I miss the days when ‘corona’ was just a beer…

Hi there! How are you? I hope you are keeping well during this COVID-19 pandemic. It has been about two months since the coronavirus began to spread in the UK. I am still following the news regarding the condition in the UK although I am now in Malaysia. It is so heartbreaking to see those families who have lost their loved ones, and those NHS staffs who are totally stressed, exhausted and burnt out. I have to say that we are very lucky as we are healthy and safe at the moment. This pandemic has indeed made me think about my life and cherish my family more, as everything may happen in the next second, and we might lose the chances to treat ourselves and our families well. I would like to express my gratitude to all the NHS staffs who risk their lives in this crisis, and I really hope that the condition could be brought under control very soon.

Another sad news today…

Alright, this week, I would like to give you (prospective students) some updates about the situation in our Uni, and the changes in my study method as all the teaching sessions are delivered online for the rest of the semester.

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, the university is aware of the virus pandemic since February. They have provided hand sanitizers on campus, and sent us emails to keep us updated to the situation on campus and the government advice. As the situation has become harsher, the university has announced that students could decide whether to attend classes in person or access resources such as Panopto on Surreylearn from the week commencing 16 March. From the week commencing 23 March, all teaching has to be delivered online for students with no face to face delivery. In April, the university has been sending us daily bulletin (until now) to give the latest information and advice to the staffs and students.

In terms of academics, most of the workshops and lab work have to be ceased (I lost the opportunity to do at least three lab sessions…and I don’t know if I could attend those sessions again after my placement year…). Moreover, the teaching sessions are delivered online via Panopto and Zoom. My module leads have adjusted the arrangement of assignment and assessment to offer only one more assessment per module after the Easter break. Hence, we still have to sit for the final exam, but the safety net policy would apply in this semester, meaning that we won’t get the average mark lower than last semester, as long as we get a pass mark in this semester. The policy indeed helps a lot for those students who are affected by the crisis. Furthermore, the university has created a few more email accounts to reply to the enquiries from students, offer financial help (such as the hardship fund application), and mental health advice.  A big shout out to our university and student union who have responded to this crisis very well, and did their best in making sure the students could continue their studies. Thank you very much!

Regarding the online teaching sessions, some of my lecturers have put up last year Panoptos, and asked us to address our questions on the discussion board on Surreylearn, or email them. Moreover, some lecturers would use Zoom meeting for lectures, case study and tutorial, since Zoom meeting allows the lecturers to interact with students, which would make the session more interesting. This is my first time using Zoom and I found it quite useful. It is a web-based video conferencing tool, which the users can choose to record sessions and share or annotate on one another’s screens (for me, it’s like an advanced version of Skype XD). Zoom meeting is always held online, and our lecturers will record the meeting in case there are some students who are in different time zones. However, it seems that there are some security concerns about Zoom, thus some other lecturers would use Microsoft Teams, but I haven’t tried it yet. To get access to those learning materials, the only thing you need is a laptop, you don’t even need to install the application, as the Zoom meeting link will be sent to you before the lecture starts. What if you don’t have a laptop? Don’t worry, the library staffs are here for you- they allow those students who don’t have a laptop to borrow one from the library. Once again, a big thank you to our university staff for helping all of us!

My Zoom tutorial with my lecturer and coursemates!

Ah… it seems a bit long for this blog and I haven’t shared my experience of studying at home yet… Maybe next time! Stay tuned for my next blog, I will definitely tell you how I study at home!

Take care and stay safe everybody!!!

Google released a simple and moving ad thanking healthcare workers around the world for combating COVID-19.