Well, I didn’t ever expect I’d have to write a part 2 to this article. However, another outbreak and lockdown has led to students across Australia enduring another period of online learning. Here is my experience of education from home.
The first article I posted on online learning was in September 2020. I reflected on a strange start to my University experience as 2020 consisted of fully online learning, partially online learning and then completely remote learning. It was a challenging period for many students, but the return to in-person learning exposed the flaws of online learning in allowing for a proper education.
For those interested, here is the link to the previous article: https://thelevinelowdown.com/2020/09/19/my-experience-of-online-learning/
And, before I continue, I must preface this next section similar to last time by stating that this is my experience, and everyone’s learning style is different!
2021 started relatively normally. My first semester of Uni was all in-person despite the larger lectures still being online. It was a great opportunity to ‘re-start’ Uni, and on-campus learning undoubtedly enhanced my education.
Unfortunately, this didn’t extend into Semester 2, as a new outbreak led to increasing restrictions and the return to a zoom education. Now, there are some evident differences between the two forms of learning, which have been talked about extensively. The difficulty in communicating within lessons, technical issues and the inability to meet with other students are all common. But, I want to talk about something more conceptual.
Whenever you do something, you will have some form of connection to that action. Whether it be the location, time, or other people around you, there will be things that you can associate that action to.
For example, when you are part of a soccer team, you go to training once a week and then play the game on the weekend. You train at the same field, and you see the same people. There is a connection between the action that you can make by association.
Similarly, while attending University or School, the location and the people around you connect you to the action. When you think about Uni, you don’t think about sitting at your desk at zoom. You think about catching public transport, walking around the campus, and sitting in classrooms with other students.
So, what is the importance of this connection?
Well, when we feel connected to something, we are much more likely to commit ourselves to the action. It is also easier for us to find motivation because we know what to expect. If you were part of a soccer team that didn’t go to training and never played any games, I think you would find it pretty challenging to continue watching videos on zoom and practising in your backyard.
This is exactly how I’ve felt with the return to online learning. There is no connection to University, and that makes it incredibly challenging. It honestly doesn’t even feel like I’ve started Semester 2, but somehow I’ve already completed 5 weeks. Without that connection, our motivation and desire to continue working decreases.
I think this is also exacerbated by the self-guided nature of University. It’s basically a choose your own adventure, where you are only stopped if you are about to fall off a cliff. Otherwise, anything goes, and there is limited boundaries or restrictions on learning. The only fundamental University structure is the classes and the people, and these things have been taken away.
Usually, I like to end my articles with a ‘room for improvement’ or what I think can change. However, I am led to believe that this is just the nature of online learning. For most of us in Australia, we’ve got about 8-10 weeks to go of this form of education. Then, we probably won’t have to do it again unless we choose.
So, for now, I choose to persist, try my best considering the difficult circumstances and reach out for assistance if I need it. And, I encourage you all to do the same. We’ve been through more of this pandemic than there is to come, and a return to freedom is awaiting shortly.
We’ve got this.