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LABORATORIES! WE MADE IT!

Few universities in Poland managed to maintain laboratory classes in experimental faculties in the winter semester. The University of Wrocław belongs to this group. It required a lot of logistical effort – because 15 people were able to participate in the classes a year earlier – now it was possible only for 5 people. Obligatory temperature checking, social distance, health statements. As students who took part in such classes say: if you look for any “coronavirus positives”… this is it! Due to sanitary restrictions and the presence of 5-8 people in the laboratories, the classes were comfortable and the teachers had much more time for the individual students.

Remote classes were a challenge mainly for academic teachers. The historian, professor Krzysztof Ruchniewicz writes about it extensively. He tested various types of conducting classes.

– This semester I conducted various types of remote classes. The assumptions I made at the beginning of the semester proved to be successful. Students participated in classes and lectures in an exemplary manner (I have never had such attendance in full-time classes). The variety of methods meant that I was dealing not only with logged in users, but with active participants. Final assignments were at least at a good level – describes Ruchniewicz.

Lecturer in history and the head of the Willy Brandt Centre had various distance classes this semester – seminars, workshops and lectures. He tested various class schemes. Ultimately, he proposed two, one for seminars/workshops and one for lectures.

– The scheme for the first type of classes worked quite well, I will also implement it in the next semester. I am not entirely satisfied with the second one. In the case of the first scheme, I had 1.5 hours at my disposal. After a short introduction, I invited students to work in three subgroups (four did not work out, there was too little time for the other parts of the class). Students were given precise instructions for their tasks. Then one of the representatives of the subgroup reported the results at the forum. Often, students used points written in the word. Then there was a brief discussion. After a 5-minute break, I resumed classes. There was time for a short break, but also for checking the presentation technique, which was to be shown by one of the students. At the end, we summarized the topic (recapitulation) and briefly discussed the issues of the next meeting.

The lectures were troublesome. How to do it, in order not to be boring, to maintain concentration for 1.5 hours.

– At the beginning I proposed two forms to the students. Video recordings followed by a discussion. This solution was rejected. So I tried to implement a different solution. Initially, I divided the lecture into three parts. After each of them, I planned a 5-minute break. I managed to do the first two lectures this way. Then it got harder and harder. Three parts became two parts.

You can find more conclusions of Professor Ruchniewicz here: https://krzysztofruchniewicz.pl/zdalne-zajecia-podsumowanie/ The professor encourages discussion and asks students for feedback, because we are all still learning how to work and study online.

Not online at all, but quite in reality were functioning students of experimental faculties. Classes in laboratories under the sanitary regime meant that, for example, out of the 15 available positions, only 7 could be used. Therefore, departments often divided the “labs” into two or three groups. Students liked that, because the comfort of work, learning and conducting experiments has increased significantly:

“You learn differently when you have a lecturer almost exclusively to yourself, because there are six people in total in the room. It’s a bit stressful, because you can’t hide in the crowd, but I’m also sure that I have not only passed my labs, but I can do everything at 100% ”

“I can even write that from this perspective the coronavirus is – I never thought I would write this: cool. Due to these sanitary conditions, distance and so on – the classes in the laboratories were great. I am in the 3rd year and this semester I feel that I have learned the most ”

Students write in anonymous questionnaires summarizing this semester. What do they say officially? Listen – we were visiting the Chemistry Department on the last day of the semester.

Published by: Małgorzata Jurkiewicz

12 Feb 2021

last modification: 17 Feb 2021