Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions imposed, undergraduate student Nethumi Yapa Abeywardana was unable to make it to Perth to start her first semester in biomedical sciences.
Fortunately, UWA transformed the traditional methods of teaching and learning into digital delivery so students could start on time and in the convenience of their own homes.
“Starting with welcoming us with a virtual orientation session, all classes – including lab sessions – were delivered online via Zoom and other platforms, along with many other support facilities,” says Nethumi.
“Online learning was a brand new experience for me, but with time, I found it to be more comfortable and convenient.
“One of the advantages about studying online is that all the lectures are recorded, and we can watch them again, if required, and the online exams feel more stress-free when attending at home.
“In my opinion, as long as you have a stable internet connection, online learning is an excellent option to continue your studies at the comfort of your home, without any delay.”
Nethumi adds the constant support and guidance offered to students by lecturers, unit coordinators and the faculty is immense, saying students are free to contact any staff member for both academic and non-academic support, and any other problems arising when learning online.
“Even all the class times are allocated for each student, matching their time zones to select conveniently.”
In addition, all first-year students starting at UWA are assigned a UniMentor.
“Mentors are senior students who support and guide us through the enrolment process and help us into uni life by giving tips about time management, extracurricular activities, clubs and societies, and staying connected.”
While online learning can be isolating at times, Nethumi advises the best way to stay motivated is attending and engaging in all the online classes actively and getting to know the students from your stream and faculty virtually.
“The UWA app was of great help for us to get connected to students and form study groups online. Planning your weekly work and assignments due, while constantly staying connected with other students, really helps keep you on track and stay motivated.”