Utsav Jambusaria
on 03 February, 2014

The Evolution of Education

Education has come a long way. From sitting beneath the Shade of sacred banyan trees and reciting shlokas, to rote learning definitions with your head in your hands. From having to walk miles every morning to reach the only school around, to having multiple schools in your own neighbourhood to select from. From the humble beginnings of the Nalanda University to this world renowned, critically acclaimed, dream come true thing called Mumbai University.

Now that you're done laughing, time to get serious. While some (read all) may argue that the quality of education itself keeps degrading faster than Rahul Gandhi's pitiful reputation, one aspect has certainly improved by leaps and bounds. And that is convenience, or comfort. Well, obviously. If we'd be told to sit under banyan trees reading TechMax, chances are that we'd require truckloads of Moov and a nice massage for our posterior regions within half an hour. Kids these days, I tell you.

For good reason, though. The majority of the crowd would find it impossible to concentrate if they're not comfortable. Of course, feeling overly comfortable generally results in people yawning away to glory but let's not concentrate on that. It's a very human thing.

Based on (but not only on) the fact that one is most comfortable at home, educationists have come up with a relatively unexplored concept of Online Learning. I say unexplored, because even though it's been around for a while, we as students are yet to really...uhh... Explore it.

It basically involves not having to step outside the comforts of your home as it turns your room into a classroom. Bench, actually. And you don't even have to share it with anyone. All you need to do, is log in to your computer and there you'll have a lecture being conducted on your screen. It doesn't have to be restricted to watching a YouTube do it yourself video or a tutorial, it can be exactly akin to a classroom.

Students from all over the globe can log in at the same time as you, attending the very lecture. Even the lecturer himself is conducting the lecture in real time. Students can discuss amongst themselves via messages (voice or text), and they can even get their doubts across to the lecturer via the same medium.

While we don't see it replacing the conventional model of teaching, it has many things working in its favour. The most obvious one being it's ability to bridge the physical distance issue. Even though we have teachers pretty much everywhere these days, there is nothing like learning from the best. And as we all know, we seldom find them in MU colleges*. But if we could sit at home and learn physics from say, Stephan Hawking... Wouldn't that be cool?

Sitting in your pajamas, munching on popcorn (with no bhukkad "friend" to steal it around) and learning physics. This should be every geek's wet dream. Fortunately or unfortunately, we're not quite there yet.

But we are at least at a stage where it's possible, and being implemented too. I wouldn't know where, but it's surely there. For the money conscious, it'll be cheap too. Cheaper than travelling abroad to study at least. That makes three- convenient, cheap, and getting access to the best teachers no matter how far they physically are from you. We should really be funding this already.

Like with every new concept, people will take a while to accept the idea and make full use of it. Until then, we'll just have to entertain ourselves writing letters to the HoD complaining about how the fans and ACs never work when we need them to. And that they should allow us having popcorn in class. Yep, then we'd forgive them anything. 

*No offense, dearest teachers but we can all do better, can't we?

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Utsav Jambusaria

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