By Iylia Marsya Iskandar
If you search for the “online education” tag on Twitter, you will find a multitude of tweets by university students expressing mental fatigue, academic burnout and homework overload during the pandemic.
As teaching and learning went online, students shared that they were spending endless hours of screen time a day, including on weekends.
With the added screen time involving classes, discussions, class exercises and assignments, students have had less social interaction with their family members and peers.
As social creatures, this is a large contribution to the mental fatigue students are facing.
On-screen interaction just does not have the same effects as in-person interaction.
Attending online lectures is furthermore described as listening to a podcast because it lacks the classroom environment.
Lecturers have also been giving more class exercises to ensure students receive ample guidance and materials to understand the syllabus.
In pre-pandemic days, lecturers could conduct in-class activities but virtual learning has limited them to only giving written exercises.
If a student registers more than five classes in one semester and all classes require at least three assignments each, he will have to complete 15 assignments in the 14-week semester.
This brings about the question – is excessive workload effective in ensuring quality education?
Even though one could argue the need for time management, the increased class exercises, recorded presentations and night class replacements have contributed to the fatigue among university students who have had three semesters of virtual learning.
Even as universities have reopened in stages starting 15 October, it is prudent for these institutions to standardise academic workloads and come up with a comprehensive plan that will lessen the burden of both lecturers and students to nurture the foundation of an educated generation and to ensure no students are left behind.
Education at all levels should generate experiences to be enjoyed, and not to be endured.***
(This article by Iylia Marsya Iskandar has been published in StarEdu page of The Star today, 31 October 2021)
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