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Analysis of Ergonomic Issues Faced by Students and Teachers in Online Education

Part of the Design Science and Innovation book series (DSI)

Abstract

With the global pandemic of COVID-19, many educational institutions including schools and colleges are forced to online education for imparting teaching. Students and teachers have been forced to use computer-based tools such as desktop PC/laptop/smartphone and other accessories for delivering lectures, submitting assignments, and for evaluation purposes. In this context, studying ergonomic issues among teachers and students due to this ‘sudden’ change in the educational process (as compared to ‘predominantly’ Chalk and Talk methods with both teacher and the taught being physically present in the same location) becomes important and necessary for improving the quality of education in a broad sense.

This study surveys the human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) issues among 75 subjects (45 females and 30 males) with age in the range of 18–40 years’ college students’ teachers in south India using the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and 36 Health Survey (SF-36) Questionnaire. On comparing the students based on devices used for online learning, laptop users had significantly (p < 0.05) higher pain in the legs when compared with desktop and mobile phone users. This may be due to laptop users attending classes with laptops on their laps or not using proper ergonomics postures during online learning, which leads to high pain in the legs. Mobile phone users had the least pain. When comparing gender, females have significantly (p < 0.05) higher pain in the neck and shoulder region compared with males. This may be due to female students resorting to a particular posture for long durations in their pursuit to concentrate hard. On comparing the effect of durations for online learning, college students engaging in online classes for more than 24 h per week, have significantly (p < 0.05) higher pain in most of the body regions viz. neck, shoulder, upper arms, lower arms, buttocks, palm, thighs, and legs. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, has provided a guideline that the duration of online classes should not be greater than 3 h per day for students undergoing higher classes (Class 8–Class 12). Here, we are considering college students so; we have considered 4 h per day, i.e., a total of 24 h per week. Our result corroborates MHRD guidelines by showing that students engaging in online classes for more than 24 h per week are prone to severe pain and related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). The study reveals that there are ergonomic issues associated with online education and students/teachers need to consider these aspects and plan for proper interventions such as proper setup, devices and breaks to maintain health and safety.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the students and teachers who actively participated in this study and the honorable reviewers for their corrections and valuable suggestions.

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Correspondence to K. Adalarasu .

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Nirmal, K., Adalarasu, K., Krishna, T.A. (2022). Analysis of Ergonomic Issues Faced by Students and Teachers in Online Education. In: Rana, N.K., Shah, A.A., Iqbal, R., Khanzode, V. (eds) Technology Enabled Ergonomic Design. HWWE 2020. Design Science and Innovation. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6982-8_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6982-8_6

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-16-6981-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-16-6982-8

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