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How has students’ approach to learning changed as a result of the pandemic?

Alison Rooney

At our online event, Talis Insight Webinars 2022, we spoke to 3 students, who all had very different experiences of university life, disrupted by the pandemic.

– Vera Mekhonoshina, Second-Year History and French Student at University College London
– Catherine Bostock, Third-Year Social Policy Student at the University of Lincoln
– Anna Wray, Third-Year History Student at the University of Nottingham

Read a summary of the conversation below, or watch the full session recording.

How was the transition between further education and higher education, and how was this affected by the pandemic?

Vera explains that because she had studied at an International Baccalaureate, she was prepared for a lot of independent work, so she felt confident to work on her own. She did however find it difficult to manage the reduced contact hours, which restricted her ability to directly communicate with her lecturers or classmates.

Catherine went from a small sixth form college to the University of Lincoln, and felt positive about her transition. Catherine has dyslexia, and whilst her sixth form college lacked budget for digital resources and technologies to support this, she found that resources at university now available in a much more accessible way.

Anna explained that her high school too lacked access to digital education, meaning that there was some transition required as her and her classmates were introduced to the idea of digital resources and online learning.

What have you observed around the shift to digital learning over the past 18 months?

Anna says that confidence is key. It’s not the skill that’s lacking, but the confidence to use new tools and technologies. There has been a huge improvement within that time, as everyone is facing challenges, including the teaching staff.

Vera says she has seen much more flexibility and understanding from the university to accommodate challenges of students, particularly with hybrid learning. As Vera’s degree is reading based, she has found the online resource lists particularly useful, as she is able to prepare in her own time, based on the resources already prepared by staff. This flexibility has helped her manage her workload.

Due to Catherine’s health, she sometimes needs to work from home. Because the content on her resource lists have been digitised, she has found this useful to still access her required readings. She’s also found it helpful that lectures are recorded, or possible to attend online (even if it’s happening live on campus too).

How can universities help students to improve their digital skills?

Anna’s advice was to over communicate with students. Lectures are a good way to introduce new technologies, for example Talis Elevate, a collaborative annotation platform that they use asynchronously, which was first shown during a live lecture.

Watch the full discussion here:

To watch more content from the event, click here.

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