Due to COVID-19, the school decided to shorten this semester’s chapel from May 1 to 28 and hold it online. This is the first time in Ewha history for students to take chapel online instead of attending the service at the Welch-Ryang Auditorium.
A 30-minute video on contents such as dance performances and paintings was uploaded every week on CyberCampus. The video is available from 10 a.m. of the students’ designated chapel day to 9 a.m. the following day.
All students must watch the video in their allotted time and those who either miss the time period or leave a segment of the video unwatched will be marked absent. Moreover, this semester’s attendance policy states that absence is not permitted, and makeup classes will not be available.
This contradicts the previous rule where students could take makeup chapel sessions when taking offline chapel. For offline chapels, absence was allowed once at most and twice for those who have completed seven semesters or more.
In a system where attendance is important, some students faced unfortunate circumstances during the first week of chapel run from May 1 to 7.
Some students were marked absent on the CyberCampus attendance system despite fully watching the first week’s chapel.
According to the school, it turned out to be a server error which was recovered after two to three days.
“The server error that made false absent marks caused a lot of confusion to students,” said Lee Eo-jin, a freshman from the Department of Psychology whose attendance for the first week’s chapel was marked absent.
“However, this server error is not a harmful consequence caused by holding chapels online but an unavoidable disadvantage of online activities. Understanding this factor, I am being cautious when taking online chapels from now on.”
Lee added on by saying that she also finds it efficient how online chapel has been reduced to four weeks. She also likes it how the online method shows short footages of memorable past chapels.
Views on online chapel at odds
Another advantage that students expressed was its convenience. Je Ji-min, a sophomore from the Department of English Language and Literature, expressed her opinion.
“Compared to the offline chapel, the online chapel is much more convenient,” Je said. “For offline chapel, we are unable to attend if we arrive a few minutes late or there are times when we are marked absent for sitting on the wrong seat. But, I do not feel any of this burden while watching online chapel as I am not given a designated seat nor a short amount of time to watch.”
On the other hand, Han Jung-hee, a freshman from Climate and Energy Systems Engineering, shared some negative thoughts on online chapel.
“I did not expect my first chapel at Ewha to be held online,” Han said. “Although the contents of the chapel seem to be interesting, I find it hard to concentrate when watching. This is because organizing chapel online deteriorates the quality of delivery.For the next semester, I am hoping for regular offline chapels once the coronavirus situation settles down.”
Ewha Voice requested an interview with the Office of the Chaplain regarding difficulties in implementing the online chapel and the possibility of online chapels being made permanent. However, the Office replied it was difficult to give answers since their position is not sufficiently clear yet and because the online chapel is still in progress.