Noonsong is in the 3rd grade now. But she is still unfamiliar with school because she has never had a face-to-face class due to COVID-19. Noonsong wants to go to school to enjoy her university life. Then she saw the operation plan for the 2022-1 and wondered what the hybrid classes are. Hybrid classes are a mixture of face-to-face and non-face-to-face classes. As far as Noonsong has recognized, the meaning of hybrid is creating something new with added value by mixing heterogeneous elements. Now, Noonsong wonders how this really will affect 2022-1 school life.
2022 with COVID-19
On November 2nd, the Ministry of Education announced a plan to promote a phased daily recovery in the field of higher education. The plan is to promote a phased daily recovery from November 22nd after the CSAT (College Scholastic Ability Test) and to normalize academic management and implement the principles of face-to-face classes in 2022-1. In line with this, SMWU established the principle of face-to-face classes to normalize them in 2022. In Particular, the principle of hybrid classes was established to protect Sookmyungians' learning rights and to flexibly respond to unpredictable COVID-19. The types of classes in 2022-1 are divided into face-to-face classes and remote classes. Then, face-to-face classes are divided into classes for less than 30 students and classes for 31 to 80 students. Classes with less than 30 students are only small-scale courses and are dedicated to experiments, practice, and practical skills. Classes with between 31 and 80 students will run as hybrid classes. This is a way to simultaneously conduct face-to-face classes and real-time transmission. Hybrid lectures meet the students' face-to-face and non-face-to-face standards with the professor's autonomous implementation, but 100% real-time video classes can also be used. However, the non-face-to-face classes are only available through real-time transmission, and recorded video lectures are not allowed. In the case of such face-to-face classes, students who are unable to go to school due to self-isolation and symptoms will experience real-time transmission. Remote classes are divided into mixed remote and cyber remote. Mixed remote is a mix of real-time and non-real-time classes but requires at least three weeks of real-time lectures. The cyber remote lecture is 100% non-real-face-to-face classes.
Since COVID-19 is not over yet, the class method will be guided by preparing a flexible class plan in the case of a worsening COVID-19 situation in accordance with the government's policy. In addition, the final class type may be changed depending on COVID-19. SMT investigated how the system was being managed in other universities. First, Seoul National University decided to allow non-face-to-face classes only when educational methods such as flipped learning are shown to be remarkably effective. In addition, in the case of non-face-to-face classes, video lectures are being used, and the lectures must include interactions with students, through methods such as Q&A or discussions. Yonsei University also decided to conduct face-to-face classes, non-face-to-face online classes, and blended classes which is an online-offline mixed classes depending on the characteristics of the class. In short, blended classes consist of face-to-face classes and non-face-to-face classes like hybrid classes. In particular, Ewha Women's University revealed more systematic management of classes. In the case of theoretical classes with less than 70 students, face-to-face classes can be selected if it is essential for experimental/training/practice courses. During face-to-face classes, the professor will have to upload real-time transmission or real-time recording files for non-face-to-face students so that there is no distinction in education between face-to-face and non-face-to-face students. In addition, students in non-face-to-face classes, along with PPT+ commentary or video lectures, can work through the class contents through online activities such as Q&A, online discussions, and quizzes.
Students' thoughts about 2022
To find out exactly what Sookmyungians think about the management plan for the 2022-1, SMT surveyed them. According to the survey, 78 out of 120 (65%) answered that they were satisfied with the management plan for the 2022-1, and 42 out of 120 (35%) were not satisfied.1) To understand the reasons for satisfaction in more detail, SMT asked respondents to choose one or more reasons for their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. First, out of the 78 respondents who said they were satisfied, 62 out of 78 (79.5%) said they were satisfied because they can have face-to-face classes and 41 out of 78 (52.6%) said they were satisfied because they could use school facilities. It seems that Sookmyungians are looking forward to going to school. Next, 35 out of 78 (44.9%) answered it is an appropriate operation plan to respond to the COVID-19 situation. In addition, 30 out of 78 (38.5%) said having a chance to choose face-to-face and non-face-to-face classes is satisfying. It can be seen that students feel it is appropriate to operate this system in 2022-1 when they do not know whether the pandemic situation will get better or not. In contrast, out of the 48 respondents who said they were dissatisfied, 33 out of 48 (68.8%) answered that it is not systematically organized so there would be a lot of fluctuations. In addition, 31 out of 48 (64.6%) answered that it would be confusing because the professors' autonomous implementation is possible. Since COVID-19 is not over yet, it shows that students are concerned about the confusion that will occur while conducting both non-face-to-face and face-to-face classes. There were also voices concerned about face-to-face classes in the COVID-19 situation. 18 out of 48 (37.5%) answered that face-to-face classes are not appropriate because COVID-19 is still serious. In addition, 22 out of 48 (45.8%) answered that they were not satisfied due to the difference in class quality between students taking face-to-face classes and non-face-to-face video transmissions. Overall, it can be seen that Sookmyungians think that the 2022-1 is at least the most appropriate alternative in a pandemic situation but not systematically organized.
