History students discuss their experiences of remote learning
As students and teaching staff alike continue to adjust to new ways of teaching, our students share their experiences of remote learning in the School of History.
The School of History adapted very well to the challenges of moving online and made sure to keep students informed and up-to-date with any ongoing changes. My tutor was especially great at making sure the classes were still engaging and interesting, even though they were now virtual. Through the use of presentations, discussion tasks, and the breakaway group and chat features, I came to really enjoy our online seminars.
An important aspect of managing the remote learning process successfully was to maintain the same collaborative, supportive learning environment in an online setting.
Samuel, a third-year student, agreed: “The transition to online teaching was handled seamlessly by the School of History as the classroom-style atmosphere was still felt in the online seminars. The ability to put students into smaller groups was especially significant as it is important to discuss your ideas with other students in order to form stronger ideas about the subject. Online seminars were also effective in handling sources. The ability for the supervisor to import texts and photos for the class to read enabled us further interact with historiography and historical context. Overall, my experiences with online in teaching with the School of History was certainly successful.”
Despite some early concerns, the shift to remote learning has been considered a success by many. Edward comments, “Initially, I found the transition from classroom to online teaching quite daunting and challenging given that I had never had to do anything like this before. But my worries were quickly negated by the attentiveness and reassurances of my tutors. By sending regular emails keeping me in the loop with ongoing issues in the university, they could still maintain a high standard of teaching. While online interaction will always have some inherent difficulties by always making themselves available, worries about final assessments during these uncertain times were made much better and more manageable than expected.”
History student Ellena explains how the changes impacted her assessments: “I had a positive experience of doing an online presentation via Skype for my Popular Caribbean module. It was nice to use the time to engage one on one with my seminar leader. I received immediate feedback and we were able to investigate the topic together in more depth after I had finished presenting.” While Archie adds, “The video chat that we had was very helpful however and any email responses were always very thorough. This made the lack of face-to-face contact a relatively minor limitation and I still felt adequately prepared for my essay.”
Although transitioning to online teaching was not without its difficulties, the School of History responded in such a way that eased my initial misgivings. Our tutors made sure all lectures were made available, as well as maintaining a consistent level of communication with students through email. In particular, my tutor was able to oversee the smooth delivery of multiple presentations in our online seminars, with the discussions remaining engaging and thoughtful.
You can read some more quotes from our students from earlier this term about how they have been supported through the transition to online lectures and seminars recently.