Woman in the green park with modern laptop (Beliaikin, 2018).

As lockdown struck in March 2020 and the university campus lapsed into an odd and unsettling silence, we spent a lot of time wondering how our students were coping with these radical changes.  When we reached out to students to find out how things were going with them, we found that amongst the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic, there were also a lot of surprising upsides to studying online and away from campus. 

“[It’s been] Easier to plan my time in many ways and focus on my literature review.” 

“It has been much easier to work as I can watch my lectures/workshops when convenient for me and my work.” 

“Is easy to change activity, e.g. If I’m working for an hour, I can take 30 min to watch tv, take a relaxing bath and easily come back to work.” 

“I found it easier to complete tutorials online via Collaborate Ultra or MS Teams.” 

“[This is the] Optimal environment for studying, resulting in better focus (tea, biscuits, pyjamas). All study materials at hand.” 

“Teams, definitely has been a very useful tool to share documents, chats, have meetings, ask questions. All in the same place.” 
 
“It’s less intimidating to ask questions during lectures through the chat feature.” 

“I’m even more in touch with people in my school, they have been really kind and in constant communication by twitter, e-mail, teams, etc.” 
 
“My planner/Bullet journal, is helping me to organize my day and keep track of my work.” 

The major common positives brought up were flexibility, change of pace and enjoying online learning.  Whilst the dress code on campus is ‘anything goes’, we don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone coming to lectures in their nightwear, so that’s got to be a big plus for attending lectures online! 

If you’re thinking about how you can improve your experience of learning online, we’ve spent some of the last 6 months creating some new webpages with videos and advice for you.  You can look at all of this on our new Online Learning webpages.

References

Beliakin, A. 2018.  Woman in the green park with modern laptop. [Online]. [Accessed 15 September 2020]. Available from: http://www.flickr.com/