COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the lives of students everywhere. Since Week 5 of Semester One, all QUT students have been studying online and in Semester Two, QUT Business School students had the option of either studying completely online or taking a combination of online and on-campus classes.
That fact likely elicits a range of emotions from happiness to disappointment, depending on the student. Personally, I would like to return to campus for all my classes – I love the atmosphere of QUT Gardens Point campus when it’s busy, seeing other students, and being able to connect with tutors and academics face to face. However, I am committed to maximizing my learning opportunities. In saying that, here are my own experiences of studying online.
Attending classes in real-time
As a student, it’s probably pretty tempting to say “I’ll just watch the recording later” but, we all know that ‘later’ doesn’t usually come. I like to block out class times in my diary so I can allocate my time and attendance to those periods. It’s only if class times don’t suit that I set aside time to catch up by watching the class recording. I sometimes find participating in online classes can make me feel somewhat disengaged, but I know that it’s better than not attending at all.
One thing I’ve found about online classes versus on-campus classes is that I feel much more confident asking questions online via Zoom than I do in a large lecture room or face to face tutorials.
Continue to connect and network with my peers
In these times we really are all in this together, and it can be comforting to talk to fellow students about their experiences and how they are coping. I enjoy connecting with other students who noticeably make themselves present and are actively participating during classes. It’s a great way to make friends with your peers and also comes in handy when there’s group work in tutorials or for assessments.
Taking opportunities to interact with companies and build my skills
In response to the pandemic, many companies and university societies have transitioned networking and career development programs to online platforms. I’ve found many exciting opportunities to interact with companies and potential employers through virtual experiences and internship programs, like those available on InsideSherpa. Aside from being interesting, these experiences can be a great addition to our CV’s and highlight our self-direction and dedication to our professional development. LinkedIn Learning, which QUT students have free access to, also offers an abundance of great courses to build our skills.
As for student clubs, I follow their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on virtual events that are being held. In Semester One, AMPed hosted some great Q&A and panel style sessions via Zoom with industry guest speakers and panellists. 180 Degrees Consulting QUT have also been running case competitions online. There are plenty of ways to get involved with university life and extra-curricular activities virtually!
These are just some of the ways we can maximise our learning opportunities online. But amidst these new, crazy circumstances, we need to remember to always be kind to ourselves. Allow time to relax, socialise, and enjoy the things that make us happy, and be realistic about the expectations we set for ourselves.