Offline Semester Canceled due to COVID-19
Offline Semester Canceled due to COVID-19
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo, Lee Seung-ah
  • 승인 2020.09.03 15:40
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▲POSTECH's scenery; Mueunjae Memorial Hall can be seen on the right
▲POSTECH's scenery; Mueunjae Memorial Hall can be seen on the right


On the afternoon of Aug. 21, the final announcement was made that the 2020 Fall Semester is to be held online. The school announced that the intensive class period, which was to start on Aug. 31, is canceled, and that Face-to-Face classes that were to start on Sept. 20 are withdrawn until further notice. Instead, the online semester is to initiate on Sept. 7 and conduct for 16 weeks.
Previously, the school planned to hold Face-to-Face classes for the fall semester due to the decrease in daily confirmed COVID-19 patients. After the three-week-long intensive class period for students enrolled in classes that involve laboratory sessions, demonstrations, and physical educations, Face-to-Face classes were to be held for 15 weeks on campus.
 However, starting from mid-August,  COVID-19 spread rapidly in Seoul, mainly due to secondary community transmission related to Sarang Jeil Church and the Gwanghuamun rally. The government enhanced social distancing rules to level two nationwide and intensified infection prevention and control measures in Seoul metropolitan areas. However, due to the lack of cooperation from the church and participants of the rally, experts indicate that it is highly likely for COVID-19 to spread nationwide. 
Accordingly, POSTECH decided to reinforce online classes. The intensive class period is canceled completely to minimize confusion among students and professors, and the start of the fall semester is postponed to Sept.7 to avoid conflicts regarding the course registration confirmation period.
To capture student opinions regarding the constant changes of the fall semester, The Postech Times surveyed POSTECH undergraduates, before and after the mid-August COVID-19 crisis. In the survey conducted before the COVID-19 infection spike, approximately 50% of students indicated that POSTECH’s decision of conducting Face-to-Face classes was appropriate. However, the survey conducted after the spread showed that approximately 59% of students indicated a negative position.
Students who advocated Face-to-Face classes cited the fact that “flexible operation of classes and questionnaires are possible” as the biggest reason. To enhance learning experiences for students while conducting online classes, the Academic Affairs team announced that it plans to increase online teaching assistants at the school level. The team also announced that it will gradually enhance the quality of classes by improving lecture equipment and increasing server capacities. Also, the Academic Affairs team said that they are considering a plan to integrate the lecture platforms of POSTECHx with LMS. However, updates on LMS are ongoing and not expected to be accessible to students during the following semester.
Results also revealed that many students are concerned about cheating in exams. In response, the Academic Affairs team explained that the university is searching for the best means to prevent such conduct. Also, they asked students to endeavor to maintain the honor of Postechians without abusing online classes.
The Academic Affairs team also announced that decisions regarding conversion to Face-to-Face classes will be decided and announced before the seventh week of the fall semester.