Blended learning during COVID-19 – Hugo’s experience

We interviewed Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, an RGU student from Mexico City. Hugo is currently studying MSc Drilling and Well Engineering. Here’s what he had to say about his blended learning experience:

What were your expectations when you applied to study an on-campus course at RGU?

I expected to have a vibrant student life and experience Aberdeen and its culture. I envisioned myself sitting in a classroom, attending lectures and learning from the best minds in the oil and gas industry. I saw myself asking questions in class and experiencing real-time interaction with my lecturers and classmates. I imagined going on field visits and gaining practical knowledge.

I wanted to go to the library and spend time completing my coursework after class. I expected to meet new people and forge new friendships with students from different countries and backgrounds. I wanted to go on coffee breaks with them in between lectures.

Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, MSc Drilling and Well Engineering Student at RGU

Can you tell us what blended learning entails and what your personal experience has been?

Due to the pandemic, having face-to-face classes is not possible. RGU had taken a blended learning approach, which is a combination of online learning and safe on-campus learning (where necessary). In the case of my course, most of the classes were delivered either through Zoom or Blackboard.

In my experience, online classes have been very similar to face-to-face classes. All students join the scheduled session and the course instructor explains the lecture to us. We pop any questions we have into the chat box and it is usually addressed immediately.

Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, MSc Drilling and Well Engineering Student at RGU

In addition to this, reading material and notes on CampusMoodle (RGU’s virtual learning environment) are helpful to understand the topic better.

Have you enjoyed being taught via blended learning, if so why?

This has been a completely new experience for me. The online delivery of classes has not, in any way, obstructed my ability to learn and gain knowledge. I enjoy it very much.

Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, MSc Drilling and Well Engineering Student at RGU

Despite interacting through the computer screen, I could feel a sense of closeness with my course instructors and fellow classmates. I really appreciate the help that the staff provide through the course.

How has the university supported you with blended learning?

The university has provided a lot of tools to facilitate blended learning. CampusMoodle has been very useful. It is an amazing platform for learning. It helped me to follow my lectures and tutorials well.

Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, MSc Drilling and Well Engineering Student at RGU

For instance, reading material, tutorials and solutions for every course is available and well organised on CampusMoodle. If I wish to go in-depth to learn about a topic, I can read the additional resources and get redirected to new sources of information recommended by the staff. RGU Library also has a lot of online resources.

If I am not able to take an online lecture at the scheduled time, I can view the recordings later on. In terms of doubts on how to write my assignment, I get in touch with the Study Skills team for advice. The RGU IT team are also just an email away and have always helped me if I had a CampusMoodle or software download issue.

Have you got any advice for new students joining RGU that have applied for an on campus course?

My advice to upcoming students would be to delete the idea that everything will be different because of the pandemic. Attend every class according to schedule, ask questions as if you were in a real classroom, and make sure to use the learning tools provided by the university. Interact and post your doubts through the CampusMoodle forum and seek help from the staff.

Despite the distance, there is a lot you can learn through the course!

Hugo del Angel Garcia Hernandez, MSc Drilling and Well Engineering Student at RGU