Online teaching: the opinions of students and teachers

EN_University - 17 March 2020

First week of distance learning. 700 classes online, almost 6,000 users connected. The IULM Editorial Board asked students and teachers their first impressions of this new way of living the University in Coronavirus times.

There are those who follow them in their pajamas, those who dress up. There are those who yawn while sipping coffee and those who carefully take notes with one hand and mechanically caress the cat with the other. This is the university in the days of the Coronavirus. A university that, despite the emergency, goes on. And so since 9 March, IULM students have had to adapt to an unprecedented university experience. Streaming lessons, at a "safe" distance, followed by the living room or bedroom at home. A new system of online teaching, perhaps not yet perfect (but improving day by day), which wants to ensure the continuity of education for everyone in a democratic and inclusive perspective.

In a week the University has activated almost 700 online classes, in which almost 6,000 users took part. We were curious to know the opinions of students and teachers. So we asked them to tell us their first impressions of this new way of living the University. Many people responded, with participation and enthusiasm, able to understand the positive aspects and new potential even in an anomalous and alienating situation like the one we are experiencing. Others have instead pointed out technical difficulties and imperfections that the University will take into account in order to perfect this new system as quickly as possible. Finally, there are those who have launched the hashtag #stareunitimadistanti. We share it because, it's really true, in a difficult moment like this, union is strength...even when it is distance.

Let's start again from three. Yes, three months agolittle was known about Covid-19 and it certainly did not represent a danger capable of upsetting our daily life. When normality was nothing but a synonym of mediocrity and the winter session exams an imminent but less worrying danger. When quarantine was not, for us students, a question of trust but an obligation to meet our academic commitments. And today? We want that normality and the University with great effort but with excellent results is giving it back to us. The lessons provided remotely, in fact, represents a successful solution to return to everyday life and above all a way to #stareunitimadistantimadistanti.

Anna - student

Cinema is about ghosts, you know, and lecturing an empty classroom is a bit like trying to summon ghosts. However, after the first moment of embarrassment, I think you can still create a form of "contact", unusual but also intriguing. I must in any case praise the students who have proved to be attentive and cooperative, as well as understanding when a few small "incidents" have occurred. My thanks to them for helping and encouraging me.

Riccardo Caccia - teacher

In my opinion, the online lessons are a great idea to cope with the Coronavirus emergency but they are not proving to be as efficient as we all would have liked and believed. The fact that there is the limit of 250 connected users creates quite a few problems for example in my course where there are many of us and not all of us can get in to follow the lesson. It's true that lessons are uploaded and we can see them afterwards but often they are not uploaded immediately and this creates a bit of confusion.

Francis - student

Enough is as good as a feast... but the direct contact with the students in the classroom, especially in classes with small numbers certainly is lacking. The instrument, even if with some limits, works and in this state of didactic emergency is fundamental.

Rocco Moccagatta - teacher

These are difficult days we're living through. Today for the first time I took an online class. It's weird. It's certainly different, but it's indispensable. In this very delicate phase, I think it's wonderful to be able to stay at home with your family and continue teaching at the same time. Today at 1:30 p.m., I was in the living room with my mother, having lunch and watching television, while I was taking notes with my earphones on. Every day we wake up facing a new shift, ready to change our habits. For this reason it is encouraging and certainly fundamental to be close to each other, even if forced at a distance.

Camilla - student

Despite initial concerns about the activation of the online lessons, I was very happy to see that the lessons are going perfectly! It is also fun to listen to them while sitting comfortably on the couch, with a blanket and a cup of tea. Despite the situation, I am happy to be able to study in tranquillity, without the worry of missing classes. I am confident that in this way we will make up for lost time and that technical imperfections will be solved as well! Strength and courage IULM!

Ginevra - student