Facts and data about distance education
Almost all the more than 17,000 courses held by Eötvös Loránd University have been put on a digital distance teaching footing, and the proportion of courses that cannot be completed in the current situation is below one percent. Thanks to the integration of Neptune, in 9,390 of the 17,834 courses, collaboration spaces and virtual classrooms were created using the online teaching and communication tools (Teams, Canvas, and Moodle). In Microsoft Teams, which is the most widely used application for working remotely, the faculty members of ELTE exchange an average of 20,000 messages every day, and the number of online meetings and video calls is over one thousand per day.
The university also offers help to its teaching faculty on technical issues related to distance education. Our staff members engaged in this support have responded to hundreds of notices and requests recently. Additionally, a video conference has been held about the integration of Neptun and the online teaching applications by the ELTE IT Directorate with the participation of the vice president of Microsoft for education.
To maintain the smooth operation, to define the principles of uniform and predictable teaching and examinations, as well as to determine the conditions and principles of distance education, the ELTE Epidemiological Operative Coordinating Body has established temporary education and examination regulations, and – following the latest government measures – is continually updating these. For the remainder of the 2019/2020 academic year, no examination can be organised at the university (with special regard to master’s thesis defences, final exams, complex exams, doctoral comprehensive exams, workshop discussions, and doctoral thesis defences) with the personal presence of the students. However, the master’s and doctoral thesis defences have been held online at the faculties since the beginning of distance learning.
In this state of emergency due to the pandemic, ELTE has provided reinforced Wi-Fi service for students staying in dormitories (about ten percent of dormitory residents) and reimbursed half of the dormitory dues for March to those students who decided to move out. The ELTE Services Directorate has collected the most important university services available during distance teaching, whereas the ELTE Career Centre provides practical advice on home office and IT applications used in remote working. The Life Coaching and Counselling Centre at the ELTE Faculty of Education and Psychology offers help in more effective coping with the difficulties and anxieties caused by quarantine/isolation, and aims at relieving staff members with young children by providing online sessions for children as well. Furthermore, the Faculty of Social Sciences focuses on the MS Teams and MS Stream services that are most commonly used in remote working and has recently published some instructional videos.
Given that Hungary may enter a period of mass illness in the coronavirus epidemic, the university is also preparing for the replacement of potentially affected faculty members. On the basis of currently available information, it is not necessary to change the order of the academic year or to extend its length. The ELTE Epidemiological Operative Coordinating Body is continuously monitoring the current situation and, if needed, will take the necessary measures.