There is great interest in online lectures from seniors

12. 11. 2020 -

The coronavirus pandemic did not stop Czech seniors. The vast majority of them have IT technology for remote learning, and more than half are still interested in this learning format, according to a statistical sample of members from the University of the Third Age of Mendel University in Brno, which is transitioning to online learning. Seniors who are not interested in remote learning prefer social contact with lecturers and classmates.

Remote teaching takes place in the form of live broadcasts. "We have considered various technical solutions and platforms. It was crucial to be a form that would be as accessible to seniors as possible. In the end, we opted for YouTube live streaming. We go directly to the studio with the lecturers, so we manage to produce videos in good quality, both in terms of sound and image," said Lenka Kamanová, head of the Department of Senior Education at the Institute of Lifelong Learning. Lecturers use two forms of recording. Either a picture-in-picture is used, where both the presentation and the lecturer are visible, or a variant where only the presentation is visualized and the lecturer accompanies the lecture in words.

The University of the Third Age broadcasts three to four times a week. The broadcast lasts 60-90 minutes, and after its completion, the lecture is open for another week. "This is very much welcomed by our members because they can look at the lectures at the time that suits them best and they can go to them more than once. The lecture on Medicinal, aromatic, and spice plants keeps a record in the number of views. We are also preparing the opportunity to chat, where seniors would write their questions, and the lecturer would answer them," said Kamanová.

Seniors praise online tuition. "Even though I am at home, I have contact with the school, with the lecturers, and I have the opportunity to learn new things. I'm glad I don't just have to listen to the news of infections and deaths. The advantage of remote learning is that no one threatens me, and I do not threaten anyone. I can watch the lecture at a time that suits me and as many times as I want. If something is not clear to me, I can go back and listen to it again. But I lack contact with the lecturer and other listeners," said Jana Tučková.

"The current pandemic is a time of challenges that lie ahead and must not be intimidated. The online form of teaching provides an opportunity for seniors who have health problems, and they could not attend full-time education. It also opens up space for seniors who have a hard time hearing, and there are also a large number of them. In the comfort of their home, they can adapt the sound of the lecture to their needs," said Kamanová. According to her, the online broadcast also makes information available to those seniors who are worried about coming to unfamiliar areas or to those who take care of their partner at home.