Well induction is over and I’ve just had my first full week of my final year. I don’t think first year Josh had any clue how different the world would be in just two years!
University College Birmingham have offered us the choice between fully online learning or a combination of online and face-to-face lectures, which is what I have chosen. In a twist of events, I’ve ended up needing to use the University campus to access the internet, so I’ve had the opportunity to really understand the new measures to keep us all safe while we study.
Changes To Campus
As with all indoor spaces, masks are required when walking around the university, as is social distancing. I’ve found this really easy to achieve. The campus is open and you can come in to study whenever you need. Most of the time I have been in McIntyre House, and with its extremely spacious facilities and high ceilings with great ventilation, it’s a perfect place to be able to share space without high risks. The café is back up and running, you can scan in using the NHS app or by giving your contact information, and all the seats and benches have been spaced out and controlled. Thankfully the food is just as delicious as ever, yesterday’s mutton curry definitely powered me through my lecture.
One of my biggest struggles when we were in full lockdown was not having access to the library. Thankfully it is back open now up to midnight on weekdays. Now in the newly refurbished Link building, you now have amazing views of the city as you tap away on your laptop. And of course the amazing support from subject librarians and CASE is also available, and you can still access all this support no matter where you are studying from.
I had my first face-to-face lecture in the brand new Moss House. There were only five of us and we all had plenty of space. Aside from all being on separate desks, the lecture was much like pre-COVID times, very interactive and it was great to have the spontaneity of face-to-face lectures. While I have found my online lectures on Canvas to still be engaging and direct, I think being in a lecture room writing notes and discussing as a group really helpful.
The best part about being back is being able to see everybody regularly again, whether that’s through Canvas or in face-to-face lectures. We don’t know how the restrictions might change over the next few months but I’m a lot more confident that my final year will still have all the support I need.