From Prague to Plague

Empty lecture theatres tell the story. “Distance Learning” by derekbruff

A Kent Union survey has found out that 42% of student respondents are not satisfied with the quality of their online learning experience.

I come from Prague, in the Czech Republic, and now I am studying at home because the University of Kent has shifted all courses (except medicine, pharmacy and social work) online. Many European students at Kent will be attending classes from their home countries.

Beatriz Barreto, a third year English and American Literature with Creative Writing student, is staying in Portugal. She is planning on coming back in March.

“I will eventually go back to Canterbury because I don’t have a good environment at home to study,” she said. “Unfortunately, I have to deal with it for most of this term and the third term last year.”

Beatriz also does not believe that online learning is adequate for her in-person experience. “Online degrees anywhere are never this expensive for a reason. I don’t feel I get enough focused help or advice like I would in person, especially as it’s much harder to focus when everything is online,” she added.

Anna Tunková, a Czech student of Cultural Studies, Media and Journalism, at the University of Kent, is feeling similarly. Her reasons for coming back to England are mainly because of rent. “I don’t live on campus and I don’t think I will get any rent reduction. I will come back eventually just to be there as I am paying for it,” she told me.

In fact, the University has started a rent reduction scheme for student accommodations and stated that Kent Union is helping students living off-campus. But Anna believes her online course is not equal to in-person learning. “I feel like the human contact is much different than when you see the people on screen,” she added.

Robert Bailey is a Director of Education for The Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent. He also teaches reporting there. Bailey stated that the situation with lockdown will create new challenges, as students will be studying from home.