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University students of the 2020 online era

Digby Werthmuller
  Digby Werthmuller

University students from Otago, Canterbury and Wellington are still confident they're getting the same quality of learning from adapted online study as if they were still in class.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced earlier this week that New Zealand's lockdown would be lowered to alert level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday April 27, but university students will still face online adapted learning for some time.

Daniel Hodgetts, a student at Victoria University, says the current world situation has changed the way he learns.

He studies a Bachelor of Music, and says the course surrounds him with like-minded people, and performing together plays a major part in what they do as musicians and students.

"A couple years ago we would have performed together on a weekly well as have one-on-one lessons with our dedicated music teachers.

"Now we turn to this new idea of online learning where lessons are conducted over apps like Skype or Zoom."

Daniel thinks he is still getting the same quality of learning given the current impacts students face, but the disadvantage is missing out on first-hand feedback during performance classes.

Jack Nesdale, who studies at Otago University, says it feels like he's being home-schooled.

"The main problem about studying from home is that you’re away from the flat and all your mates.

"Our years at uni are where we’re supposed to have as much fun as possible before we leave to get a job."

Another student at Otago added that one of the main disadvantages of adapted online study is when it comes to practical lab studies.

"We have been given extra resources, videos and supplementary information for our labs.

"However, there substitute for working in real time with real materials to advance our understanding of a related topic."

University of Auckland says its community has been very positive in its move to online learning.

"There are differences between face-to-face teaching and online, and under Level 4 there are limitations especially in areas like labs and clinics.

"The university is providing the best it can under current restrictions."

When asked about what help had been provided to students at home, Auckland University said they'd provided laptops for many students who did not have access to them in lockdown.

The mood amongst students is a positive one with many just eager to get back into the swing of normal uni life once this all blows over.