Since March 23rd, NEOMA students have been following all their courses in a virtual classroom. Since this date, more than 100 classes are being taught each day to more than 3000 students. There are something like 10,000 ZOOM connections every day, which means almost 100 % student attendance. A new situation during which professors and students exchange ideas, share points of view and hold discussions via their computer screens. How are students finding this new learning method? A number of NEOMA students share their experience.
A simple and seamless transition to digital teaching methods
For the professors, the shift to remote teaching has meant a radical rethinking of their teaching methods. For the students, the shift to a 100% digital format is relatively simple as long as they are familiar with the technology. "The classes are in the form of video conferences on Zoom. It is a really good application with a number of practical options such as screen sharing, for example," explains Benjamin. "The transition is going really well, and although oral participation is dense, it isn't too noisy. I honestly don't see a better option than the one we are using at present."
An equally seamless revolution for Mylène, who notes that "everything was set up smoothly. I have the exact same number of teaching hours and in the usual slots. And it involves just as much personal preparation time. We are maybe working on a computer, but this doesn't really change much because we were used to a certain amount of digital teaching work."
Closer proximity with teachers
Benjamin really appreciates the efforts made by the teachers. "They are also feeling the effects of the confinement. They are with their families, sometimes with their children, but they are adapting! The way they have to organise and teach their classes must be really different, but it's not really noticeable..."
David notes just how much more available the teachers are. "They're well prepared and they listen. We receive a lot of teaching material by e-mail, exercises and corrections. The teachers stay online after the video-conference and answer any questions we may have. They try to make themselves available as much as possible and that is highly appreciated, especially under these conditions".
Manon also notes that "the video conference format was a bit surprising at first. But it nevertheless allows for direct exchange with the teachers. It hasn't really had any effect on understanding the course. Plus, we can easily contact our teachers, if we need to."
A successful transition with a mixture of enthusiasm and nostalgia
Even if the pedagogical continuity has been assured, the disruption to the students' usual routine has left them with mixed feelings of enthusiasm and nostalgia for traditional classroom teaching. "I'm a real advocate of face-to-face teaching. I don't deny that there are a number of advantages to remote classes, especially from a practical viewpoint. But at times it is complicated to stay concentrated because at home there are a lot of distractions.... However, I have the exams in sight and I'm doing my best to remain focused," says David.
This feeling is shared by Mylene. "The number of class hours in front of the computer soon adds up. Online interaction is undeniable and participation in class isn't affected. But for me, nothing can replace the real thing!"
Célia feels differently and sees digital technology as an opportunity to explore new learning methods. "Paradoxically, we are less intimidated. With the Chat option, we exchange more during the class, speaking is easier and we share more ideas than in the classroom. And all from the comfort of our own home! I am really impressed by this new format. I think it is really, really good!"
Benjamin concludes by sharing his secret for success. "The days are passing by really quickly and although we have a lot of work, I try to take a few breaks. It's a question of finding a new balance!"