Student Interns: Back to Campus Perspectives
The new semester has given many a chance to return to campus and reconnect, but it has not been without bumps in the road. In this article, the EDTL Student Interns discuss one positive and one negative of the new term and the shift from online learning to face-to-face and hybrid approaches.
The new term has undoubtedly been a long awaited and exciting time for both staff and students. Hybrid and face-to-face learning has changed a lot in the last year, and our perspectives on teaching and learning have undoubtedly changed as well. In advance of the upcoming Student-led EDTL webinar on the 1st of November, some of our intern team reflect on some of the positives and negatives of the return to campus.
Laura Ilupeju – NUIG
A positive experience I have had from this new term is definitely the blended approach to learning the college has taken up. I enjoy the comfort of attending classes from my bedroom as well as having that on campus time to interact with the lecturers face to face. It’s motivating to see campus busy again and the engagement with lecturers online has definitely improved. I’m also happy with the fact that online learning is still being kept. It’s convenient for students and makes learning that little bit easier for everyone.
A negative experience I have had is how overwhelming the return to college has been. I wasn’t expecting college to get so busy so quickly and even though it is nice to see everyone back in and things going slightly back to normal, it’s still quite overwhelming how quickly everything is changing.
Eimer Magee – UCD
As the mass of UCD students return to campus, the campus is a flurry of activity with lectures having returned to full capacity. Coffee shops, restaurants and hallways have seen a surge in footfall in comparison to this time last year. There is one thing that has not changed much – the library capacity. Students are now faced with a near impossible task of trying to get a plug-seat without a weeks’ notice. As lecture halls operate at full capacity, is it not time library capacity follows suit?
However, the positives of being back on campus far outweigh any drawbacks. As a student who has just started a new course, with new classmates and an unfamiliar course load, I have appreciated the chance to meet classmates to chat to and share ideas on assignments. Online-learning simply cannot compare in this capacity!
Jasmine Ryan – UL
It’s wonderful to see the University of Limerick campus vibrant and buzzing with activity once again. The first few weeks have been both daunting and exciting, for students old and new, as we return to running the length of campus between lecture halls and grabbing much needed coffees to power us through library study sessions. All in all, the return to college has been overwhelmingly positive, but I think we’d be lying if it was always ideal. Though being able to get away from the laptop screen to the lecture hall has been great, the escape hasn’t been easy. One positive of the return to campus is the ability to attend class and engage.
One negative is attending class and engaging. For the working students, the commuters, and even the lazy bones, the transition from online to real life has been a strange one. One year ago, rolling out of bed for the 9am only required flipping up the laptop screen. Now, we get dressed and make the commute to the autumnal University of Limerick campus. Though some mornings we despair it, we really wouldn’t change it for the world.
Robyn Meyler – MU
A real positive for me is the return of social interaction in college. I love the atmosphere on campus, with hundreds of students walking around and lecture halls busy again. I feel like I’m part of a community, instead of at home, learning alone. I’m finding completing group work in class so much easier than last semester- breakout rooms are incomparable to the physical experience!
It’s a struggle with the hybrid learning to organise my weekly schedule. Some days I might have class in person, but have work or group meetings online. If I travel to campus, it’s difficult to find a quiet space for meetings, but if I stay at home I miss out on the college experience such as studying in the library or meeting classmates. I have found that a lot of events are still virtual, such as careers fairs and clubs&socs activities. It’s challenging to make time to attend online if I’m on campus for the day.
Stephen Thomas O’Riordan
It’s great that I’m getting to meet friends again. There are lots of people I might not socialise with on a regular basis and haven’t really kept in touch with since the start of the pandemic. Being on campus means I either bump into them during classes or it’s a lot easier to organise to go for a coffee.
The biggest negative is definitely the commute. Commuting means that there’s 2 hours of my day in which I’m not productive. This is time I could be doing assignments or answering emails. That work still has to get done though so what this actually means is that I have 2 hours less of free time in the afternoon. It’s a lot harder to ‘pop’ on campus for an in-person event or lecture when that means 3 hours total not doing anything else.
Follow the #IUADigEd social platforms for more: