As we are in the middle of a pandemic, schools and universities across the world are closing down. All education sectors are moving towards online learning. The education sector in Sri Lanka has always followed the traditional schooling method. It is the first time that Sri Lanka is moving towards online learning.
The Sri Lankan government has offered free internet facilities for the university students using the LMS and zoom. However, it is the first time that the state universities and schools are gearing up for online learning for a foreseeable future.
I have had a good experience when the internet connection and video quality has been top-notch.
It is the first time that the country opted for online learning. How do we go about it? As a deaf student, online learning poses another set of challenges that are different from a traditional classroom. So far, we have been doing readings and submitting our homework online. But at one point, we would have to go for google meet, zoom or the lecturers would have to put up a video of them teaching.
I have had no experience with video calls. Last year, way before I got my cochlear. I tried to make video calls, a regular thing with my family. I have had a good experience when the internet connection and video quality has been top-notch. As a deaf person, normal calls never worked for me, and only recently, I became comfortable with video calls. There are few things which can make it possible if we are going for real-time teaching. As a student who is good at lipreading and learning to recognize sounds.
There are a few things that others would have to take into consideration if they plan to hold any meetings or have a face-to-face video call. The foremost thing you have to look out is to see if you have a strong internet connection. As a lip reader, smooth video quality is necessary to get real-time information. If there is a glitch because of the poor connection, the deaf person might not follow you.
The second thing you have to look out for is the background and the natural light in your room. Again as a lip reader, we need plenty of light to read your lips. I have tried video calls in the night, but unfortunately, the artificial light made it harder to read the lips. Whenever you have video calls with a deaf person, make sure you do it in front of the light not behind it. So it will allow the deaf person to have the full visibility of your lips. Natural light works better if we were have read your lips. It does not apply for the lecturer but also for other students following the course.
Please make sure to reduce the background noises. Make sure to mute your microphone at times while you are not speaking. While there are more than two speakers, make sure you talk one at time. So I would not miss out on what you are speaking. You also have to keep in mind that not all deaf people would rely on lip-reading. Some would rely on the voice. So keeping that in mind, it would be better if you could reduce all background noises or move to a quiet environment to make it easier for the deaf individual to follow you.
That’s all for now, as I get more experience with online platforms such as zoom, where we will do our online meetings soon. I will keep updating this blog post, keep a lookout.