignments on students and the body of research continues to grow. These researches provide us with completely new perspectives on online teaching. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and constraints of online assignments.
Why online assignments?
Educational institutes are bound to function within a time limit. To occupy students with their learning practices assignments are essential. With the changing pace of time, online learning became crucial to distance learning. In 2020, Covid-19 became a global pandemic.
As social distancing became a norm, educational institutes had to be closed down. But this unusual problem hardly required an unusual solution. The concept of online learning was already pretty popular with distance learners who couldn’t attend their educational institutes physically. Many world-class universities were providing online courses for distance and foreign learners.
This practice was now being incorporated into regular courses as well. Instead of being present physically at the institute, students had to attend online classes and submit online assignments now. During the time of lockdown, this way of learning became so convenient that many institutes stuck to the hybrid mode of learning (comprising both online and offline classes) even after the lockdown was legally lifted.
Online assignments are the tasks given to students via the internet to be submitted through the same medium. These assignments may include attending online video conferences or seminars and presenting papers online. Online tests and quizzes can be conducted through various virtual tools. Discussion boards and forums can be created in a virtual platform for students’ participation. Email, Google Classroom, and Edmodo are some of the platforms to assign tasks online to students.
There are several benefits and criticisms of online assignments. Now let us take a brief look into them.
What are the benefits of online assignments?
Online assignments have many benefits for students and teachers alike.
- Online assignments are very effective when the physical distance becomes a constraint for the participants. Since one does not need to travel, online learning provides students with a greater scope of attending lectures in foreign or distant academic institutes.
- It has a wider reach since participants from various parts of the world can take part in the assignments. Also, many people can be accommodated in the online platforms. Hence, space never becomes an issue.
- Online assignments can be submitted through certain online platforms that consist of plagiarism checkers. Hence, it becomes much easier for students to maintain the originality of their work.
Criticisms of Online Assignments
Despite its efficacy in hard times such as the pandemic, the practice of giving online assignments in academic institutes has been criticised by many. Several educators have commented that the online mode of learning is inadequate compared to the offline mode. Body language is an important part of effective communication and the online mode of learning completely lacks that.
Moreover, online assignments require advanced gadgets which are still unaffordable for a huge population of students across the globe. Hence, it can become a constraint instead of a catalyst for the spread of education.
Despite its limitation, it is undeniable that online assignments have been a useful way of continuing academic activities during the pandemic and other above-mentioned situations. As much as it might prevent effective communication, students with social anxiety often find online assignments helpful for their better academic performance.