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Students in S. Korea kick start much delayed new semester 'virtually' Updated: 2020-04-09 17:05:40 KST

On the first day of the new semester, high school senior Shin So-min is at home.
Instead of taking a 30 minute ride to school, she opens her laptop and logs in to her virtual classroom.
The attendance rate, which was only about one-third of the class during the test run, has risen to one-hundred percent.
She first exchanges virtual "hello"s with her classmates who she hasn't seen for months.
The teacher instructs students to turn on the camera and audio so that they can engage in some Q&A.

"So-min, how would you define travel?"

"Travel is action. Even if you do a lot of planning, it becomes nothing without action."

The class is shorter than the usual 50-minute lessons as the free version of the e-studying platform has a 40-minute time cap.
But other than that, the virtual classroom isn't too different.

"It's just the matter of whether it's face-to-face or on screen. And how great is it that I could see my friends at least like this? I thought I wouldn't be able to see them until the summer."

Not all lessons use this real-time video conferencing. Some will use pre-recorded videos or have assignments for students to do instead.

"Actually, most of the classes are in pre-recorded form. Still, they are helpful because I can go back and revisit parts that I don't understand well."

"While schools are closed for students, they remain open for teachers, who've created their own studios for online lectures."

From webcam to microphone, the technology is all set to go, but it's going to take a little more time for a smooth transition to online classes.

"Some students still don't have smart devices and those using their smartphones, their data quickly runs out. And one disabled student had an especially difficult time today."

For that, the government is making efforts to make sure all students have access to a computer and internet connectivity in the weeks to come.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
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