This Pandemic not only created a health crisis globally but has also affected our everyday lives and activities in so many ways. In a matter of weeks, coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, changed how students are educated around the globe. The Covid-19 situation laid bare how ill-prepared the education system is in many parts of the world when schools had to switch to remote learning platforms almost overnight.

People resist new ideas until they are forced to adapt the new ways. Online education was considered second rate to a traditional classroom setting until now. This situation has presented us with an opportunity to see how education and its delivery can change in the long term. This could lead to surprising innovations in the areas of teaching and learning. We adapt to newer technologies daily, look forward to the next innovation in phones, tablets and computers and engage in social media for a large part of our day. Why then would we resist learning using technology, using our phones and laptops and really fun online tools when it comes to education and learning?

The outbreak of Covid-19 has transformed our regular lives including education. Online education offers a great alternative to a brick and mortar traditional classroom setting. It helps students adapt to online technologies which is a need of daily professional life as you may be working as part of a global team or large teams spread across geographically which is a very likely scenario in today’s professional world. This situation will prompt all stakeholders to look at virtual synchronous and asynchronous education seriously to answer the question – does it deliver what it needs to? Faculty worldwide will be prompted to think how best to use technology to deliver the same student learning outcomes much more effectively.

International students can start/continue with their programs online as well. If the students are waiting for their programs to start later this year, this is a tremendous opportunity to still keep building on various aspects that will help build your career. Students can reach out to professionals in their areas of interest and get to know more about their potential career paths and skill-set required to excel in that space. Even though it is a busier time for everyone trying to juggle professional and personal responsibilities and challenges this situation brings on, if you reach out to people at this time, they are much more likely to be willing to set aside some time to mentor you. There are free online resources which can help you decide if a particular area interests you or to build on a content area you need. There are free courses offered by Coursera, EdX, Future Learn, Open Culture, Class Central and others. As for lab resources, JOVE and Labster offer some lab techniques and simulations. Students may utilize this time to hone their soft skills as well. Stay well, stay safe and continue learning! 

Profile of the writer:

Dr. Meghana Joshi, is the Program Director for Biocon programs based at Keck Graduate Institute, California, USA. She teaches a course in Pharmaceutical Drug Development to the Biosciences program. Dr. Joshi received her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, followed by post-doctoral experience at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and Columbia University, New York.

Picture: Dr. Meghana Joshi, Program Director, Keck Graduate Institute, California, USA

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