Goodbye YSCEC, Hello LearnUs!
April 27, 2021 by Chaewon Sung
YSCEC, short for YonSei Cyber Education Community, may be a familiar name to many except for the incoming class of 2021, especially after a year of cyber lectures due to COVID-19. It would surprise many to know that it has existed from December 1999. With a long history of over two decades, YSCEC served as an online learning platform through which Yonsei's cyber lectures were given and students met up virtually to discuss and learn; but now all that is history. The year is 2021. YSCEC is finally (and perhaps abruptly) gone, and now there's cloud-based LearnUS to replace it. Let's examine what changed, and what didn't.
Like YSCEC, LearnUS is also an acronym, short for "Learning Ubiquitous Square," literally a square of learning that is accessible from everywhere. Some of us might have noticed that "LearnUS," when pronounced carelessly, sounds similar to "runners." According to Yonsei office, this is an intended pun, so that we may associate this website with the image of running forward to achieve a desired aim.
In many ways, LearnUS shares many of its functions with its predecessor (YSCEC), and perhaps rightly so. We can check the attendance, post within the forum to discuss what we learned with our classmates, and privately message professors or teaching assistants for help. However, there is one major improvement - and that is the Coursemos application which you can download using your mobile phone. The Coursemos app alerts students whenever there's a new announcement, a new file from the professor, or even a new quiz. Previously, Yonsei students have voiced, on multiple occasions, that the cyber lectures-dominated coronavirus semesters call for a way to know, without entering the lecture pages one by one, whether there's something new. Mistakes were common as well, since it was impossible to confirm exactly without the laborious process of going through each and every lecture page. The Coursemos app is a perfect solution to this problem; I now get alerts on my mobile phone without much delay and with surprising accuracy. Yonsei has announced its plans to create an application of its own, instead of Coursemos - which we currently share with other schools that also uses LMS-based platforms -, but until then, Coursemos should suffice.
However, LearnUS has its weaknesses as well. The server crashes quite easily. Only one and a half months into the semester and we've seen multiple crashes already. From a personal experience, what was most worrisome was when the server crashes minutes before a class starts. It's hard to know whether it's just my laptop gone weird or it's a genuine server crash. As such, right after a server crash, Yonsei Everytime is filled with people asking each other whether LearnUS is down or not. It's a problem that needs to be solved since easy access is an integral part of any platform. Also, we have become so used to YSCEC that some of us found it hard to adjust to the changed user interface. Some even went on to question whether this change was absolutely necessary. Was it? I think it's debatable, since I do not clearly see the difference between the two except for the Coursemos app.
Whether YSCEC or LearnUS, or any other platform for that matter, an online learning platform is a quintessential part of the college experience in the coronavirus school year. For many of us, whose timetable is one hundred percent online, this platform is the only campus environment that we get to experience this semester. This is especially true for the class of 2020 and 2021 - we barely had an opportunity to set foot in Songdo, let alone Sinchon. Therefore, it's important that we make fuller use of the LearnUS platform than any other time in history. You can actually check all the functions that come with LearnUS at the Yonsei LearnUS website, by clicking the “Guide” button at the right side of the screen. Here's to hoping that LearnUS will continue to improve its user experience as we get familiar with this new addition to the Yonsei community.