Education Polemic During the Pandemic: Can Online Learning be the New Normal?

The education sector is one of the sectors that are seriously affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classroom learning is replaced by online learning, which requires educational practitioners to adopt new methods quickly. Online lectures become mandatory for students and lecturers to carry out education in the midst of a pandemic. The world of education was completely surprised, and most facilities to support online learning system are not ready.

Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta has the facilities to support online learning with the development of the My Klass platform that started in 2016. But in a pandemic situation, the advantages and disadvantages are more impactful for its users. As such, a question arises: how effective is the online learning at UMY? Endro Dwi Hatmanto, S.Pd., M.A., Ph. D, a lecturer at UMY English Education faculty said that measuring the effectiveness of online learning can be done by conducting a survey directly to the user, which has been done by UMY with gathering data from over 50 percent of students who responded positively to online learning activities, and less than 50 percent of the students dissatisfied.

“Even though there are still complaints from students because indeed we are suddenly required to study fully online, previously our classes consist of 60 percent face to face meetings and 40 percent online class. The main problem that was expressed by students was that some lecturers gave too many assignments, which, after we explored, turned out to from lecturers who had never participated in a SPADA (Online Learning System) grant that was implemented by the UMY Educational Development Institute,” Endro said when contacted by telephone.

As such, it is evident that the problem is also felt by lecturers who are required to be creative and fully understand how the online lectures work. Even though, as Endro said,  UMY has provided facilities to carry out online lectures, but it fully depends on how the lecturer used it.

“The learning management system used by UMY is actually very complete, lecturers can upload various materials into MyKlass such as powerpoint presentations, links from the internet, and also insert instructional videos. We have encouraged the lecturers to use SPADA even from before the pandemic. Ideally, 50 percent of lecturers have followed it, so hopefully this situation can make lecturers aware of the importance of studying online lectures,” he continued.

The losses incurred due to the pandemic are indeed very many, and have been felt throughout the community. Even so, Endro revealed there are sides that can be taken as valuable lessons, especially in the world of education, which could have made online lectures the new normal after the pandemic.

“The pandemic had such a big impact, but we can see it from a positive point of view. Paper writer can and want to teach online through platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, My Klass and so on, and the students are willing to participate in online learning. Later, online learning will become a new habit (New Normal) to be applied in Indonesia, and UMY is ready with the facilities it has,” Endro concluded. (Hbb)

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