Hear me out, but the changes that COVID brought to post-secondary education are not ALL bad. Don’t get me wrong, I know transitioning to online schooling was not without hiccups. Studying remotely is tough and the questionable internet connections and constant interruptions to lectures are not ideal. But I’m just going to say it, remote work brings a certain freedom that hasn’t been available before.
I was once a fresh out of high school student attending university. So, I understand how important having an in-person campus is to fostering friendships, relationships, and learning. The first few weeks of every year revolved around being on campus and soaking in all the university had to offer. I have created lifelong friendships in the university classrooms. But there were other days too. There were days where the LRT wasn’t working, or the temperatures were far below freezing, or I just really couldn’t afford giving up a couple hours to the commute because I had more pressing deadlines. These were the days where I knew I couldn’t skip a lecture but I just so badly wished there was a remote alternative.
Now, I’m in a different place in my life. I have my first degree and I have a job. I’m a part of the group of students attending MacEwan University because they’ve worked a bit and found the area that they’re passionate about but just need to gain an educational backing. I still want friends in my area of study and in-person learning opportunities, but I also have to balance other responsibilities. The hybrid option creates the possibility to attain this education while allowing me to continue to work and support myself. The flexibility in learning created by COVID is paramount in making my studies possible.
I’m ready to embrace the hybrid model of learning created through an unexpected pandemic. This new model stands to benefit every type of student. This is our opportunity to take the best of both worlds of the traditional in-person model with the remote online learning model to create a hybrid model that makes learning more accessible. Also, it doesn’t hurt to attend a lecture from home when it’s -40C!