The challenge of continuing education during this lockdown-situation

Olivier van Doorn

During these times when COVID-19 has spread across the world, people’s lives are being affected by the measures taken to control the spread of the virus and prevent more deaths. I am making the best out of the current situation staying at my dorm and keeping myself active by biking in the hills, cooking tasty dishes and hanging out with my roommates. I try to do the best I can to continue my exchange-program here in Denmark through online means. This lockdown-situation disturbs the daily activities of most people and is causing great uncertainty for many. Staff working and students studying at schools and universities are facing challenges because people are not able to meet physically. On the 13th of March 2020 everyone in Denmark doing non-essential jobs in the public sector has been ordered to stay home for two weeks. As a result DMJX – Danish School for Media and journalism; the faculty that me and my fellow reporters were attending, has been closed since.

This was just before the start of the weekend. At this moment like many, I felt uncertainty regarding the continuation of the exchange program that I am currently taking part in. My fellow students living at my dorm in Aarhus had similar feelings. We thought that two weeks without lectures would not be that bad at all but hoped that things would soon be back as normal. Soon it was however clear that this situation was going to be like this for a while. We wouldhave to make the best out of it and be flexible so our study-program would be able to continue in a favourable way.

In contact with their colleagues and students through online tools and behind the scenes, staff at schools and universities are working hard to make sure that students are able to continue the programs that they are taking part in. Asbjørn Jorgensen, organiser and lecturer at DMJX working with us on the Euroviews-project is experiencing this first hand.

One of the biggest problems for us as staff is that we are not able to meet with each other and students physically. This especially makes it hard to know how students are feeling during this situation and it is also very hard to estimate how their learning-process is progressing. – Asbjørn Jorgensen, DMJX

This time makes me extra aware of how lucky I am to be able to work on my skills and gain knowledge through the pursuit of education. In the past, myself, like many other people, had days where I felt like staying in bed a little longer when I had to attend school early in the morning. I do however have the feeling that for a lot of the students, the fact that we should be grateful to be able to receive education at all, is highlighted during these times. At least that’s true for me. 

The strange times that we are going through as students being physically separated from each other and working by online means, however, doesn’t just offer challenges. It also brings opportunities to work in different ways through online tools, getting more comfortable using all kinds of applications to communicate and work together online. 

By meeting up, doing interviews and doing research through digital ways we were able to continue with our program after a couple of days. Since our original plan was to travel to Estonia and Croatia to report on the ways that people interact with each other, and all of the continent is on lockdown, we had to change our plans drastically. We needed some time to get our new plans going, butthings are now running smoothly.

The students living around me are experiencing different types of changes because of the measures that have been taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some of them are having serious issues.

I am doing an exchange program on Business at the Aarhus Business academy. I have mixed feelings on the way that following lectures over the internet works. On one hand it’s nice you don’t have to travel to the university and are able to skip parts of lectures that you already have a lot of knowledge on. On the other hand, the feeling in the classroom is different especially when people have their cameras off and microphones muted and you don’t have any idea whether people are paying attention or not.   – Leo

I am studying Financial Management and Services at Business Academy Aarhus. This semester I was writing my thesis which got jeopardised due to this coronavirus. the company that I am writing about got lockdown and they cannot offer me any type of interview, as it’s required by my university to have some type of communication with the selected company. I don’t have any control on this situation, therefore I had to give up on this paper. This means that I failed my second attempt and I need to start writing a new one covering a new topic. – Damir

The Danish prime-minister recently said that measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 may be lightened or lifted before easter. Asbjørn is closely following the latest developments on the spread of coronavirus and the effects that active measures might have on education. He foresees some challenges for education, especially when it comes to exchange-programs.

The biggest risk for education is posed towards exchange-students who have moved back to their home-country and will not be able return to Denmark. This is because even though, it is likely that measures will be lightened soon here there is a great chance that many countries won’t let anyone enter or leave, which makes it likely that many exchange-students that returned to their home-country will not be able to return. – Asbjørn  Jorgensen ,DMJX

I hope that Asbjørn’s first expectation for the future is true, and that daily life will get back to normal slowly soon here and around the rest of the world. I think it is obvious that a lot of people feel this way, but I hope that this pandemic will end soon and that I will be able to reunite with all of my fellow exchange-students who moved home or are staying on lockdown in Aarhus. For now I am happy that I am at least able to pursue education online.

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