The Hebrew University is committed to academic excellence at all times and is investing substantial resources in assuring that its high standards of teaching and research will not be compromised by the current pandemic.
The world has had to contend with many plagues since Plato founded the first university in Greece in the year 387 BCE… Ever since then, the purpose of academia has been to enable researchers and student to enrich human knowledge through critical analysis of texts, group discussions and active participation during classes.
This mission has been greatly challenged this past year, when most academic institutions around the world were forced to adopt distance learning and a digital experience of group discussions and active participation.
The 2020-21 academic year has opened with distance teaching and learning, through Zoom. Starting April 4, 2021, we will transition to teaching that will take place mostly in classrooms on campus. Attendance in classrooms, teaching labs and practical or clinical training will be limited to those with a green pass only (the green pass is granted to persons who have been vaccinated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or who are recovering/recovered from COVID-19). Entry to the campus will be allowed also to those who do not have a green pass, by presenting an up-to-date negative result on a COVID-19 test.
However, entry to classrooms will be restricted to those with a green pass only.
A significant part of the lessons will be held in “parallel teaching” format due to limitations regarding class attendance for those with a green pass only and a limit of up to 300 students per lecture hall (and 75% of the maximum number of seats in the class). Therefore, a minority of students enrolled in the class will participate remotely.
Entry to campus is restricted to those who have a green pass or who present an up-to-date COVID-19 negative test.
We will continue to make every effort to improve the learning experience by expanding the infrastructure, providing special training seminars to all of the academic faculty, increasing the use of alternative methods of evaluation, combining distance learning with in-classroom learning, etc.
We recommend living in the university dorms or renting a place in the city where you are studying (Jerusalem or Rehovot), because social interaction is beneficial even if most classes are online. Moreover, libraries, computer centers and study areas remain open.
Tips for effective online studying
Just wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, drink a cup of coffee and… off to study: turn on your computer and begin learning. Sounds easy, right? Well, it isn’t! We know that it isn’t easy at all to sit for many hours in front of the computer screen and learn about macromolecules or Ancient Hebrew punctuation or anything else. It’s completely different than what you were used to and requires a different way of getting organized. Here are some useful tips for studying online:
- Organizing your time
- Draw up a weekly study schedule and divide it up by days and hours
- For each class, define specific hours for doing homework and studying
- Mark the dates when all assignments are due on a calendar
- Finding support and help
- Check whether you’re missing information from the professor or the teaching staff, and request the information in time
- Turn to your fellow students through existing online forums on the courses’ Moodle websites and through other means of communication, such as WhattsApp or Facebook
- When you sit down to study
- Study according to the amount of time you decided in advance and take breaks
- Organize in advance everything you require in order to study
- Create a pleasant study environment and take away all potential sources of distraction
- It’s important to adapt guilt-free study habits. This short film will give you advice on how to do this
- Effective revising of the material you learned
Here are some very efficient learning strategies that we have gathered for you (as well as some that you should avoid…):
- Explain the reading material to yourselves or to a friend – instead of summarizing the text, jot down the main questions that arise from each section and try to quiz yourselves
- Summarize the key points of each lesson – do this preferably during a taped class and focus on understanding the main points and the connection between them. For additional tips, watch this short film here.
- Test yourself – Practice answering questions, including simple knowledge questions, comprehension questions and practice questions. If you don’t know the answer, try to provide a partial answer before you look up the full answer.
- Space out the practice sessions – Practicing the material too often and too much is only effective in the short-run, whereas longer intervals between these sessions are very effective, also in the long-term. Well-spaced learning enables you to study less and succeed more, but requires advanced planning. Here is a short film where you can learn how to accomplish this using index cards or an app.
- Don’t practice the material when it is in front of you. This is an easy way to study but doesn’t really work.
- Don’t review the material only by reading.
- Don’t summarize the material when it is in front of you.
- Don’t review the material by marking and highlighting the text.
- Don’t study by going over problems that have already been solved (or tests that have already been corrected).
- Breaks and sleep
- It’s important to take breaks while studying, in order to ‘charge your batteries’ and change your environment.
- Physical exercise is a great activity during a study break.
- Make sure you sleep enough. Lack of sleep harms your emotional balance, your ability to concentrate and your ability to study and remember.
In conclusion: The secret to success is to plan your time and your studying in a way that enables you to space out your studies; test yourself in order to check for problems and fix them; take breaks and sleep enough. Set goals that are attainable, invest efforts but don’t exhaust yourself, ask friends, help friends, make sure you know whom you can turn to for help and don’t hesitate to do so.
Recommended clips and blogs:
Tips for University Students Studying Online at Home: Times Higher Education
My #1 Method for Stopping Procrastination [YouTube]
How to Study Effectively for School or College [Top 6 Science-Based Study Skills] [YouTube]
The Most Powerful Way to Remember What You Study [YouTube]
How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods [YouTube]
12 Tips to Crush Your Final Exams [Blog]
How to Choose the Right Way to Study for You: Advice for Students [Blog]
Exams and grades
Here are current directives relevant to course requirements and exams:
- All classes are taped and the recordings of each course are available to all students registered in that course until the end of the exam period.
- The professors and teaching staff are asked to take into consideration as much as possible the challenges of distance learning as far as the exam requirements are concerned.
- Students who need to repeat a course that they failed during the pandemic will be eligible for a tuition exemption for that course (the exemption is automatic for one course; requests for exemption for a 2nd course will be handled on a case-by-case basis).
- Deadlines for submitting papers for seminars and Master’s theses have been extended (by several months for seminars and by one semester for theses, until the end of the semester break following the fifth semester of the degree) and no additional tuition will be charged.
- Research students in experimental science receive an across-the-board three-month extension on their deadlines. The Authority for Research Students will consider individual requests for extensions for all research students.