In response to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, the school has decided to extend online-only classes from March 30 to April 12, with offline classroom teaching tentatively starting from April 13. However, the prolongation of online courses is subject to change. Depending on the course, some classes will be run offline to make up for the missed sessions.
In addition to changes to the academic calendar, dormitory-related dates have also been adjusted. The dormitory check-in date for the spring semester has been modified, allowing students to check-in at E-House, Hanwoori House, and I-House from April 11.
Moreover, additional expansions to check-in restrictions have been made to ensure safety. As of March 19, students who have been overseas must undergo up to 14 days of selfquarantine in Korea. They are allowed to check in to the dormitory if they show no signs of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.
Students expressed various opinions about the school’s decision to delay the start of on-campus classes.
“I respect the school’s decision, because I believe they are prioritizing student’s safety,” said Sung Hyun-soo, the representative of the emergency planning committee of the Division of English Language & Literature. “Since it is challenging to determine the schedule due to the modification of the start of offline courses, all plans for the department have been cancelled or delayed.”
Sung added that she hopes the school will announce notifications as quickly as possible and improve the stability of the service of online classes.
Students of the College of Art & Design are also facing difficulties according to Lee Seung-won, a junior from the Division of Design, who shared her concerns regarding the issue.
“The majority of the classes are taught based on direct feedback and confirmation from professors, so there are times when we have to go to school,” Lee said. “Also, one-toone feedback and evaluation from peers stimulate our motivation, so we receive positive influences. However, this cannot be achieved through online course especially for those majoring in the field of fine arts.”
She mentioned that the registration fees for the College of Art & Design are expensive compared to other colleges. In response, many students have insisted on the reduction of the tuition fees this semester since they are unable to utilize the school facilities or use tools and materials that are provided on campus.
“The MAYDAY exhibition which was held annually in May by juniors has been delayed to the fourth week of June,” Lee added. “I believe that the prolongation of the graduation exhibition will be problematic for seniors as well.”
Furthermore, Choi Se-eun, a sophomore in the Division of Business Administration, mentioned how online courses are inefficient to hold classes that are based on team projects. She remarked that there are required courses for sophomores in which team projects play a crucial role, but the online instruction method poses many difficulties in terms of communication.
“Although I believe that postponing the start of semester is an ideal decision, the school’s announcement of the current situation to the students was slow,” Choi said. “Because of the worsening COVID-19 situation, I think that Chapel sessions should also be held online or cancelled since around 2,000 students must gather in one place, which seems even more dangerous than classroom settings.”
The school has only so far announced that the semester-long chapel sessions would be reduced to four sessions in May.
Cho Yoon-jin, a professor from the Department of Psychology, shared her thoughts about the extension of online classes.
“Although the delay of oncampus classes is a wise decision, I am concerned that students are facing challenges while taking online courses,” Cho said. “On the other hand, I believe we are experiencing a new way of teaching through online videos, which can be an important period of change in the field of education.”
Considering the matter of giving online lectures, she mentioned that it is uncomfortable to be alone in a room recording classes without directly interacting with students and taking questions from them. To foster active communication between students, Cho is coming up with ideas for utilizing the Cyber Campus bulletin board effectively. Furthermore, as a parent, she is going through hardships at home to both take care of her school-age child and give online lectures.
Lastly, Cho recommended ways to foster one’s energy when weakened by a lack of physical activity. In order to overcome the exhaustion from the extended online classes, she encourages mindfulness strategies.