I completed some of my university education before the pandemic, so I know what it’s like to drive to campus and sit through in-person classes five days a week. Having spent the last eight months taking university courses online, I have to say that I would be happy if I never had to set foot on campus again.
I realize that not everyone agrees with me, but this online thing really worked for me.
First, I noticed a difference in my level of productivity. My commute to the MacEwan University campus is 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic, plus finding parking, then actually walking to the classroom. For someone who only parks where it’s free, that walk can be a bit lengthy. All in all, I was looking at about an hour each way. Not to mention that when I’d get home, there was always something else that had to get done. Somehow I could never get into the house and get straight to my schoolwork. The only way I’d get straight into studying was if I stayed on campus all night.
With the online delivery, I would get into my schoolwork right after my morning routine. Once my classes were done for the day, I would stay where I was and keep working through whatever readings or assignments I had scheduled for that day. There was no break in focus. Every day, I had my planner beside me with a checklist of things to do and would go from one to the next until I finished.
Of course, I scheduled breaks in my day, but they were much shorter than the hour-long commute breaks I had before. Plus, when I got in the zone, I didn’t have to worry about the library closing, people noisily walking by, or any other distractions.
I also made more friends online.
Before, I would show up to campus, attend classes, and either run to the library or leave campus for work or to study at home. In class, I didn’t talk to my classmates because I was paying attention to the instructor, and afterwards, I was in a rush to my next destination. Sure, I made some friends, and we would hang out and chat after class or have the occasional party (remember those?), but we didn’t keep in touch once we no longer shared classes.
Within the online learning sphere, I spoke to classmates during class using the chat functions and each of my classes had a Discord server set up, so we could connect easily, whether to ask questions about an assignment, talk about hobbies, or work on group projects. Through the class chats and Discord, I developed deeper friendships than I did with the people I hung out with in person.
This last year of online learning has been bliss for me. I’ve been less stressed, more productive, and made great friends. I hope that MacEwan will listen to us students who ask that remote learning remains an option moving forward.
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