Distance teaching extended until end of spring term
On 9 March, the KI president decided to extend distance teaching at the university until 6 June, with the exception of practical activities and exams that cannot be done remotely without compromising quality.
This decision comes almost exactly a year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO (11 March 2020). A week later, KI switched to distance teaching – one of all the measures, restrictions and recommendations that were to follow to prevent the transmission of the virus. Exceptions have been made, however, for practicals, skills training and other educational activities that cannot be done remotely.
Everyone has felt the consequences of the pandemic in one way or another, especially the students.
“For university students this period is normally one that makes a life-long impression on them,” says Ole Petter Ottersen. “It’s an intense time, full of hard work as well as joy, parties and socialising with friends and future colleagues. Much of this has now been snatched away from them and I understand what a huge disappointment it must be. I sympathise with them deeply and can only encourage all students to hold out, act responsibly and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The question of on-campus exams sparked a discussion last autumn. The university management was in close contact with the student unions and individual students at the time, and measures were taken to guarantee as safe and uncontaminated environment as possible. Amongst other things, this has involved limiting the number of students on our premises, making sure that face masks and hand sanitisers are available, increasing the rate of cleaning and, as far as possible, scheduling exams to spare students having to travel during rush hour.
“I think that the students generally understand that the situation is a problematic and challenging one,” says Academic Vice President for Education Annika Östman Wernerson. “We have to be solution-orientated and continue working to ensure that the quality of KI’s education remains at the level that both students and society have the right to demand.”
“We take pains to ensure that the students graduate and enter society with the vital vocational skills that they’ve acquired, which is particularly evident in this situation,” she adds.
Planning the coming autumn term
“We hope, of course, that the vaccination programme will quickly reduce the spread of infection and that we can return to more on-campus teaching this autumn,” she continues. “But we must work from several scenarios that include a continued focus on distance teaching.”
She praises all the efforts and sacrifices that students, teachers and other staff at KI have made over the past year.
The President also stresses the heavy demands that the pandemic has placed on society, not least on higher education.
“At the same time, we also need to do what we can to make sure that physical distancing doesn’t lead to social isolation,” says President Ottersen. “Under these current circumstances, it’s more important than ever that we stay in touch and show that we care for each other, even it’s done remotely.”