This week, our lecture focus was distributed learning. Initially, we were divided into breakout rooms and prompted to brainstorm ideas capturing our experience of both the positive and negative aspects of virtual learning. Reflecting on this past semester, I personally appreciate how the relationship I have with each one of my peers is relatively equal in the sense that I’ve had occasions to talk with everyone thanks to the “Breakout Rooms” feature of Zoom; because of this I’ve been able to expand my comfort level in terms of contributing in a group setting. I feel that had classes been in person, I would have not branched out and drawn near to my friends from previous years, overall not being as motivated to meet new people. In addition, I recognize that I now have much more time during my day to be productive and get tasks done, as well as to take care of myself by say going for a walk or chatting with a family member – commuting is no longer necessary and I thus have a more flexible agenda. Moving forward, my biggest challenge so far has been the separation of school/work and home; before the realities of COVID-19, I would often turn to technology at night to watch a show or movie and unwind for the day. Now, however, most everything I do is confined to my laptop and its not so easy to turn to an outlet that truly functions and acts in a restorative way.
On the topic of synchronous vs. asynchronous teaching styles, all of our courses so far have had timed meetings, with the exception of EDCI 306A, which has one component of asynchrony; one or two pre-recorded videos to watch before our online get together. I prefer synchronous courses, as they hold me accountable and offer the opportunity for “social interaction” through collaborating with others. Building off of this, having a set time to be able to ask questions and communicate with your professor is incredibly valuable. I will say that having one course where I can complete some of the workload according to my own schedule has been beneficial as it decreases screen exhaustion. In fact, as a result, I even think that when we do have our weekly session, everything we achieve is much more intentional and I have a greater incentive to become involved though active listening and participation.
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