Online classes are convenient because they allow students to leverage education from the comfort of their homes. Whether the online mode of learning is crisis-driven, like the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, or whether it is the nature of the course, like distance learning programs, online education has been largely adopted around the world. Several schools and universities are offering online courses as a part of their curriculum. Institutions provide their students with school or university-owned laptops, tablets and smartphones for study purposes. Some institutions empower students to use their personal devices to access learning material and attend online courses. Having said that, the shift of traditional classroom learning to online modes has its set of challenges, and the topmost challenge is distractions for students.
Students get distracted because of unmonitored social media networking, online games, consumption of inappropriate content and using instant messenger apps on learning devices to socialize. Universities can empower their IT admins to monitor students’ devices with the help of Mobile Device Management solutions. MDM solutions offer a variety of features to enforce restrictions that make learning devices suitable for educational purposes only.
Let’s take a look at some MDM features that are effective in preventing distractions during online classes
Control website restrictions
Youngsters often engage in excessive web browsing on entertainment and social media sites, as they are easily accessible from anywhere as long as an internet connection is available. Remote learning produces a risk of students using inappropriate websites on their learning devices. This can not only be a major cause of distraction but also an entry point for malware. MDM solutions enable IT, admins of universities and schools, to selectively whitelist websites that will permit students to use only specific informative websites and restrict usage of all others. Conversely, MDM solutions also offer website blacklisting as a feature to block specific malicious websites, which the students will not be able to access on their learning devices. These measures help students focus better and provide undivided attention during online classes.
Mobile application management
Students are prone to distraction if their learning devices have interesting apps on them, whether inbuilt or newly downloaded. Since all the major device operating systems like Android, Windows, iOS and macOS come with their specific application stores, acquiring entertainment applications on devices has become quick and easy. MDM solutions help educational institutions push specific learning applications on devices even before the devices are assigned to the students. Modern-day MDM solutions empower IT admins to lock student’s devices in kiosk mode with a single app or selective multiple apps to run on the device. This restricts the device utility to only a single app, beyond which the student cannot operate any other app on the device.
Schedule app & OS updates
Operating system (OS) and app update procedures are time-consuming, and if they are not scheduled appropriately, untimely updates can interfere with ongoing online classes. MDM solutions permit IT admins to automate and schedule timely OS and app updates. Updates can be scheduled for particular days and at precise timings that do not overlap with study time. This enables schools and universities to keep their device fleets up to date without compromising the students’ learning time.
Faster resolution of technical glitches – Remote support
Another hurdle in remote learning occurs if the device encounters an error or breakdown. Device downtime can cause students to lose out on valuable training sessions and complete assignments or tests within specified deadlines. School-owned devices must run smoothly. Students or parents cannot always be expected to know the exact problem. IT admins need a way to reach out quickly in cases of device breakdown or software malfunction to rectify the issue. MDM solutions act as mediums for IT admins to offer remote support in events of device-related errors. Features like VoIP calls, Remote cast & control enable IT admins to take charge of the student’s device and tackle errors swiftly. Furthermore, IT admins can take screenshots and recordings for complex issues and create context-aware support tickets on an integrated ITSM tool.
Indeed, students learn faster with the digital mode of learning, and remote learning modules have empowered online classes to be digitally sound. Children can access a diverse range of learning resources at home. As more and more educational institutes resort to remote learning, ensuring that students stay focussed during online classes and do not misuse their learning devices for entertainment purposes is a mandatory factor for institutes. Adopting MDM solutions helps ease out the burden on educational institutions to manage and secure their learning devices and make them ready for distance learning.
Shambhavi is a Senior Content Writer at Scalefusion/Promobi Technologies with prior experience in commercial writing, creative planning, product cataloging, and content strategizing. She is a “Biotechnologist turned writer” and believes that the inception of great ideas happens over coffee.