We deeply appreciate each and every member of the KU community for preparing for the new semester in this difficult and worrisome time of COVID-19, heavy rain and typhoons.
Last July 27, we have informed you about the academic plan for the 2020 fall semester, which was as follows:
Main Points of the Academic Plan for the 2020 Fall Semester
(Notice provided on July 27, 2020)
1. The academic plan for the fall semester is in alignment with the quarantine rules set by the government. The same rules from the spring semester apply to the fall semester.
A. Restricted face-to-face lectures, where real-time online lectures are broadcasted simultaneously with offline lectures (i.e., NeMo Class) should be provided in the first and second stages of social distancing as designated by the government.
B. In the third stage of social distancing, all lectures should be provided online.
C. Regardless of the social distancing stage announced by the government, lectures should be provided online for the week immediately after the Chuseok holiday (from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9). During this week, face-to-face lectures are prohibited because there is a high risk of COVID-19 spreading across the country during the Chuseok holiday.
D. For laboratory and practicum courses, adherence to the basic principles of class management is highly recommended. However, face-to-face lectures can be conducted only when the following requirements are met:
1) When online classes are not possible or inappropriate due to the nature of the class
2) When students are either notified of the offline class prior to course registration or consent from all students enrolled in the class is obtained.
2. Online classes should be real-time (synchronous) lectures.
A. Real-time (synchronous) lectures should be provided for both online and offline parallel classes and online-only classes.
B. Recorded lectures are only allowed when it is inevitable, such as for a make-up class or for class provided during the exam period. Recorded lectures must be uploaded in accordance with the class time, and online learning activities must be conducted with students during the designated class time.
However, with the fall semester now upon us, 1) the recent spread of COVID-19 centering around Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas has become very serious, and 2) DDoS attacks launched by unidentified hacking forces against the university’s computer system during the course registration period, which disrupted the course registration process, have been continuing. It is almost certain that such DDoS attacks will occur against the university’s online lecture system immediately after the beginning of the semester.
In response to this situation, the university plans to partially revise the Academic Plan for the 2020 fall semester as follows:
1. Measures to Address the Recent Spread of COVID-19
A. Taking into consideration that delivering all lectures online is possible in the second stage of social distancing, for the beginning of the fall semester, lectures should mainly be delivered online and face-to-face lectures ought to be restricted to the necessary minimum extent.
B. With respect to courses that need to be taught face-to-face as online lectures either are not possible or inappropriate due to the nature of the course (e.g. laboratory and practicum courses), even if students have been notified of face-to-face lectures prior to course registration, registered students should be informed in advance so that they do not experience difficulties in attending lectures. Furthermore, alternatives to face-to-face lectures (e.g. provision of separate online contents) should be prepared for those students who cannot attend the lecture.
2. Measures to Address the DDoS Attacks Launched by External Forces
A. In the event DDoS attacks continue after the semester commences, the university’s computer network can be expected to be disrupted, which could result in unstable broadcasting and receiving of real-time online lectures. In turn, recorded lectures may be used until the problem of DDoS attacks is resolved.
B. In the event recorded lectures are used, in order to guarantee students’ right for learning and ensure the quality of online lectures, 1) lecture materials should be uploaded prior to the class time, and 2) in principle, lecture contents newly recorded for the 2020 fall semester should be provided.
C. Faculty members intending to provide lectures in real time should 1) to the greatest extent possible broadcast lectures from their home or locations other than the university to avoid possible DDoS attacks against the university’s computer network, and 2) provide separate records of their lectures in case real-time lectures are interrupted due to network failures.
D. Due to unexpected obstacles such as network failures or spread of COVID-19, students might face difficulty in attending lectures. Also, verifying attendance could become problematic. As the university has already implemented autonomy over attendance as a policy, faculty members are advised to reflect attendance in grades to the minimum extent.
With the new semester ahead, we are placed in a difficult situation where new developments such as DDoS attacks are compounding already existing crises. Relevant departments of the university administration will strive to the utmost to neutralize the DDoS attacks as well as prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on campus. We earnestly ask each and every member of the KU community to understand and cooperate to overcome the unforeseen and unprecedented challenges we are facing today.
Aug. 28, 2020
Korea University Office of Academic Affairs