Many of our prospective students are curious about what online learning might look and feel like as they commence their college careers during a time of global pandemic, which limits the amount of on-campus time they can enjoy.
We asked computing lecturers Frances Sheridan and Lisa Murphy to provide us with some insights, and to give students some hints and tips for how to get the best out of online learning.
“This will not feel the same as some of the online learning you may have experienced after schools closed suddenly in March 2020. At that time, your teachers had to very quickly move lessons they had planned for the classroom to online delivery. The coursework you’ll be engaging with at NCI has been deliberately designed to be delivered online, and you will benefit from the coherence of that planning,“ says Frances.
“NCI has been delivering blended learning for many years, incorporating online work with classroom time, so you’re in very experienced hands. There are many approaches to online learning. Some of your class work may be material you must engage with yourself, such as videos to watch or information to read, or exercises to practice, and some will feel very much like a ‘real world’ classroom, where you are interacting with your lecturer and with other students, and are even split into smaller teams for group projects.”
In this video, Lisa demonstrates an online classroom.
Useful Tips for Online Learning
Attending classes online is still new for many students and the process and technology used may be different to what was used in your secondary school. Along with this, your lecturers will be completely new to you and the way classes and lectures work will not be the same as you are used to. To give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this new learning environment, follow our top 3 tips for making the most of online learning this semester.
1. Limit Distractions
This might be as simple as a Red Post-It stuck to your bedroom door (or on the table beside you, if you’re working in the living room) that lets others know that they cannot talk to you now, as you are in a ‘live’ class. You can use an orange sticky when you’d prefer not to be disturbed but are not actually engaging with others online, and green when it’s OK for them to speak with you. Remember to explain this ‘traffic light’ system to your family or roommates in advance.
2. Take Notes
Writing down notes means that you are actively engaging with the material. You will remember it better. As you are writing, you will notice some bits clicking with you and other bits that you aren’t quite catching. Your notes will let you know what areas you might need help with, if any.
3. Ask Questions
Firstly, ask yourself some questions: look over your notes and ask what the most important point of the material you’ve just been taught might be, ask yourself where it fits in with what you’ve already learned. Secondly, if there is anything you don’t understand, ask your lecturer to explain.
One thing that is clear from talking to Frances and Lisa: the close engagement and support that NCI is famed for will continue online. As Lisa says:
“If ever you are experiencing any concerns, whether it’s a specific module where the content just isn’t gelling with you, or more general worries about workload, the first thing you should do is speak with your lecturer or your programme coordinator. There are lots of supports in the College, and we will make sure you get the assistance you need, whether that is maths tuition or counselling. At NCI, we really want to support you to achieve your full potential.”
If you feel that you need assistance when you join your online classes with us, you can reach out to our Student Support Services, join the Getting to Grips sessions on Moodle or get in touch with your lecturer via email. Support is always available to students who need it at National College of Ireland.