By Rommel Bong R. Fuertes Jr.
While the country has yet to regain normalcy in the education sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online applications and sites have helped Filipino students catch up with their lessons in the confines of their own homes.
These online apps have not just helped colleges and universities alone, but also companies and offices that have, for the meantime, refrained from physical meetings.
With the rise of these online platforms, interaction with colleagues and classmates can be made with just a snap of a finger.
With face-to-face classes still expected to be limited in low-risk COVID-19 areas, the best compromise students and teachers have lies in the power of online curriculum.
Modern innovations of the internet gave rise to applications and websites that allow students to learn even in remote areas.
In comes Zoom, a teleconference software used by teachers and professors to communicate their lessons through their students’ laptop, tablet and phone screens, wherever they may be.
The software supports high definition video sharing which explains why it’s one of the most used applications for colleges, universities and even office meetings alike.
A premium Zoom account can be purchased to accompany more participants in one room and for longer meeting lengths.
These accounts are usually purchased by schools or offices for their employees. Still, without a premium account, Zoom can be pretty useful.
Google— American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, has its own app “Meets” particularly for office meetings with participants being in different areas. However, it has also been one of the primary apps used to hold online classes.
Unlike Zoom, it uses minimal data or internet usage making it a more optional alternative for students using mobile load to attend classes.
Modular papers may be a chore for other students, but that’s where more online alternatives could be of big help.
Sites such as Blackboard and Canvas are used by universities and colleges due to their convenient feature of uploading module lessons and quizzes at a short time’s notice.
Schools such as UST, UE and FEU use these sites to help their students optimize their learning.
These applications serve as an important tool not just for the modern day students, but also for universities and their quest of relaying lessons. However, not all applications fit the bill.
The highly controversial Respondus Lockdown Browser has received complaints from students around the nation.
University of San Carlos for instance, has aired its dismay over the app which caused them several system failures.
USC’s student body Rise for Education Alliance posted on their Facebook page an appeal against the use of the Respondus Browser last March.
The main objective and feature of the browser is to avoid switching tabs while on an exam to prevent cheating. This locks the user on the browser, and only on the browser, until exams are finished.
However, the software allegedly caused several problems in the students’ personal computers.
“We understand that this is all in good faith, to avoid cheating and to uphold integrity. However, this might not have been the right way to relay to us. There are other alternatives that we can go for if you really do not want any possibility of cheating,” their statement read.
Still, however, one of the main problems of online learning isn’t just reliant on one application.
The scarcity of internet signal in provinces remains one of the biggest hardships students face daily to cope with the new normal of learning.
As of writing, the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia left that has not re-opened their schools for physical learning. And although President Rodrigo Duterte has approved limited face-to-face classes in a maximum of 120 public and private schools in areas deemed low-risk for COVID-19, the Department of Education has yet to release the list of schools that would participate in the pilot run.