My blended learning experience: Libby Thorne
Student experience 24th November 2020
Libby Thorne, a second-year Fashion Business and Technology student specialising in Fashion Business and Merchandising, tells us how she’s adapted to the new challenges – and opportunities – of a blended learning approach:
Adapting to change
“I thoroughly enjoyed my first year of the course as we had the opportunity to study each of the degree pathways and get a really good understanding of the basic elements and workings of the fashion industry. Unfortunately, my second semester was cut short by Covid, with our remaining lectures taking place online and summative exams cancelled.
“This blended learning has continued into my second year, where content has been delivered through pre-recorded lectures, live Q&As with lecturers, seminars over Zoom and independent study activities. Learning in this new way did take a bit of getting used to, but the teaching staff have been very understanding as we all adjust to the ‘new normal’. Having pre-recorded lectures allows you to work through the content at your own pace and watch them back when it comes to revision. The live sessions give you the chance to interact with lecturers to consolidate the week’s learning and ask questions about the content.
“This year, our exams have been open book assignments, which we are given 48 hours to complete. I was initially apprehensive about this new form of assessment but ended up preferring it to traditional exams. It gave me the chance to research around the topic and write an answer that I was proud of, rather than trying to memorise as much information as possible in the hope it will be relevant to the exam question. It is also a lot more representative of the kind of work you would be asked to do in industry i.e. using a range of resources to research a topic under a time constraint.
Becoming a PASS leader
“I have also become a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) leader in my second year, which has involved running weekly sessions over Zoom with 25 first-year students. They seem to have found these sessions really helpful as it has given them the chance to speak to other first-years on the course who they wouldn’t have met otherwise due to learning being online. The sessions also give them the chance to ask us any questions or voice concerns they have about the course/uni life in general as we know it can sometimes feel scary talking to lecturers! We aim to make their transition to Higher Education as smooth as possible and are always there if they need someone to talk to.
“Although this year has brought a lot of change and uncertainty in all aspects of life, having my degree to work towards has given me something to focus on – especially in lockdown! The transition to online learning is still evolving and teaching staff are working closely with students to ensure we are supported and have everything we need to make the most of our short time at uni.”