My whole university experience so far has been online/blended learning. In the first semester I would have at least one seminar in person per week, the rest of the seminars were online, and all my lectures pre-recorded online. So far in the second semester, all my seminars have been online and again my lectures have been pre-recorded online. In this blog, I will outline the positives and negatives of online and blended learning.
First of all, it is great that lectures are pre-recorded and put up online at specific times. I normally do my lectures at my desk and write notes in a notebook and, every so often, I pause the lecture and grab some water, tea or snacks. I love the ability to be able to pause the lecture as I am writing notes, so I can make sure I write down all the (relevant) words of wisdom the lecturers say!
Second of all, sometimes the lecturers upload the lecture early which means I can get ahead and not feel like I am drowning in work. This is super handy for me as I have other commitments which I do throughout the week, so knowing I have done my lectures early puts my mind at ease.
Third, I have had the great opportunity to have some guest lecturers who might not have been able to provide a lecture if it had not been online because they live in various parts around the world. Having guest lecturers is really fun as you gain a different perspective from someone who is not your regular lecturer.
Blended learning was good as I was able to get to know my subject’s building and meet a few people on my course.
First, it has been very difficult to meet new people and make new friends because I do not know many people on my course. Even though we have a group chat and I see them on online seminars, I haven’t been able to create a real connection and friendship with anyone on my course.
Second, online/zoom seminars can be very awkward. The awkwardness is highlighted by the fact that I have, majority of the time, not met any of the people in the zoom in person. It’s difficult to be in breakout rooms and discuss a topic with complete strangers. First semester was definitely more awkward with lots of silences and many people not turning on their cameras, this semester has been more successful as people are more comfortable with zoom seminars.
Those are probably the two main negatives of online learning, so, overall there are more positives. As I am in my first year, though, I haven’t experienced any other style of university learning, therefore I can’t truly judge whether the pros do outweigh the cons.
Whichever style of learning will take place next year, it is important to know that everyone is in the same boat as you. Make sure to stay motivated and continue pushing through with your studies.
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