Preparing for Distance Learning



an interview with Rector Prof. Dr. András Náhlik – 16 March

At the University of Sopron, preparations are underway during the early spring break due to the epidemic emergency in order to make the transition to online distance education from next week as smooth as possible. We have asked Prof. Dr. András Náhlik, Rector a few questions about this work. We plan to report on this activity every day during the break, informing our University citizens about the preparations.

Rector! Last Wednesday, the government announced a ban on access to higher education institutions. Last week's Thursday and Friday, there was a rector's break, now students are taking an early spring break, and next week's Monday online distance learning will start. What preparations have been made to this end?

First of all, it is important to note that academic staff of the University of Sopron do their utmost to provide students with the necessary course materials to meet the requirements of the semester. Of course, the new situation calls for new solutions, so this week all instructors and supervisors were given the task of reviewing how best to transfer knowledge. This is currently being compiled, and we must also inform the Ministry of this work. We can already see that there can be no unified scenario in this regard: different solutions, different ways of communication are expected, but one rule cannot be avoided: communication cannot be in-person, only via virtual space, or possibly over the phone.

What should students prepare for? What can they expect?

Even prior to the learning period, it is extremely important that during the spring break, the provisions of the Government and the Operational Group are respected and responsible behaviour is maintained in all circumstances.

We ask all students for responsible behaviour, worthy of being a university citizen as regards acquiring the course materials in this extraordinary situation. All students are expected to follow information coming from the University and academic staff and to be prepared for focusing on the learning materials as a daily routine as of 23 March. Online distance learning is not going to be a one-way communication: we are planning it as an interactive way of learning where students are expected to give continuous feedback on completing the assignments.

Students also had to leave the dormitories.

That's right, and with such a large number of students, rooms and buildings, it is a big enough challenge. It needs to be mentioned that we have to face further difficulties in complying with the decision of the central Operational Group of Saturday evening, 14 March concerning the complete evacuation. Students were given the opportunity to move out of the dormitories until 2 pm, Tuesday, 17 March, in some cases with the written permission of their fellow-students. All international students and some Hungarian students based on accepted leniency applications are allowed to stay in the dormitory, we keep them informed about any further actions.