Let’s get to know each other
By Nikos Papanikolaou
Back in February, when this pandemic was starting, no one could ever imagine that it would last for so long. We were the ones who experienced the switch from physical classes to online ones, and it wasn’t an easy change.
We were used to seeing our classmates and tutors in person several times a week, and having human interactions with them. And suddenly, it stopped. Now online teaching is the new normal (or abnormal as I prefer to say). We can only see our classmates and tutors through our screens and hear their voices through our microphones.
For all of you who are ready to start your first year at the university, not having the chance of physically meeting your tutors and classmates will be hard. However, the university has been prepared for that, which is why they’re introducing Learning Cafes. Since some of you don’t know what these are, I contacted Elena Moschini, Head of Student Experience and Academic Outcomes at the School of Computing and Digital Media, and Ivan Roman Orgaz, Academic Mentor at the School of Computing and Digital Media, to explain more.
“As you might know, most of the teaching during the Autumn semester will take place online. To supplement this, the university has decided that all new students will be able to have some on-campus provision. Where this is not already in the teaching timetable, students will be invited to attend a School-based Learning Café every two weeks on campus,” Ivan said.
Learning Cafes will be useful for new students as this will be “a great opportunity for students to meet peers and lecturers in person”. The students will have a chance to have a good time and interact with their classmates without worrying about the content as “this will be generic and focused on giving students the skills they need to become successful learners”.
“The School of Computing and Digital Media (SCDM) Learning Cafes will be opportunities for students to explore ideas, tools and strategies that will enhance the learning experience,” Elena said. The students will have a chance to “focus on various aspects of the learning cycle: how to make the most of online learning, how to organise your studies, how to use learning resources and how to plan and prepare for assessment and use feedback for learning”.
Elena says that the on-campus Learning Cafes are “an optional activity for students on courses where there is no other on-campus teaching”.
The on-campus SCDM Learning Cafes will run weekly in the Autumn semester, Monday to Thursday, 2-3 pm. Students wishing to attend these sessions will have to book their place via the School Office, according to Elena.
If you are scared of going to the cafes, the university has you covered. Elena says that the material “will be repeated in online Learning Cafes open to all SCDM students and led by our Academic Mentors”. So, either you want to meet your peers and your tutors physically (with all the necessary safety measures), or if you’re going to stay home, Learning Cafes will give you the option. And in this unprecedented time, the university will take care of you. As it always does.