My name is Gal Benzadon and I’m a third-year Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media student. I’m going to tell you a little about my experience as a university student during the coronavirus outbreak.
Thanks to years of experience with virtual teaching, IE University has chosen to continue operating, providing online classes so that students don’t miss a thing. Since March 9th, when the Community of Madrid announced school closures throughout the region, IE University has provided 30,000 online sessions to 7,000 undergraduate students from 140 countries.
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a global pandemic that has been disrupting the international community since it broke out in late 2019. Due to its high rate of transmission, educational institutions, shops, and most public spaces have been temporarily closed in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.
From a distant news story to school closure
A few months ago when the news came out about the coronavirus in Wuhan, I saw it as something distant. I didn’t think that it would come to Europe, or Spain, or Madrid, or Segovia. Not to mention IE University! From then on, I haven’t been able to believe what’s going on. I can’t believe that we’re going through this in 2020, but I do know that I’m at the university that’s best prepared to face the virus.
When the first case came to IE University in Segovia, the university immediately began to take action. Once the second case appeared, the Segovia campus closed, but online classes were already ready to go. In Madrid, we were able to do online and in-person classes. And before all of this unfolded, we had a training session to help us prepare.
Using technology to stay ahead of coronavirus
The university began using Adobe Connect ahead of time. It allowed all of the students at IE University to connect to their classrooms and have class as normal—but online. The camera puts the professor on the class screen, where you can see all the material for the class. It’s so amazing that we were able to form groups during the class, connect with other students and even do online presentations. You can chat with other students, ask the professor questions, and talk.
It’s clear that the university is familiar with cutting-edge technology just by seeing how great and efficient these online classes are. They feel exactly the same as in-person classes. The only difference is that we’re on the computer and no one is next to us. The classrooms are easy to access and they make it easy to engage and participate. The professors and the university as a whole are very present and help us feel safe. The most incredible part is that we can all be in a secure environment and be in class at home.
In the same way, as students have been able to go back home, no matter how far we are from each other, everyone can join and participate in the class.
Fellow students are grateful for online classes amidst the global pandemic
“Personally, I feel like online classes work really well. I think that we all feel a duty to fully show our respect and presence to the teacher and to our peers so there’s so much more active participation. Maybe the fact that it’s online also allows for people who don’t usually speak up to feel more comfortable expressing their opinions, so there’s way more discussion!” – Sveva Fossati
“At first I was skeptical, but now I think they’re a great tool to have in light of COVID-19 until the Spanish Ministry of Education figures out how we can go back to normal classes.” – Cinda Escalante
“In my opinion, even though the online format is not as ideal as the face-to-face classes, there are upsides too. These include the fact that online classes allow students to take the class wherever they are, which in the end is convenient since time management for university students is always a challenge.” – Enrique Garcia
“I’d say classes are less engaging but it’s a good way to have them so we don’t fall behind in the course.” – Pedro Yague
“Something great about having online classes is that you can still learn wherever you are. The communication is still the same as if we were physically there and any question can be answered by our professor in that moment. IE University has demonstrated that the safety and well-being of their community is their main priority but so is their obligation to educate. With these measures they have fulfilled both.” – Martina Hinojosa
We can see how IE University has been able to give us the opportunity to continue with our classes and our day-to-day lives in the situation we’re in. This means that next month we’ll be able to continue supporting each other with this issue.
All in all, we’re lucky to have modern technology that allows us to continue as we have. No matter where we are in the world or what time zone we’re in, online classes are giving us this opportunity to stay strong and not miss out on anything. That’s why I feel that everything is working out very well. No matter how difficult it may be for everyone, we are doing fine. As a community, we will continue to show the unique, international and innovative spirit of IE University.