Thousands of Euro’s for 3 Pixels
We all have seen the weekly emails with updates on the TU/e policy regarding the pandemic. We’ve also all noticed the changes in the course set-up or at least the adaptation of some modules to fit the new online-education mode. Nonetheless, months into this no-longer-new period of our lives, some students are still facing difficulties with figuring their way out through their degrees.
During the first weeks of this new academic year, students have noticed how some teachers were unprepared and seemed lost in their presentations. From checking who’s turn it is to speak to not being able to figure out the microphone/webcam. This was acceptable a few months ago, but by now this should have all been resolved, taught, and well-communicated amongst the staff.
One student even stated that TU/e should have equipped the teaching staff with appropriate webcams, headsets and microphones to ensure the quality of the online meetings or lectures. Instead, some students’ screens are left glitchy and lagging with the lack of their instructor’s connectivity or low quality cameras.
This has been somewhat of an ‘across-the-board’ (in fact, it’s across-the-globe) situation, with some students sharing a bingo of instances they have faced with their new online courses. Boxes are filled with phrases such as “can you hear me?” or “can you see me?”. It also includes cases where the “person is muted”, “conference [unintentionally] ended”, or the “presentation is missing”. While this was a fun way to spend the lost time during those presentations, it reflects on a larger problem which is the quality of the education provided.
A fellow columnist at Cursor, Colin Claessen, had noticed the increasing absence of students. From experience, this could very well be partially attributed to the added difficulty of actually following the lectures/presentations given. Simply, no one has the tolerance nor patience to have to deal with chaotic presentations and horrible audio quality which ends up feeling like a big waste of time. And, they really shouldn’t have to.
Personally, I resorted to watching the pre-recorded lectures from previous years but I also fully understand that that is a privilege that not all of us can benefit from. A lot of courses require updated knowledge, practical presence (tutoring hours) or have curriculum changes hence, forcing a ‘live’ presence.
By now, TU/e has received tuition from students and so, it promised, in return, an education and experience that reflects that assigned value. As such, it becomes their responsibility to ensure the quality and to regulate the progression via online tools. The same is expected in terms of availability of accessibility means such as software, licensing, or the student VPN connection.
Nonetheless, this also doubles as a thank you letter to the teachers who took it upon themselves to ensure the quality of their courses. If you went out to purchase new equipment or even practiced using the new software; it shows and you are greatly appreciated by us all.