Munura’s Blended Learning experience during COVID-19

Munura Maihankali, a computing postgraduate student and Chevening Scholarship recipient, moved from Nigeria to Aberdeen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to learn about his blended learning experience.

Before my first semester at the School of Computing, I had long envisioned a physical classroom setting where students and lecturers got to interact, collaborate as a group, and physically socialise. But because of the pandemic, RGU switched from traditional classroom teaching to blended learning.

My blended learning experience

Blended learning is the delivery of course modules and assessments through a combination of digital learning/evaluation and safe on-campus teaching (where necessary) which enables students to study as safely and effectively as possible.

Munura Maihankali, MSc Data Science student at RGU

Blended learning was daunting at first, because it was far from my experience of traditional face-to-face teaching. Attending online classes and accessing course material was done through CampusMoodle, RGU’s virtual learning environment. My first encounter with this form of teaching was very puzzling. Upon ResLife‘s guidance, I sought the ‘Contact a Student’ platform to ask for advice from my student buddies at RGU. This was especially helpful for me to gain understanding of the learning platform and get answers to any solutions difficulties I had.

Within days, my anxiety turned to curiosity. I was impressed by the sophistication of CampusMoodle. I have enjoyed this experience primarily because it exposed me to learning possibilities and techniques at a pace that I never imagined. For instance, connecting to the lab PCs from home via a virtual environment nested on another virtual environment has given me a comprehensive understanding of the concept of virtual reality as applied in computing.

Advantages of blended learning

Here are a few merits of learning this way:

  • Lectures can be accessed from any location.
  • Recordings of all class sessions are available on CampusMoodle and are accessible at all times. I could technically attend past lectures an infinite number of times.
  • I could set up virtual one-on-one meetings with my course tutors to address the smallest details of my challenges.
  • My digital and research skills have drastically improved due to the consistent usage of digital platforms.
  • Students have the option of attending certain classes online and on-campus (depending on your course).

The effort made by RGU to complete the semester successfully without any disruption was commendable. A lot of measures such as student experience surveys were put in place to evaluate and change their methods. Any feedback that students provided were also well attended too.

Munura Maihankali, MSc Data Science student at RGU

The RGU Communications team sent us regular updates about the university during COVID-19 to keep us informed of anything we needed to be aware of in line with government advice. Student welfare support has been accessible at all times. Virtual events and elections were conducted by the RGU:Union to promote social interaction despite the pandemic. Job opportunities and internships were communicated by the RGU Employability hub.

Advice to current and future students

Here are some of my tips on how to make the best out blended learning:

  • Ensure that you download the following apps: RGU Contact a Student app – to connect with student ambassadors and buddies, MYRGU app – to view your timetable, access library resources and course modules.
  • Contact the Student Help Point for any queries and do not hesitate to seek help from RGU’s Support and Advice Services.
  • Use the ASK RGU platform to view Frequently Asked Questions and place your own queries.
  • Always reach out to course leaders/advisors for clarity regarding any course-related challenges.

It is a dilemma for me on whether I should appreciate the COVID-19 situation for giving me the quality experience of blended learning or complain about missing the face-to-face experience. Whatever it may be, I am grateful that I have managed to acquire new skills out of this setting.

Munura Maihankali

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