Furthermore, the main part of this 2022-1 management plan is the hybrid class. So SMT also surveyed Sookmyungians' thoughts on how to operate hybrid classes. As a result of the survey, 49 out of 120 (40.8%) responded that they felt positively about it, but 27 out of 120 (22.5%) responded negatively. However, 44 out of 120 (36.7%) responded neither positively nor negatively. Overall, it seems that hybrid classes are viewed more positively, but the shortcomings are also noted. As a result of subjectively asking why they felt positively about the hybrid operation plan in more detail, there were some similar answers. First, one anonymous student said that the hybrid management plan is not the best option but is the best alternative to COVID-19. For this reason, she said that it is an effective and appropriate teaching method to prevent COVID-19, such as using online classes when COVID-19 gets worse and giving face-to-face classes when it calms down. Another answer was that unlike last year, when most classes were conducted only online, there are now options such as face-to-face classes and non-face-to-face classes depending on the student's choice, and they are in the same situation in terms of profit and loss. Therefore, it is thought to be a convenient, flexible, and active class method for students who cannot take face-to-face classes due to self-isolation or a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. On the contrary, the reason why Sookmyungians thought the hybrid management plan was not a good idea was that the operation may be different from class to class. There could be a problem with time between classes since most of the gaps between classes are between 10 and 15 minutes, so Sookmyungians are worried that they might have difficulty getting from one class to the next. In addition, real-time transmission — using neither recorded classes nor Zoom — could bring inconveniences, such as more errors and frequent disconnection due to school network problems. And there were concerns about the differences in learning among people taking face-to-face classes. Since most of the classes in the school have between 31 and 80 students, the opinions about hybrid classes and the satisfaction survey of the 2022-1 management plan show similar aspects. Therefore, if Sookmyungians' concerns and complaints about hybrid lectures are resolved, it can be expected that the satisfaction of the 2022-1 management plan will also rise.
Three principles that make up a perfect triangle
To get more accurate explanations and answers for Sookmyungians' questions obtained through the survey, SMT interviewed Song Yunseon, Director of Student Administration, and Cha Yongjin, Director of School Affairs. First, before answering the students' questions, Cha Yongjin, the head of the School Affairs Department, explained the principle of the hybrid classes. He said that for a total of four semesters from 2020 to 2021, COVID-19 had continued to bring uncertainty due to its rapid spread and the difficulty in predicting its progress. Therefore, it is said to be the management plan that came out ahead of all other school plans for a sustainable 'With COVID-19' management plan. As a result, the hybrid classes have a total of three principles (RAR): resilience, accessibility, and regularity. The most important thing here is residence, which is based on the school. However, due to the unusual situation of COVID-19, the resistance to school is serious. So, the following principles that came out to solve residence are accessibility and regulation. First, accessibility is a principle to increase the relationship between professors and students who have moved away from non-face-to-face classes. Therefore, it is a principle to optimize the accessibility of professors and students offline or online. Finally, regularity maintains the structure of the school by teaching according to the actual timetable. The above principles are said to have been created according to the trial and error of other schools.
SMT delivered the survey results and questions students asked to the above. The first question was the reason for pursuing both face-to-face classes and non-face-to-face classes. The interviewees said that a survey conducted by the Office of Academic Affairs showed that many students want to come to school, but because the school is currently not responsible for quarantine and students are not required to take vaccines compulsorily, Sookmyungians have no choice but to take non-face-to-face classes. That's why SMWU has given us hybrid classes, and the reason for this is that the COVID-19 situation was good in October last year, so when other schools carried out face-to-face classes until November, our school set the principle of non-face-to-face for the start of the semester. Therefore, this time, face-to-face and optional hybrid classes inevitably open all possibilities flexibly depending on the quarantine situation. The second question was what to do about the gap that occurs between classes with different management plans. The interviewees say that the school is aware of this and is providing spaces for students to relax during gap times. The third question was the difference in grade evaluation between face-to-face classes and real-time transmission. The interviewees said that in the case of grades, there is no difference between students participating in face-to-face classes and real-time classes. For the objectivity of the evaluation, the relative evaluation is evaluated in three categories, so there is no need to worry about this. Lastly, Song Yunson, Director of Student Administration wants to say something to Sookmyungians. "For more than two years, our students have been tired of a situation that changes all the time, but I know everyone is working so hard and it's a special situation, so I want to tell them not to worry too much because both schools and professors are trying to find as many ways to succeed as possible."
There is no perfect answer
SMWU is making various efforts to improve Sookmyungians' resilience, accessibility, and regularity. Various changes are underway, such as providing spaces to use for gaps between classes, checking network connections, installing tracking cameras for smooth real-time transmission, etc. Through this, it is expected that Sookmyung Women's University will increase its RAR in the COVID-19 situation.
1) The total number of students enrolled is 12,596, with a survey participation rate about 1%