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Online Lectures to Cope with Coronavirus Disease 2019

On March 24th, the student council announced that the school would only operate lectures through i-Campus this semester. Before the official announcement, on March 20th, a meeting of the student council and the professors was held to discuss online lectures for the first semester of 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there are many problems with online lectures for various reasons. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) sought to find out the issues and the directions to be taken as offline lectures are replaced with online lectures.

SKKU Being Debating the Schedule Due to the COVID-19 (Sungkyunkwan University Broadcasting Station (SUBS))

(Continued)

Process of Transition to Online Lectures

As COVID-19 broke out at a rapid pace last January, the school formed a countermeasures committee for COVID-19 and canceled most group activities on and off campus starting from January 30th. On February 7th, the school postponed the start of the semester for one week and decided to operate online lectures (through i-Campus) for the following two weeks. However, on February 24th, as the COVID-19 crisis forced the government to move to the severe phase, on March 2nd, the school postponed offline lectures from March 23rd to April 6th. Still, the outbreak was not contained sufficiently, so, on March 24th, the school announced finally that i-Campus lectures would entirely replace the offline lectures.

Expected Problems with Full i-Campus Lectures

As the whole semester is running through i-Campus, Kingos feel that they will not get enough education and benefit enough from school services, although they have paid the same tuition as in previous semesters. According to the University Alert, our school ranked 18th in the highest tuition rank among all universities in 2018. In the case of i-Campus lectures, some Kingos feel that they have received unfair treatment since the school prohibits Kingos’ from attending the school in the hope of preventing mass community spread of the disease.

Problems with i-Campus System

Currently, the i-Campus server is not stable enough and this can cause buffering. The server usually lags from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some Kingos say that it takes about two and a half hours to watch a one-hour lecture with a laptop. The problems with i-Campus are not done there. According to a survey that was conducted by the student council, many professors are reusing lecture storage classes and i-Campus lectures that they taught last semester. Some professors are uploading external lectures such as YouTube videos and documentaries to replace lectures. Moreover, some lectures are shorter than the original lecture time. For instance, one Kingo from the Natural Science Campus said that the three-hour a week lecture turned into a one hour and a half lecture. Also, as professors are also new to the i-Campus system, their inexperience has caused other problems. Kingos are expressing their complaints about issues like they are unable to hear the professor’s voice, the screen is pointing in a strange place, and the contents on the screen are not visible.

Problems Besides i-Campus System

The first problem is the use of the school facilities. If using school facilities such as the library and lecture rooms is prohibited, it becomes impossible to borrow books and perform tasks and practices. Also, numerous clubs and academic associations will lose places to recruit their new members and practice their studies. Another problem is rising from the classes, which usually consist of experiments, practices, discussions, and presentations. Depending on the purpose of the lecture, these classes must be interactive. However, it is difficult for both the professor and the Kingos to communicate at the same time with i-Campus lectures. Furthermore, midterm and final exams are also a problem on the rise. Some Kingos are concerned that when taking online exams, fairness issues, such as contact and cheating among Kingos, cannot be controlled. The grading issues of the professor is also a problem. Besides, undergraduate research Kingos may have insufficient research hours, which might affect their graduation.

Countermeasures of i-Campus Lectures

Use Tuition for Kingos

To settle the dissatisfaction of Kingos, the first thing to do is to solve the tuition problem. The best way, and what most Kingos want, is a refund. According to the law, a tuition refund is possible when the school is closed for more than a month. However, as our school has started i-Campus lectures online, so it is now hard for the Kingos to get a refund. Therefore, some budgets related to COVID-19 were disclosed on Marth 26th to convince Kingos why the return of their fees was impossible. The school also said that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the profit of the school itself has also decreased, stating that the current financial situation is very harsh.

Moreover, recently, to make the Kingos feel that the school is fully supporting the education quality of the Kingos, the school decided to provide Adobe programs until May of 2021. The school accepted the result of the survey, which shows that among 1944 Kingos, 43.4% of them answered that they are not using the Adobe program because of the high subscription fee. Also, the school increased three more credits and opened more positions for each class this semester.

Maximize Utilization of School Facilities

To solve the problem of the use of school facilities, the Central Library and Samsung Library decided to provide online rental systems, starting from March 30th. As Kingos fill in the online form about what they want to borrow, when they will visit, and their phone number, the bookkeeper will put the book at the applicable place in the library within two hours of a students’ visit. Furthermore, the libraries can provide Portable Document Format (PDF) files and e-book to the Kingos.

Refer to Other Schools

To solve the complaints of the classes which are mainly run through experiments, practices, discussions, and presentations, the school has to give options by extending the enrollment time first. If Kingos still want to participate in such classes, the school can refer to the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (KAIST) classes. At KAIST, students write reports after watching the experiment class, which have been filmed by teaching assistants. Also, the real-time system should be improved by seeking advice from the top universities that have already conducted online experimental lectures.

Solve the Problems with Exams

Many Kingos are concerned about the method for exams. Introducing the absolute evaluation for this semester is one way to reduce the problems of taking exams. From the first semester of 2020, the midterm exam is not in the academic schedule due to the pilot operation of a Challenge Semester. Therefore, midterm exams are not essential for every class. After watching how the situation of COVID-19 is going, Kingos can take the final exam only at school. For the professors who are willing to give the midterm exam, they can replace the midterm exams with a report or give the exam with a descriptive essay to prevent students from cheating.

Increase the Quality of i-Campus Lectures

The essential and immediate need is to improve the quality of i-Campus lectures. The school has to stabilize the server and introduce the server that can hold many people at the same time. Monitoring and reporting of the Kingos about lecture quality are continuously needed. Also, the professors’ efforts are required too. Professors should accept Kingos’ complaints and film i-Campus lectures to make them better than they were before.

Nowadays, everyone has difficulties because of COVID-19. It is unclear whether there will be a way to satisfy all Kingos. Still, the school is doing its best to reduce Kingos’ inconvenience. The SKT hopes to see the campus full of Kingos as soon as COVID-19 calms down.

이채림  leecl3524@naver.com

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