Spring semester: what is important to know?
In the third broadcast of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Union’s (VMU SA) talk cycle “Dynamic Dialogues” “Spring Semester: What’s New About Studies?” The Vice-Rector shared her knowledge and insights on what is most relevant.
Return to contact lectures
According to S. Pilkienė, it is planned to return to the auditoriums as soon as the Government allows. The vice-rector expects this to happen as early as March: “The return will be gradual, with first-year students and those in need of practical work returning.” “It will definitely not be the case that, for example, if the quarantine is stopped on Sunday, we will return to the university on Monday,” says S. Pilkienė.
According to the Vice-Rector, study subjects, depending on the specifics of the subject, should be taught from theory at this time, and when it is possible to return to studies, then practical classes should be conducted. Professors should rethink the course of things to make this possible. It is considered that language lectures and Group A distance learning courses could take place throughout the semester, if agreed between students and faculty.
Students who have terminated housing lease agreements, foreign students who have not arrived, Vilnius students who have chosen study subjects in Kaunas, if they are unable to attend studies or are in self-isolation, should be able to complete the course remotely “The most important thing is to talk to the administration of your faculty and inform them that it is not possible to participate in the lectures live and solutions will be sought. ”
If we return to the auditoriums too late, those who are writing their dissertations and those who need laboratory or other special equipment, the completion of studies could be postponed, possibly postponed to September, the most important thing is not to put additional pressure on students “It is not planned to study in the summer, because it would not be effective.” In this case, the possibility of delaying admission to master’s studies would be considered.
Remote space and lecture recordings
This spring semester will be the third to be organized remotely. “From this semester, the remote space is changing – we are moving to the Microsoft Teams platform. The volume of technical equipment continues to increase, ”says S. Pilkienė. Asked if teachers are ready to move lectures to another platform, the vice-rector says they had the opportunity to participate in the training and have all the necessary information about the new platform.
With regard to hosting lecture notes, there is no decision in Moodle to make this mandatory. Some teachers are reluctant to do so for, say, publicizing students if they appear on the record or because of intellectual property rights. Teachers are encouraged to place records, but students must also understand that they are expected to actively participate in the lectures.
The issue of academic integrity was also touched upon during the conversation. During settlements, professors devote less time to settlements to ensure that no transcripts are made. The Vice-Rector believes that this should not be the case: “The time allocated to the task must be adequate to the level of complexity of the task. It is necessary to work on the development of a culture of academic integrity, rather than choosing extremes or introducing measures that would stress students. Professors need to focus on questions that need to be answered without cheating. ”
If a student feels that there is not enough time for the assessment, it is necessary to contact the faculty with their comments or file an appeal about the improper organization of the assessment.
Schedules and attendance
If, after returning to contact lectures, students do not have enough time to go to another university building between lectures, then they should contact their faculty administration, which should at least make minimal adjustments to the lecture time.
It is very important to remember that attendance at lectures cannot be assessed because a student’s arrival or non-attendance at a lecture does not reflect his or her study achievements. “During the fall semester, teachers marked attendance to control the spread of COVID-19 at the university, but under normal circumstances, attendance cannot have any effect on student assessment. If a student did not present any specific task without participating in the lecture, it can be assessed, but not the fact of participation or non-participation itself, ”says S. Pilkienė
Another novelty awaits from the autumn semester of the next academic year – according to the amendments to the Study Regulations, students will be allowed to retake the mid-term exam once.
If you have any questions or problems regarding the organization of studies, please contact VMU Student Union via Facebook, Instagram, e-mail. email firstname.lastname@example.org or report the problem anonymously.