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The 13-inch classroom – studying online during COVID-19

25/11/2020 |
Manvita Gandhi

There’s no doubt 2020 brought challenges to university students unlike any other year in recent history. Like most of her peers, Master of Legal Practice student Manvita Gandhi learnt to adapt to online study due to the effects of COVID-19 on tertiary education.

“Owing to local lockdowns and travel bans, I was forced to start my course from India – miles from Perth. My bedroom became my study environment and my laptop became my classroom,” she says.

“The idea of studying without having to change out of your PJs sure sounds refreshing, but watching lectures online and attending Zoom tutorials definitely warrants increased focus and time management.”

Manvita says her professors and university staff helped make the transition seamless.

“All the unit coordinators were forthcoming in assisting me with all my concerns – from suggesting available e-books, to even making a provision for me to join the Moot Court assessment via Zoom. The regional team at UWA followed up on my progress with the online mode with regular calls and successfully addressed all my concerns,” she says.

In Manvita’s case, her study mainly involved watching pre-recorded lectures and preparing for weekly Zoom tutorials. She found the option to pause and replay lectures useful in note making and understanding challenging topics.

“To avoid falling prey to procrastination, I tried to treat each lecture as if I am attending the lecture at the university,” she says.

“I allocated certain time during each day to cover a portion of the material. Ticking completed university tasks off my journal at the end of the day gave me a sense of accomplishment. It truly felt like going to university, minus the traffic.”

The experience of attending tutorials on Zoom was also “interesting and fun”, allowing Manvita to look at the faces of professors and fellow students, albeit virtually.

“The lively discussions have pretty much made up for the in-person interaction,” she says.

“The regular use of breakout rooms for smaller group discussions acted as an effective icebreaker for me. Moreover, the resources of UWA Study Success module on LMS have been really beneficial for my academic progress, particularly the time management module. It helped me stay focused, meet deadlines and stay up to date with the course material.”

Overall, the transition to the new ‘normal’ of university life has been smooth sailing for Manvita.

“The disruption-free online semester experience has made these trying corona times comforting and hopeful. As I patiently wait to walk through the corridors of UWA Law School building in person, I am thankful for having access to the University from the comfort of my home, through my 13-inch classroom.” 

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