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Students confused over university guidelines ahead of spring semester

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A college student listens to an online lecture in Seoul, in this March 29, 2020 photo. Korea Times photo by Jung Jun-hee
A college student listens to an online lecture in Seoul, in this March 29, 2020 photo. Korea Times photo by Jung Jun-hee

By Bahk Eun-ji

Universities' guidelines to conduct hybrid modes of learning ― online and face-to-face lectures ― are causing confusion among students.

In line with the recommendation of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to expand in-person lectures from the first semester of this year, some universities have prepared new guidelines to conduct hybrid lectures.

For example, Sogang University and Chung-Ang University will conduct face-to-face classes for fewer than 40 students and in-person classes for more than 40 students.

Yonsei University and Sungkyunkwan University have chosen hybrid learning for some of the same subjects, meaning that students will attend some classes in-person and others virtually.

As the learning options have diversified, many students are expressing their concerns when they have to take both types of classes on the same day.

On an online community used by Yonsei University students, one user wrote, "Every Thursday at 5 p.m., after the in-person lecture, I have to prepare for the next online lecture during the 10-minute break."

"I plan to go to a nearby cafe and attend the class online, but I think it will be difficult for me to participate in the class actively if I have to discuss something or give a presentation," the user wrote.

In an online community used by Korea University students, a user wrote, "As the teaching method has been divided into online and in-person, it has become more difficult to make a timetable."

"Previously, I had to sign up for lectures that I wanted to take so that the class time did not overlap, but this semester, I had to consider not only the teaching options, but also the day I have to go to school."

Some students point out that, to them that it seems useless to have lectures virtually because students have to go to school anyway if they have any in-person lectures on that day.

Some departments at Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, and Korea University have decided to open empty lecture rooms or auditoriums for students who need to take online classes while on campus.

Such a decision will reduce the inconveniences of students finding a place to use their laptops, but many said that it goes against the initial purpose of the online lectures ― to prevent COVID-19 infection by reducing contact between students as well as teaching staff.

Kim Ye-rim, 21, a university student in Seoul, said, "For me, it would be absurd to watch the professor on the laptop screen and listen to the class while sitting in a lecture room."

Bahk Eun-ji

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