This time, last year, I got over with studies, assessment, and evaluation of my first semester of Ph.D. course on Organizational Change Management, a topic quite close to my heart. The theory coursework journey started and coincided with the start of the ongoing unprecedented Corona times, forcing us to take up online studies and evaluate in front of highly learned panelists and faculty. This eventually turned out to be a completely fulfilling experience and was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride of learning and knowledge-sharing.
After an enriching 1st semester online classes spanning over 3 months, involving n number of major-minor assignments, carrying out reviews of humongous articles, journals, books, related literature, 2-3 online quizzes, loads of Statistics assignments (each one having 5-6 sub-set assignments. Not to mention about which many of my fellow scholars and I had hardly any clue about three months earlier). Endless discussions with co-scholars over zoom, I can say I came out as an exhausted yet enlightened individual. All the way was making many great friends across continents who were all a great support system throughout!
The Final Evaluation process lasted for three days. Day 1 ended with an online Statistics exam consisting of several excel based problems to be solved after choosing the proper test to be applied from a sea of statistical tests. Day 2 belonged to an esteemed senior panel. We had to present the extensive Literature Review and grand viva!
After having held the stage for my organization for 9-10 years, speaking to that tiny white light coming out of my laptop webcam was quite strange initially. With no cues coming from the panel/audience as everyone had their videos off! I hardly understood if I was even being understood.
There was no one whom I could actually see, assess the body language, and complete the communication loop!
Even the Q&A round was fired at me in the same mode; I had to convince the panel that I had the greatest idea of all time for my Ph.D. dissertation!!! Finally, Day 3 ended with an exhaustive three-hour theory exam on Research Methodology (about which now I can say I know something).
Amidst all this, I somewhere felt that the knowledge and learning I received by being part of the prestigious Toastmasters International, where we not just give speeches, but most importantly learn to adhere to timelines & deadlines, came to my rescue, and I was able to survive the process and progressed to the next stage.
Education & learning systems have reformed completely, and technology is a savior indeed. It just proves that pandemics should not force us to deviate from the path of learning & knowledge sharing in any way.
Huge logistics costs and saving efforts towards commuting indicate a new norm in education. And like I always believe, we can’t use up knowledge; the more you share, the more you have! Indeed, an experience etched forever!