Walk the talk
The government of Bangladesh decided to close all the educational institutions, like many other countries, as part of preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
Though the closure of educational institutions has been deemed as an effective strategy for breaking the transmission chain during the pandemic, it has also negative impact on students' academic progress, including learning interruptions, disruption to assessment, and complications due to the increased screen time on the various digital platforms. The pandemic has seriously affected the tertiary level students' social life, emotional health and financial condition by losing part-time jobs and in turn that will have far-fetched impact on their future education and career.
Eastern University motivated their students in using online platform to continue studies despite many difficulties. Initially it was very tough because the online system was completely new to us but gradually, we overcame that problem. To ease financial burdens, we gave special waivers on the students' tuition fees and other charges. Now, after gradual decline of the Covid infections, we have started blending the teaching-learning methodology that is the combination of online classes and on-campus classes to reduce the learning gap and to ensure health directives from the government.
It is certain that not only higher education but also our lifestyle has changed after the pandemic. After 18 months, shifting back to on-campus we are facing some problems. Students, who had grown used to online methods, are now a bit unsure to start in-person classes. They couldn't shake hands or hug their friends and have adda as they used to during pre-pandemic times. Due to lack of writing practice during online classes, they are now slow in writing and are mentally traumatized. Considering all these challenges, our university has started a blended approach and we are also providing them with psychosocial counseling.
Most students appraised the facility of having the recorded file of the class lecture that they could access several times after class. They also specified that they have grown familiar with many technological learning tools that they have used in their in-class and out-of-class study. Another significant "study-habit" that the students claimed to have achieved is the collaborative learning practice. This has been one of the positive milestones of the pandemic that they will continue to practice in the post-pandemic world.