What Academic Pursuits Mean During a Pandemic

What Academic Pursuits Mean During a Pandemic

How online meeting software helps distance learning, and whether it works

Being a journalism student at Hong Kong University, it was an excellent opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and learn more about different cultures by studying in another country. Unfortunately, I was only two months into my foreign exchange program when I had to pack my bags, leave Denmark, and return to Hong Kong. 

The five-month-long overseas study had been interrupted by Covid-19. In-person classes and study tours were canceled. I was not happy with returning home, but it was the safest option, so I resigned myself to it.

The lockdown and social distancing measures in Denmark prevented us from holding physical classes since mid-March. Instead, they were held virtually using video conferencing software. Unlike regular classes, only the lecturer speaks on camera during the lecture. Even the students who are usually talkative or outspoken don’t say much. I’m also reluctant to unmute the microphone and speak. With a lower level of interaction, it doesn’t feel like a classroom environment.

However, online instruction has kept us connected to our peers and allowed us to keep up with scheduled interviews, even after returning home. As journalism students, we had to engage in many group projects. Despite the distance, video conferencing has offered almost the same convenience as face-to-face meetings. I still managed to interview various officials and politicians despite being in another country.

However, there are still some unique experiences that technology can’t replace. One of the most critical aspects of reporting is to be at the news scene, where you can gather firsthand details, and avoid relying solely on your main interviewee. Information, such as visual descriptions and statements made by those on the scene, cannot be collected virtually. 

On the academic-side, distance learning poses a challenge to teachers who have had to adapt to virtual instruction. They have to make the most of online meeting software, using group meetings and screen sharing to carry out their lessons effectively. Many teachers have faced technical problems, which has made the lessons less efficient.

Despite my complaints about the limitations of technology in some circumstances, I do appreciate the fact that we have it at our disposal during these times of change. If Covid-19 had struck three decades earlier, the effects would be wholly different; distance learning would be hard to carry out, if not impossible.

The outbreak also makes job searching more difficult. There have been countless headlines of companies laying off and furloughing staff, so it’s safe to say hiring freezes are common. Searching for internship opportunities was tough due to limited choices and increased competition.

To be honest, I don’t enjoy staying at home all the time and participating in distance learning. I would rather meet my friends at school and work on interesting projects together. I am grateful that distance learning has kept me connected to education in these difficult times. However, I still hope that I can wave goodbye to video conferencing in the near future.

About the Author

Ryan is a third-year journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. He is passionate about following new tech trends, especially in computers and smartphones. Ryan also enjoys taking photos and filming videos to record bits and bites of life.

ryanli.pressfolios.com

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

Decoding the Role of a Silent Partner

Decoding the Role of a Silent Partner

When it comes to raising funds for the business, bootstrapping, venture capitalists and angel investors are the standard choices in every entrepreneur’s mind. However, with each investment option, there is a fear of losing control due to outside influence.

What China’s Crackdown on Crypto Can Mean for the Market

What China’s Crackdown on Crypto Can Mean for the Market

The People’s Bank of China said in September this year that “all virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities”, including services by overseas cryptocurrency exchanges to Chinese residents through the Internet.

What Is a DAO and How Does It Make Money

What Is a DAO and How Does It Make Money?

Imagine that you and your partners come up with an excellent business idea. After drafting a thorough plan, all you need is the money to execute it. For that, you can set up a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. To join the organization, people buy tokens, gaining part ownership of your company while investing in it.

What Are Decentralized Financing (DeFi)Platforms

What Are Decentralized Financing (DeFi)Platforms?

Decentralized financing (DeFi) is a blockchain-based financial system that does not rely on traditional financial institutions like banks. Decentralized financing platforms allow users to trade cryptocurrencies and make available other financial services, like borrowing and lending. In 2021, DeFi industry has grown to US$80 billion, with an expected ten-fold growth by 2022.