[K-UNIV Reporter] Coronavirus changed campus life in South Korean universities

According to the Korea Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, Korea has done substantial counter measures in place and new daily confirmed cases have declined. On March 17th, despite this fact, the opening of kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools nationwide has been postponed officially for another two weeks, which means the openings will be April 6th. The ministry accepted the opinion from experts that there is a high risk of spreading to households and society if an infection occurs within a highly concentrated school, and that it needs at least two to three weeks from this point in time to determine whether a school can be safely opened. Due to this announcement, universities in Korea are suggested to extend online classes instead of having lectures in class.

The sign on the door said, 쏯o entry, so visitors and even students cannot get access to any places in university.

The sign on the door said, 쏯o entry, so visitors and even students cannot get access to any places in university.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, campus life in university was changed entirely. Many Chinese students are attending university in Korea. This leads most of the universities that contain many Chinese students to postpone the opening of their courses for two weeks. At that point, most universities were just planned to delay their schedules for safety. However, after the rapid increase of confirmed cases in Korea, all universities not only postponed their openings for two weeks, but also most of the lectures will be offered in the online environment for two weeks or more after the start of the class instead of having class in the campus. Every schedule in universities was also canceled. For example, Freshman Learning Center or Freshman Orientation which is one of the most expected programs was canceled. Many college students get lots of information about their college and make their new bonds with others during the program. They were looking forward to it but now they are disappointed. Especially the class of 20, freshmen of the university couldn셳 enjoy it at all and got a hard time for their new campus life. Some even said they felt a relative deprivation.

Korean university students are taught through online classes instead of having lectures in class.

Korean university students are taught through online classes instead of having lectures in class.

As of March 16th, most universities in Korea started their courses online. All campuses are almost empty unlike any other time. It is hard to find many students on campus and college districts, which should be crowded by this point. They strictly restrict visitor access more than ever for their students safety. Even students got restricted to accessing places in university. Most libraries in the university are closed and some facilities are limited to use yet. All club activities and meetings in groups are recommended to be restrained until the 쁱eal start of class.

 

On this day, there are some issues with the online lecture. Some worries about the quality of their lectures came true. More than 15 universities in Seoul such as Kookmin University, Korea University, Seoul National University and so on suffered disruptions in their classes, as school servers for online classes were flooded with users at once. Because they didn셳 expand enough server capacity, there were frequent cases of computer network paralysis. Besides, many students have complained about unsatisfied online lectures. As each university left the preparation of online lectures to individual professors, the quality of classes was diverse. Some professors just uploaded ppt files or gave assignments instead of online lectures. Some students got problems understanding by having noises and got a hard time communicating with professors. There are limited options for practical classes like experiments, discussions, and projects. Especially online classes are not prepared enough to replace lessons for students who are majoring in art, music and physical education.

 

쁕nexpected coronavirus causes many 쁴nexpected obstacles. Not just for university, there are still many problems left caused by coronavirus, needed to be solved in Korea. This must be hard and need some time to solve those. As there are some voices coming out that universities should refund or reduce their college tuition due to this poor quality of online lectures and limits of their campus life, universities should prepare for better online lectures. They also need to come up with proper plans for their college students in response to these unintended situations. What we can do best as a college student is to cooperate with professors and university to run better online classes and to be ready for having lectures in class. We better volunteer to participate actively in having 쁲ocial distancing. With these hard works, coronavirus will eventually come to an end.

Nahyun Lee

Asia Journal

(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)

K-UNIV Reporter