Eight months of distance learning: "We are approaching a critical point"

2020-11-11

March 18th, Uppsala University switched to distance teaching and examination. Eight months later, the BMC seminar halls and corridors still offer desolate experiences. How does this affect teachers and students, Anja Sandström, Deputy dean for first and second cycle education at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Anja Sandström, Deputy dean at the Faculty of Pharmacy
Anja Sandström, Deputy dean at the Faculty of Pharmacy

What is the status of the faculty's educations?
“We are mixing newly found routines surrounding online teaching with creating special solutions from day to day. It means everything from finding premises so that our new students can spend at least some time on campus to conducting this year's graduation ceremony with social distancing. At the same time, we are approaching a critical point where we, from accepting the situation and just moving on, risk ending up in a situation where the long-term effects begin to put their marks on both students, teachers, administrators and educations.”

BMC, 11 November, 10:55 PM
BMC, 11 November, 10:55 PM

How are the students affected by this involuntary distance learning?
“They continue to work in impressive ways, but without having evaluated the situation, I perceive signals that it is starting to affect many of them to sit at home. Unfortunately, teaching on campus seems to remain limited, and we will soon have to discuss what long-term solutions we can develop.”

And what about teachers and administrative staff?
“Of course, both groups are struggling hard. Everyone continues to contribute with great deeds, but we are aware that eventually this will take its toll. Therefore, our faculty must find directions for how we can offer the support needed.”

Do you see any values​​ in all this that can be of use post-corona?
“Absolutely. Above all, we see how much that can actually be done digitally. The thresholds have lowered for online-meetings, and by recording and offering lectures online, we have made education more accessible to a number of student groups. So even though it may be exhausting right now, it is undoubtedly investments that we will benefit greatly from in the future.”

While looking forward, what are your visions for the faculty's degree programs?
“The core must be a first-class education that gives each student what is required to take on the role of a future pharmaceutical expert. We will achieve this with a skilled teaching staff with good research connections and pedagogical methods that engage. We must also manage our revisions of our Bachelor and Master of Science Programmes in Pharmacy, as well as our Master's programmes, to which we welcome more and more international students. We also want to continue our important work in offering foreign pharmacists a chance to work in Sweden through supplementary training and knowledge tests. In parallel, I also hope to increase our collaboration with the profession. In short, there is no shortage of either opportunities or challenges, rather a matter of resources and priorities.”

Contact

Sandström, Anja cantact infoSandström, Anja, the Faculty of Pharmacy
Deputy dean for first and second cycle education
anja.sandstrom@ilk.uu.se, 018-471 5026

More information

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt, Magnus Alsne

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Last modified: 2021-11-05