Brussels university will continue online lessons through 2021
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    Brussels university will continue online lessons through 2021

    © Belga

    The Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) will kick off the next academic year in an unprecedented manner in order to reduce risks linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

    ULB Dean Yvon Englert said that there would be no “going back to normal” after the summer break, since many uncertainties still remained regarding life after the lockdown.

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    In an interview with Le Soir, Englert said that through a “blended learning” system, the Francophone university would manage to continue teaching all the while keeping two-thirds of students off-campus.

    Each week, only one-third of students in each class and in each university year will be able to physically attend class, with the remaining 66% following the lessons live through distance-learning.

    The groups of students able to come to campus will rotate every week, in an effort to guarantee enough space to social-distance, as each lecture or classroom will be filled only at one-sixth of its actual capacity.

    Englert said students would also be able to listen to courses via podcasts and added that, in practice, the “blended learning” system could be “easily” adjusted following the evolution of the epidemic.

    “If it spikes back up, we will evidently move to only one week out of four [of on-site teaching], or to 100% distance-learning,” he said. “And if it dies down, [distance-learning] one every two weeks could be enough.”

    The news comes as several major universities and firms announced that they would continue distance-learning or working in some capacity.

    Last week, Cambridge University said that a majority of its lectures would be kept online throughout the new academic year, while tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook said their employees could keep working from home permanently or at least until December 2021.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times