Professor Dr. Adem Esen: “Digital Education Enabled Us to Keep in Touch with Students"

Coronavirus (COVID-19), which affected the whole world, caused disruptions and changes in many sectors as well as the education sector. In many countries around the world, including Turkey, formal education has been cut off in schools. İstanbul University Faculty of Political Sciences; Department of Political Science and Public Administration Department Head Prof. Dr. Adem Esen evaluated the impact of coronavirus on academicians and university students.

After Prof. Dr. Yekta Saraç, the Chairman of YÖK, stated that formal education in universities was delayed under coronavirus measures and that face-to-face education would not be held in the spring semester, university students in Turkey continued their education as online education from home. The process of digitization in education has been accelerated with the break given to the ‘face-to-face education’.

It Was Experience for Universities

Professor Dr. Esen said: “Because of the spread of the epidemic through communities, it was a necessity to make schools on holiday in Turkey as it was done all over the world.” Prof. Dr. Esen stated that: “Otherwise the virus would have spread quickly in a short time and could not be overcome. Universities have done studies to avoid disrupting education and because of that, experience has been gained on this issue.”

“Digital Education Keeps Students in Touch”

“Universities such as İstanbul University with distance education programmes found the solution easily, but those who did not prepare for it were forced and had a hard time.” Prof. Dr. Esen said: “Here, the lack of domestic software has been noticed. Obviously with digitization, how much foreign currency is spent (imports are made) should also be investigated.” Prof. Dr. Esen pointed out that digital education is suitable for keeping in touch with students.

“Universities Need to Move to the Understanding of ‘Academic Planning’ ”

“Apart from some contributions, distance education is not a substitute for face-to-face education, especially in Applied Sciences.” Prof. Dr. Esen said: “In this process, we had the opportunity to determine that the preparations of the lecturers who taught some lessons were not enough. It was also understood that, especially in some verbal classes, faculty members told improvised lectures without giving materials. Since some documents for such courses had to be processed into the system, faculty members also had to work. It is also the first time that some faculty members have gone through such an educational process. Exam experience is also new. Accordingly, universities need to move to an understanding of ‘academic planning’.”

“Communication Channels with Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree Students Must Be Kept Alive”

Prof. Dr. Esen said: “Communication channels with bachelor's degree and master's degree students should be kept alive. Students need to be encouraged to do research and read books. Therefore, training with slides may not be enough. Maybe subjects such as the types of exams, homework, digital exams, are being experienced. The experience of the faculty members in the field of examination is increasing. On the other hand, digital education is also required to conduct a detailed recycling analysis.”

How Should Students Be Supported in This Process?

Prof. Dr. Esen said: “Students in need can be identified. As a matter of fact, İstanbul University has done a good work in this direction and announced it to us. In this process, students can be reminded frequently of publications, other national and international publications, which are primarily accessible to the University. Let us think about that; people forget, we must remind them. It is also useful to constantly bring up these reminders on social media platforms where students influence each other. It is useful to periodically remind students about their sports, balanced diet, sleep patterns, etc. through university social media. Sayings and words from Mevlana and Yunus can often be recalled. Students may be given a word or sentence to memorize each day for foreign language development. Arts and cultural activities can be brought to their attention. Harmful platforms should also be pursued legally, with attention to digital security here.”

“Faculty Members Were Also Psychologically Affected”

Prof. Dr. Esen gave advice on how to support the students who could not leave home for a long time when schools were closed. He made the following explanation: “Faculty members experienced psychological effects like everyone else. Besides, faculty members have had the opportunity to complete some projects. If we evaluate the process on personal level; in addition to gaining some weight, the process gave people the opportunity to rest at home, read and write.”

News: Esra Nur DÖNMEZ
Translation: Yasemin UĞURLU
İU Department of Corporate Communication

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