By: Helena Londa Sato Sera
English Education Study Program of Widya Mandira Catholic University
The spread of the Sars-Cov-19 virus in Indonesia has had a major impact on almost all areas of life, especially education in tertiary institutions. The Minister of Education, through the Minister of Education and Culture Circular Letter Number 4 of 2020 concerning the Implementation of Education in the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Emergency Period, wants all students to be able to get optimal education services but still prioritizes health protocols to break the Covid-19 chain as much as possible. The lecture process that was originally conventional (face-to-face) is now transformed into online lectures (screen-to-screen) which are conducted without the time and place limits.
Online lectures are not a new system in the world of education, but rather an existing system along with technological developments. The world may say that all areas of life have been colored and must adapt to technology. However, the facts on the ground speak differently. Changes in the learning system suddenly make many parties not fully ready to do online learning. Behind the advantages of implementing digital-based learning that can be accessed easily, anytime, and anywhere, in fact, there are not a few students who lack internet access in any learning through social media or using face-to-face video. Almost all students, both in urban and remote areas experience this (Sukmana, 2020, “Pendidikan dan Permasalahan Pelajar di Masa Pandemi “, para. 8). Based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2019, the internet penetration rate in rural areas averaged 51.91 percent, while in cities it was 78.08 percent (Kompas, Edisi Kamis, 30 April 2020, 5). This incident has an impact on the lecture process that is “slow” (slow loading) so that lectures become less effective.
Another advantage of digital-based learning is that it is more affordable. Only with an internet data package, students can access various learning materials without having to buy books or copy material from lecturers and without worrying about missing lessons. However, we need to realize that not all students come from upper-middle-class families. For those whose economies are still below, the availability of internet quota for online learning is quite draining. Even so, the Ministry of Education and Culture provides a quota for the implementation of Distance Learning (PJJ). But is the quota given enough? As reported by CNN Indonesia, the remaining quota for learning is quite a lot and the general quota is deemed insufficient. This is because learning platform applications such as Ruang Guru, Zenius, and Quipper are not often used but the ones that are widely used are the internet and videos on YouTube.
The transition process from conventional lecturing systems to online lectures also requires students, lecturers, and other learning elements to adapt and be technology literate as soon as possible. In this pandemic situation, the capability and creativity of the lecturers are one of the biggest demands in the online or long-distance lecture system. How do lecturers devote their creativity in using technology as effectively as possible so that the material is conveyed to students, especially when everything such as attendance, assignments, quizzes, and various exams are carried out from/at home via various applications available in online services. However, this emergency made some lecturers feel confused because in a short time they had to learn various online learning tools. Some of them also only use e-learning as a place to “put” teaching materials and assignments just like that. They also do not provide feedback on the material that has been studied and do not face-to-face with existing applications, they instead give assignments that have a larger portion than learning activities. Lack of supervision from lecturers in learning is a question, do students understand the existing material or not? Instead of increasing creativity, the learning process in a pandemic period seems like an escape from the main duty of a teacher.
Like lecturers, students are also required to be more independent in learning. download and upload the materials and assignments given so that the lecture process can continue properly. According to Setyosari (2007, “Pembelajaran Sistem Online: Tantangan dan Rangsangan” dalam Jurnal Majalah Ilmiah Pembelajaran Edisi Oktober 2007 No.2. Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, 7-8), learning through networks has the potential to increase learning outcomes. But the facts on the ground speak differently. Instead of studying independently, there are still many students who cannot even access e-learning due to confusion over how to use it which is somewhat complicated. This causes the learning process to be hampered. The impression was that the material provided by the lecturer was useless. Besides, seen from the teacher’s point of view, who only gave large portions of assignments made students feel overwhelmed. Especially if the processing time is short, students work on other subject assignments simultaneously.
Overall, from the advantages and disadvantages of digital-based learning above, it should be a consideration for the related parties. Has learning been very effective during this pandemic or not? Neither party is to blame for this, because we are all faced with the same problem. In a pandemic like this, it should be a challenge for everyone in the world of education. The government, teachers, and students are required to be more creative and innovative in facing these difficult times. This situation should also become an arena for the world of education to continue to be better than before. Online lectures have also become a criticism for the government to organize society and provide clear education to be free from the shackles of educational backwardness. First of all, lecturers and students must be equipped with the knowledge and the formation of human resources. Then, then the reconstruction of the systems and infrastructure that have always been an obstacle for us to develop.