MSc teaching moving online
Student experience 9th July 2020
In this post Faris and Iris comment on their experiences with their MSc teaching moving online due to the University closing.
The staff in the Department of EEE are supportive with students and so with the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, this is not an exception. As the situation in the UK started to escalate the University responded quickly by taking an instantaneous action of vacating the campus and moving all of its lab’s sessions and lectures on-line.
Despite the restrictions on social interaction, I was still able to engage with my studies through email, zoom, podcasts etc. In fact, my access to lecturers increased and due to this higher interaction, I was able to achieve a full grade of 100% in one the coursework assignments – for the first time! Furthermore, we were able to achieve an outstanding performance in one of the team-based modules.
Iris Soare studied her undergraduate degree in BEng Mechatronic Engineering with Industrial Experience at The University of Manchester. She is now studying MSc Advanced Control and Systems Engineering.
At the beginning of March our university courses moved online in the response to Covid-19 reaching the UK. During the transition all students and lecturers kept calm and adjusted well to the new situation. The university kept in contact to reassure us that they were working hard on adjusting to the requirements of the new situation. We received regular emails advising us on matters such as wellbeing, financial support, and academic provision.
Despite the instability surrounding us, I was confident that adjustments were being implemented to help the delivery of my degree. It has now been more than three months since that happened and life has become stranger but simpler in this time. Lectures are online and usually start with advice on how to take care of ourselves and each other. The virtual environment has also allowed for some humour – we’ve had some very famous personalities attend our lectures, simply because Zoom allows students to choose their names.
Through the effort of our lecturers the teaching is very accommodating for everyone’s needs. The students are comfortable asking questions in real time, be they typed or voiced out loud, and the lecturers reply. We have made adjustments to some of the delivery, for example in the Robust Control lectures, the emphasis was put on theoretical questions addressed to the students – to allow us to work through problems and verify if already taught concepts have been understood. In the Optimal Control class, we have discovered that exercises were more difficult to be solved real-time. We have soon discovered that the best strategy is flexible learning and cooperation.
Difficult times bring people together and a whirlwind of change has taken place over the last few weeks. Friends are dearer than ever, and they will stay so for longer. This has helped us overcome the confusion generated by the dramatic change in our worlds.