For many UBC students, like me, summer was filled with constant dreams and thoughts about entering an in-person year of university. More than ever, this academic year is filled with new changes and getting used to a new schedule and lifestyle. As we know, due to safety and logistical reasons, not everything is 100% synchronous. Nowadays, UBC students are alternating between two peaks: in-person and online courses. This is an amazing opportunity to integrate both worlds and find out what works best for you! With schedules being a mixture of online and in-person, a plethora of UBC students are speculating about where to watch their lectures and be able to participate in their online courses, while being on campus. As a student who has taken both online and in-person courses, this term is a new adventure: our hybrid schedule allows us to have flexibility in our asynchronous work while having in-person components for certain courses. I have found this type of schedule to be dynamic variations, filled with different learning styles, which allows me to take different approaches to courses. In this article, we will go over my advice for facing virtual and physical academic commitments with a smooth transition.
If There Is No Specific Time Slot for Your Course, Schedule It on Your Own!
Some online or distance education courses can be extremely flexible and enable students to learn most, if not all, the material in an asynchronous way. This is especially beneficial to students who have a busy schedule that does not allow them to be available in certain time slots, those who are in different time zones, or those who prefer being independent and personalize their own availability to their own needs. Nonetheless, I find it helpful to add your own time slot for this course and follow it as if it were an in-person component; “if it is not written down, it didn’t happen!” For example, if your course consists of watching pre-recorded material, schedule a specific time in your week to do so. For this purpose, I prefer using Google Calendar and using color codes to identify my in-person classes and my self-study time. That way, I am consistent in my learning process and I do not feel overwhelmed or disorganized with the material.
To do this, you can follow these steps:
STEP # 1: Download your UBC Schedule to Google Calendar with your synchronous components.
First: Go to the SSC Online. Then, click on Registration -> Timetable
Second: Click on the “Download your schedule”. A file “ical.ics”
Third, import it to Google Calendar through Settings.
STEP # 2: Set aside a constant time slot in your schedule to work on the online course. Please, consistency is the key. Treat it with respect and love.
If It Is a Mixture Between Asynchronous and Synchronous…
On the first day of school, during an online lecture, one of my closest friends noticed that his fellow classmates were physically sitting next to him. He was confused as to why most of the students in the Zoom call had the same background. It turns out, they were all together, in the same course, and in the same UBC room. Of course, they all had headphones and they were watching the lecture on their own computers (physical distancing is important!). My friend was flabbergasted and confused: wouldn’t it be more efficient if they all watched it on one big screen? It turns out it was possible! He learnt that day that the course was also being live-streamed in a room inside Buchanan. He promised me that next week, he would go to Buchanan with other students. You do not have to be alone! It is sometimes better to be with other people and feeling accompanied during the lecture. It is the perfect opportunity to meet classmates and enjoy your lecture on a bigger screen!
STEP # 3: Find out if fellow virtual classmates are watching the lecture on campus. Keep each other accountable. Consider watching the lectures together.
EXTRA TIP: Ask your professor if the course will be Livestreamed on campus. Or join with different students in your course to watch it together.
Devices and Study Spaces
“I need a device.”
Consider working on another computer, tablet or using notebooks while watching the lecture. Personally, I find it difficult to multitask on the same device. For instance, if you need a computer, remember that in The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKB) there are a plethora of computers. Moreover, the 3rd floor of IKB has zoom installed already for students to use on both Mac and PCs. Our help desk lends headphones and adapters. If you need it, we also have a quick charging station for your phone.
“I do not know where to watch the lecture and there is no room with its livestream.”
If you are unsure about where to watch your lecture, there are a plethora of places around campus. If you do not need to talk or use the microphone, the 4th floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has a silent study room, the Musqueam Reading Room (do not open your chip bags in this room, unless you want everyone to turn around and look at you!). If you do need to use the microphone, feel free to visit any floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre; all floors allow for collaboration. And in case you want a private space or study with your classmates, you can book your own room!
This year is filled with great opportunities to make the best out of the physical and virtual world. I hope that this advice and tips will help you in this journey! Stay organized, follow your plan, and you will be prepared!
Remember that we are all in this together: your classmates are in the same situation, reach out to them. Do not hesitate to use all the available resources from UBC, and visit the Chapman Learning Commons, located in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, third floor, we are happy to help!