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Assistant Professor of the University of Nottingham named the main challenges of online education at St. Petersburg International Legal Forum

Assistant Professor in Commercial Law of the University of Nottingham (Great Britain) Orsolya Toth, while speaking at the session “Education without a Break: Studying in Isolation” at SPILF 91/2, outlined several challenges that university lecturers face in the transition to distance learning.

“The obvious technological barrier: the absence of face-to-face contact and communication, the fact that even online the lecturer cannot see all the faces (some students are in the background, they may as well have switched off their cameras). We as teachers have no idea what is going on, whereas in a live setting we really see that some students’ attention is not really focused on the actual class, we can gently steer them back to the present moment. Then there is the different nature of students, some of them are naturally more communicative, more comfortable with technology, others are not so much. This will affect their level of engagement and those who are naturally shy or introverted, they do not feel that they are appearing and this will limit their engagement. The other challenge is the location of students. We have large numbers of students from Asia, China, and the time zone difference often makes it difficult or even impossible to schedule a synchronous online session. We need to come up with new and creation solutions for these challenges. Students may download recorded lectures, but they should not be disadvantaged”, stressed Orsolya Toth. 

Even the constant change of services, noted the Professor, cannot yet solve these problems.

At the same time, Professor highlighted the positive aspects of online learning. Orshoya Toth observed that in her relationship with students there is more friendliness and closeness. The attendance, according to the specialist, has not decreased, but partly increased.

St. Petersburg International Legal Forum 9 ½: The Rule of Corona will be held online from April 10 to 12. Heads of Russian and international authorities, lawyers, researchers, politicians and journalists will take part in virtual discussions. The main topic of the forum is legal aspects of public and business life in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.