Journal of Interdisciplinary Dentistry

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 95--96

Webinars-boon or bane


Mahalaxmi Sekar, Monisha P Khatri 
 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Monisha P Khatri
Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Bharathi Salai, Ramapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Sekar M, Khatri MP. Webinars-boon or bane.J Interdiscip Dentistry 2020;10:95-96


How to cite this URL:
Sekar M, Khatri MP. Webinars-boon or bane. J Interdiscip Dentistry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 17 ];10:95-96
Available from: https://www.jidonline.com/text.asp?2020/10/3/95/304158


Full Text



With the advent of the COVID pandemic, along with hygiene measures, phrases such as “social distancing” and “stay at home” are being repeatedly emphasized by the health authorities worldwide. Educational institutions have been delegated to keep their academic activities going through online classes and webinars on a day-to-day basis. Being physically absent and mentally present is now virtually possible and has helped academicians to achieve the impossible. Although COVID-19 has predisposed us with many challenges, institutions, and organizations all over the world have been optimistic and have tried their best to convert this adversity in to an opportunity.

Online teaching classes have allowed continuous supply of knowledge and progress to the students, who otherwise would have fallen back on their curriculum. These classes have gained popularity in schools and institutions and have replaced the class room teaching temporarily owing to the safety consideration in the current pandemic situation. These online classes demands re-construction of the roles and practices by the teachers as well as the students and hence require adequate training and knowledge. From a teacher's point of view online classes require considerable planning, structuring, time, and effort.[1]

However, there are a lot of challenges associated with such a platform, such as acquisition of technological gadgets such as computers and smartphones on an individual basis, provision of adequate Internet connection, hurdles associated with restricted teacher-student interaction and long screen time that can cause physical stress and fatigue to the eye. When it comes to younger children, getting their attention and maintaining the same is a challenge faced by many teachers. Same may be said for some older students and college students too. The effectiveness of these online interactions cannot be assessed immediately.

On the other hand, conferences in form of webinars have opened up a whole new arena of possibilities by providing a chance to attend and gain knowledge from renowned speakers at the comfort of being at our home or institutions. Webinars are defined as web-based seminars, in which participants and facilitators communicate live over the internet across distant geographical locations using shared virtual platforms and interact ubiquitously and synchronously in real time via voice over IP technology and web camera equipment.[2] They help in active interactions and spare us the investment of resources that one would invest in terms of travelling time and cost. Some benefits obtained by conducting these webinars are interactive collaborative sessions, accommodation of multiple speakers in a single webinar hence making it cost-effective, reaching greater audience and overcoming the geographical boundaries, availability of recordings to watch later, openness to receive and provide feedback and suggestions.[3]

With the routine being established to normal, the best of the webinars needs to be mixed with face to face interactions. A friendly learning environment should be created with students being more interested and interactive irrespective of the medium of class. This is possible only if the moderator and the audience have a thorough synchronization exempting all the external factors and focus, by being in the moment. Steps such as anonymous feedback forms student-teacher as well as parent–teacher interaction is necessary to overcome the hurdles and make the expectation a reality. Though easily said this puts a lot of burden and increased responsibility on the shoulder of the teachers which would require assistance from multiple disciplines so as to overcome the burden borne by an individual. Therefore to conclude it can be suggested that at higher level, conducting webinars is justifiable and should be the new norm as there are more benefits than disadvantages whereas online classes for students still needs scrutinization and at this juncture does not supersede the face to face interaction.

At the end of the day, it is all about an attempt to bring different perspectives under one roof so as to have unbiased access to knowledge and opportunities, and hence based on the above we let you decide whether webinars are a boon or a bane!

References

1Vonderwell S. Assessing online learning and teaching: Adapting the minute paper. Tech Trends 2004;48:29-31.
2Ebner C, Gegenfurtner A. Learning and satisfaction in webinar, online, and face-to-face instruction: A meta-analysis. Front Educ 2019;4:92.
3Verma A, Singh A. Webinar-education through digital collaboration. J Emerg Technol Web Int 2010;2:131-6.