The school announced plans to offer both online and hybrid model (online/offline) classes to students for the fall semester. On July 22, the school announced that classes with fewer than 50 students and lab classes will be run by the hybrid model. However, theoretical and practical courses with more than 50 students will be held online. The school came up with these measures to offer classes effectively while complying with quarantine guidelines.
For hybrid courses, professors will give lectures in assigned classrooms and time, while the same material will also be provided online. Online classes will be provided either in the form of a live-stream on-site lecture or a later upload of the recorded lecture. Students are given the choice of whether they would like to attend classes online or in person.
In the first round of application period, from Aug. 14 to 16, students chose their preferred way of participation for hybrid model courses.
“During the first round of the application period, I registered to take one hybrid course on campus,” said Chae Seung-joo, a sophomore from the Division of Molecular Life & Chemical Sciences. “I am looking forward to on-campus classes not only because I can actively participate in experiments and discussions but also because I can meet friends who I could not meet for several months.”
There are also students who registered to take hybrid courses online. One of the reasons behind their decision lies in the country’s current COVID-19 status.
Roh Won-hui, a freshman in HOKMA College of General Education, shared her anxiety over COVID-19.
“Despite having the opportunity to take three hybrid model courses, I decided to register all courses online,” Roh said. “With the recent surge of infections in Seoul and metropolitan areas, social distancing guidelines are becoming stricter. I have no choice but to stay home and remain distant from people by taking classes online.”
Roh added that before the spike of confirmed cases, she thought the school's previous response were reasonable. However, she now believes an update with stricter measures such as changing all hybrid classes to online classes is urgent in order to settle student confusion.
Another reason Roh decided to take all classes online is due to commuting issues. As she lives in Gyeonggi province, she was unable to register for the school’s dormitory, as this region was deemed “commutable.” Having to spend a total of four hours back and forth seemed to be an inefficient use of time and energy.
“In order to proceed with hybrid courses successfully, the school and professors must minimize the quality gap between online and in-person classes and also ensure fairness in the evaluation process as promised,” Roh said.
This new system of hybrid courses is unfamiliar to both students and professors.
Professor Thomas Webster from HOKMA College of General Education has three courses that were designated hybrid for the fall semester: two sections of Advanced English and one of College English. According to Webster, two of three classes have unanimously chosen to go entirely online, while the third has only four students who chose to take the course on campus.
“For the online classes, I plan to use Prezi videos and Zoom for Q&A sessions and office time,” Webster said. “If my third class remains hybrid, I will teach the four students in the classroom while using Zoom live for those who signed up for online class. Teaching a live class will be complex, but I worry about technology issues that might happen. Since, my research interest and experience are in using technology in education, I hope I will be able to handle my courses well enough.”
Webster added that the Office of University Administration has done an excellent job in allowing students to choose whether they prefer classes on campus or online. However, he believes that hybrid classes are less than ideal.
“In order to ensure good quality hybrid classes, we, as in the school, professors, and students, must all do our best and realize that we are united in our effort to overcome this difficult time,” he said. “I think that desire and understanding are the keys to solving any problems that come with hybrid classes.”
Due to ongoing issues regarding the coronavirus, the school announced to conduct all classes online during the first two weeks and to start hybrid classes from Sept. 14. Class guidelines may change throughout the semester depending on the COVID-19 situation and the level of quarantine.