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SKKU-SOM students

My Experience of the Spring Online Classes Due to COVID-19

[[M2 Jiwon YU]]

As a preventive measure of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak, Sungkyunkwan University moved to conduct all classes for the 2020 spring semester online. Accordingly, the Medical School followed to rearrange the schedule of clinical practices and replace in-class lectures with online education.

As of now, it has been almost a full semester since students began participating in online classes. During that time, there were many tragicomic situations. Professors and students were all somewhat confused since SKKU-SOM has never had to practice distance learning. Experiencing online classes was unexpected, but now having completed the semester, I believe that the COVID-19 Pandemic can awaken us to the realization that the time in which we can study together is precious.

What made me think about the significance of in-class room learning recently was the SPBL (Social Problem Based Learning or Social Project Based Learning) course, which was one of the courses in my curriculum this year. This course is differentiated from other conventional classes, where a lecturer delivers knowledge one-way to students, because students have to solve a given social problem without the intervention of professors. It is a meaningful course orchestrated for preliminary medical students to cultivate our leadership, which will be necessary for solving social medicine problems in changing times. At first, there was a concern that an online learning environment might disturb an active interaction between the students, and naturally, some incidents of poor video conferences occurred. Non-verbal communication is important when reaching a consensus in the classroom, but distance learning made it difficult for students to understand these types of non-verbal signs among one another. Having this experience of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I have decided not to take my in-class learning for granted; studying in the same space is par for the course. Albeit, the online courses didn't hinder my desire to communicate effectively. For example, I didn't feel much difference with the aspect of asking questions to professors. And not only that, the students could replay the online video lectures again, so it seems very helpful for students' studying improvement.

Unfortunately, it is a shame that M2 students weren't able to welcome the incoming freshmen at events, such as the Welcome Invitation or the club activities. My classmates thought that M1 students would be going through a more difficult time as they couldn't get much information about school life or applying for specialized classes. Therefore, we decided to try a new system, "One-on-one Mentoring" program between seniors and juniors', to help out M1 students. Exchanging messages with juniors was not conducted in a real face-to-face meeting, but this brief exchange allowed us to gain a sense of responsibility as senior students. Furthermore, to refresh the non-dynamic school life of students, Kissa, a band club, made several units composed of M1 and M2 students. Given the current conditions, we have been practicing well together. We all hope that this gave energy to the junior members. I eagerly wait for the time when we can return to normal club activities and interactions.

In closing, I want to applaud all of our superiors since they have been undergoing difficult training in difficult times. And, I really want to thank all the professors and school faculty from the bottom of my heart. You have been providing a stable education system during this chaotic situation. Thank you and stay healthy!