Difficulties focusing on their studies, establishing social relationships and seeking help from classmates. And also concerns about missing key practical components in their courses. Distance education has been a challenge for the Faculty’s students.
Students Anton Dammand Dahlgren and Elin Nielsen are both enrolled in the Bachelor’s programme in Marine Sciences and say that it’s been tough at times. Especially last autumn, when the darkness descended and infection rates began to rise, resulting in the postponement of a return to normal classes. They are mainly worried that they may have missed out on some elements of their courses, and that they won’t have time to learn all the practical aspects of their courses that they will need in their future careers. Even so, they are satisfied with the way their teachers have handled the situation.
“Lots of them have done an amazing job and they have tried to adapt as much as they can to the circumstances. It’s also great to see the way in which teaching has developed during the pandemic and how our teachers have come up with smart solutions,” says Elin Nielsen, a second-year student who has now had more than a year of online teaching.
Anton Dammand Dahlgren is in his first year and has not seen all his classmates since September. The biggest difficulty for students who started a study programme in distance mode is forming social networks while everyone is physically separated. Finding classmates to study with, discuss the lectures and for mutual support – all vital elements of the student experience.
“It’s challenging for a new group to work well together remotely,” says Anton Dammand Dahlgren.
Both students have had limited course components taught on campus, albeit in smaller groups. Other practical course components have been omitted entirely or replaced by home laboratory sessions as well as other forms of online projects. The students have been impressed by the creativity demonstrated by their teachers. This has included them filming some practical course components; a technique that could also be used after the pandemic.
“Videos could work well as supplementary material; for instance as preparation for a fieldwork component. You could also invite guest lecturers from around the world – they’re just a button-click away,” says Anton Dammand Dahlgren.
However, they do not regard the prospect of teaching continuing online after the pandemic as any kind of dream scenario.
“Once the pandemic is over, all I’ll want to do is meet my friends and lecturers again. I’m not keen on spending more time in front of a computer than I have to,” says Elin Nielsen.