The good, the bad and the ugly of online teaching

Universities across Europe are grappling with digital problems, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced campuses to shut down and move research and teaching online, but digital capabilities are not distributed equally across European universities, and deficiencies have delayed implementing systems for online teaching. Bandwidth and student access to computers are also an issue, writes Florin Zubascu for Science|Business.

Italy was the first country in Europe to completely shut down its universities and move teaching online. So far, students have reacted well to online courses, according to Gianluca Brunori, a professor of food policy and bioeconomy at the University of Pisa. “My personal experience is positive, students react very well,” Brunori told Science|Business.

But access has not been equal, moving the Italian government to announce an €85 million (US$95 million) aid package to support distance learning and to improve connectivity in isolated areas. The most common technical problem is slow internet connections, with video feeds freezing, making for a bumpy course experience. Because of low bandwidth and congested airways, “it is not always possible to keep all the cameras open,” Brunori said.
Full report on the Science|Business site