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Mariella Gradler

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University during the coronavirus crisis: How we have dealt with it

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The pandemic not only changed how we dealt with one another, it also changed the routines of my cooperative study program. In addition to mobile working and many restrictions, my time at university is totally different to how it was before – but it’s going smoothly!

As is the case at many universities in Germany, my university had to change how lectures were held to comply with the current health situation. As far back as last year, I had my first series of online lectures.

Before the pandemic, I – as a dual student in business administration – was released from work for five weeks per semester and went to university. Depending on the location, we either went to Provadis in Frankfurt or our lecturers came to us in Bonn. However, the pandemic meant that this routine changed. Provadis also had to rethink its concept and us students had to get used to the new type of lectures. And, after two online university phases, I can tell you that it works.

Although I was concerned initially, I am now used to attending all of my lectures from my living room table at home and completing all of the group work virtually. But how does the university phase look now?

My normal day at university is now different by the fact that everything is now done online. This includes every lecture, every tutorial, and every piece of group work. For me personally, it is sometimes a challenge to keep motivated and concentrated during this period. But it became much better over time.

20210629-Hochschule-während-Corona-Artike

Working from home also requires keeping track of things.
 

Advantages and disadvantages of online lectures

It goes without saying that there are advantages and disadvantages to online lectures. Of course, our university – Provadis – adapted the timetable to comply with the situation.
I now have longer breaks between the lectures and frequent smaller breaks during the lectures. I can quickly make myself a coffee or grab a bit of fresh air. The interaction with our lecturers makes a great difference. It was a change that they also first had to get used to but, by switching on the camera and holding many Q&A sessions, it has also been possible to achieve good interaction with online learning. As dual students of Deutsche Telekom, we had a great advantage – we were already long-acquainted with digital learning.
 
When I started my cooperative study program in October 2018, I had little experience with videoconferences or digital learning. Thanks to my studies and my daily work, I quickly came to appreciate the digital world. We have an e-learning course – a videoconference lecture – twice a week and did so before the pandemic.

During the practical phase, many arrangements and meetings also take place via videoconference. The size and the international nature of the Group mean that many teams have colleagues from all over Germany and even abroad. Therefore, video meetings and virtual team meetings have been part of our daily routine for a while now and I was quick to adapt to virtual working. I believe that this was a very big advantage during the pandemic. I didn’t have to make sweeping changes. I was well-acquainted with the respective tools and approaches and they are now part of my daily work routine.

Always remain flexible

When I look back at the past year, one thing that sticks out is that I was able to transfer my skills of working virtually to my university studies. I quickly learned that I was able to learn well and participate in lessons on a virtual basis. I even took my exams online. Of course, it was a change, but I really believe that I was well-prepared for this situation by my studies and I don’t have the feeling that I am at a disadvantage as a result of the pandemic. It goes without saying that there were some restrictions and boundaries and learning together with fellow students is something I really miss. I am also looking forward to returning to the university building and learning together with my lecturers and fellow students. But, as long as this is not possible, I will make the best possible use of my virtual university phase and learn lots.
 

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