2020, the year of change. Every day the world is changing but by far; this year, we are conquering the biggest hurdle, COVID-19. Virtual communication has now become today’s ‘norm’.
We continue with our lives with multiple changes and adaptations to our everyday activities. One such activity is the virtual learning environment at University. University is a social and interactive learning environment where we receive accessibility to different resources through multiple learning platforms; in-person and online. When COVID restrictions started, it quickly impacted our accessibility to university classes, in-person meetings, socialising with other students and mostly, impacted how we absorb the things we learn in our tutorials and lectures.
From Classrooms to Zoom
Classroom teaching at University has always been known as the ‘norm’. Online learning has been an option for those students who are unable to physically attend a University campus. This year, we weren’t given an option, all University students in Australia had to adapt to online learning via Zoom classrooms.
University Students, are fortunate to have access to multiple learning facilities, teaching staff, counselling and more. There is only so much we can learn without being restricted by the interactivity we are able to access. Zoom has been our alternative to classroom learning, yet, there is still limited access to what we can do.
Another big change was to our assessments, they have decreased the amount of physical interactivity we need with others to complete our tasks. The level of interactivity in an in-class learning environment has drastically dropped so it’s adapted to a virtual classroom environment.
Staying Motivated With Virtual Learning
Along with a decrease in interactivity in the classroom, there is also a decrease in motivation.
Staying motivated in a drastically changed environment is difficult, to say the least. Lack of motivation has increased through University students, most looking for excuses to why their grades are dropping or to why they can’t put more effort into their assessment. The lack of motivation has built up because of the lack of face-to-face interactivity with teaching staff and students. There is more responsibility on students to keep up with their own study and keep up with all assessment.
Juggling study, work, social life, etc has always been a difficult balance. We had lockdown for so long and have lost our sleeping patterns and routines. Going back to study after lockdown is difficult; instead of waking up at midday, we now need to go back to waking up at 6 am. We have more responsibilities again, instead of just locking ourselves in our rooms and isolating, we need to lock ourselves to our computers as well.
Was It All Bad?
Although this year has been full of many changes, we learn to adapt. Virtual learning has been challenging but has also opened our eyes to the fact that we are incredibly fortunate to have access to all the facilities we are given. We have learnt how to motivate ourselves to complete all of our university work in a comfortable environment and also in our own time frame. Although we had to adapt to this change, we were also handed an opportunity to try new method of learning and make any changes needed to make it as efficient as possible.
Change is part of life. Adapting to virtual classrooms has been challenging but has opened our eyes to things we have previously taken for granted. Over time, these changes are becoming easier to adapt to but changes continue to happen without knowing when they’ll stop.
This article is a candid independent view of our intern as she provides an on-the—ground perspective of the effects of Covid related tech policy changes in education.