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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Nicolle's Diary #14: Return to the Classroom

The start of a new academic year is always daunting but none more than the final year of your three years of undergraduate study. Following a rollercoaster eighteen months that saw our partially online courses transfer to fully online in response to Covid-19, there was much trepidation and excitement about returning face-to-face.

We have now had two face-to-face sessions, and it was like they had never stopped. Walking back into the Poole centre and seeing old friends and meeting new ones was such a lovely experience and one that makes me reflect on what may have been different if the course had proceeded as planned with more face-to-face learning?! However, after two sessions we returned to our old stomping ground of Collaborate for more online learning but this time it was taking the form of a “critical engagement workshop”.

There was an air of bewilderment, none of us really knew what a critical engagement workshop was, but we were to be pleasantly surprised. Unlike the online sessions of old, we were moving from activity to activity. These activities were a mixture of tutor and student-led in a way that led to an enhanced and immersive learning experience. It left us as students feeling empowered as we could choose, shape, and utilize the sessions as we saw fit. I have always said you get out what you put in and this has never been more apparent than during this workshop.

In addition to our online sessions, it has been interesting to readjust to balancing work, family life and assignment writing. I think I returned from summer thinking I had this aspect of student life perfected, but there has been an unforeseen adjustment period. The critical engagement workshop has definitely supported this as it required us as students to really take responsibility for our learning.

We also got two exciting emails this past week, we have been invited to an in-person graduation ceremony at Worcester Cathedral next month and our student conferences have returned. This means I have a trip to Worcester and Bristol one week apart. I wonder if this is how pupils at school feel when they have a school trip announced? I do seem to do a little happy clap whenever I think about it!

To all my fellow students across all three cohorts, I hope you all have a fantastic start to your year!