So far, I have had two days of online teaching for my new Masters course and it was very strange to have done two days of learning, but I haven’t even left my home! My 5 top tips for starting at university can apply, but in a different way with this experience.
The day before I started my course, I felt like I was back at school. I found two pencil cases (I think I must have lost one and bought another, and then found the old one again), and took a mental note of to put them where I could easily reach some pens and a highlighter. I made sure I had an A4 note pad so I could make some notes on what I was learning about, and also some scrap paper in case I needed to write down anything random. In truth, this was so I didn’t mess up my nice new note pad! The day before I wanted to feel prepared because even though I didn’t have the added hassle of finding where I needed to go for my class, I did have the pressure of making sure my laptop was on, connected to the right area, and I was there at the right time.
On the first morning, I felt nervous but I also felt that I had the added benefit of being in my own surroundings. After all, I did always have the option of leaving a meeting online! Of course, I would never do that, but that is the easier option as the equivalent would be walking out of a room. I suppose I felt as though I could be more anonymous online in this way…which I quickly found out was wrong.
As well as group activities and learning, we also had sessions where we were split into smaller groups and got to know other people that way. As someone who isn’t a natural talker, I still felt out of my depth when it came to making points about certain topics and talking to others, but I did my best. Sometimes, that is the only thing you can do, and not everyone can talk at once! From these sessions, it was great to hear how other people were feeling about the course and the situation we were currently in with teaching being online. Like most situations in life, you are never truly on your own, and especially in situations like currently being a student; you will not be the only one thinking the way you do. That is definitely a comforting realisation to have.
A big difference between an undergraduate course and a postgraduate course is that the learning is a lot less spoon-fed and a lot more tailored by the individual to their own ways of learning and their own responsibilities to do so. My course is extremely individual led, with my assignments being set, but my own interests into the Psychology-related topic being the driving force behind what I will write about. Usually when talking about assignments it can be daunting, but I actually felt very empowered and I suddenly got it clear in my mind what I was going to research and write about. I love times of clarity like that!
As someone who has experienced years of lectures, both in a lecture theatre and in a classroom, I found my first couple of days of teaching very different. However, as someone who has also spent a lot of time this year working from home, it kind of felt like a natural progression to this being how it is, for the moment at least.
Have you recently started a course that is being taught online? Let me know how you feel about it in the comments below.