Will virtual learning be missed in 2021?
In this blog, current Student Ambassador, Maria, shares her experience of adapting to a new virtual environment and format of teaching, in what has been a challenging year for everyone.
I think it would be fair to say 2020 has been very different for nearly every student in the world. The final year of my undergraduate studies at Loughborough University (East midlands campus) and the start of my master’s at Loughborough University London was definitely not the way I had pictured it in my head, with graduation being postponed and still being yet to meet some of master’s cohort.
However, it is definitely not all doom and gloom. Whilst having to adapt to a new and very virtual environment was difficult at first, I can proudly say that I have learnt a lot this year through a very different style of learning.
In 2020, I have developed a lot as a person and I was confidently able to be a full-time student, and a tennis coach, and a digital marketer, and a student ambassador, whilst continuing to be a daughter, a sister and a friend. I have also discovered that virtual learning does in fact have its benefits. For example, as students, we know that every opportunity to save time and money is a blessing and virtual learning resulted in less time spent commuting to campus and less money spent on food and drinks.
However, learning virtually does come with difficulties too. Virtual learning has led to fewer interactions and team projects with my peers, which made learning less of a social affair. Communication with peers and academics has been very different and something everyone has had to adapt to. Love it or hate it, MS Teams has made teaching possible this year.
Whilst I am looking forward to becoming more sociable again, I must say that I will miss 23-hour open book exams and virtual check-ins to lectures from the comfort of my bed! However, returning to in-person lectures does not mean I will completely abandon all my interests. Instead, it will test my time management and organisational skills to take part in activities outside of my studies, as I have done this past year.
In conclusion, 2020 has not been the way I or anyone else had pictured it but that definitely doesn’t make it all doom and gloom. Personally, it has allowed for many moments for self-reflection, which paved the path to self-re-discovery and fulfilment. Virtual learning enabled me to act on new interests, test and fail and then try again. However, I also think it would be fair to say we are all looking forward to uninstalling Microsoft Teams and getting back to in-person teaching in the new year!