On 16th March 2020 Cranfield University made an announcement that it was moving the remainder of face-to-face classes online. This was after the situation of COVID-19 respiratory infections became a national threat and at the same time as the rest of the world was also gearing up for major preventative methods to curb and avoid the spread.
Being a full-time student in a foreign country I had more factors to take into account when planning the rest of my mode of study and disease control.
I decided to remain in the UK and continue my studies as the University was still open and I feel this is where I am most productive. Most of my studies were done in the comfort of silence and through well-maintained technological devices. Although the numbers of students in the University decreased, as many travelled back to their homes and some could not return to the UK because of the travel bans, I still have to ensure I adhere to the NHS preventative guidelines.
At this point I had gladly already completed most of my taught modules but was left with the group project and individual thesis. Which means that changing to remote learning was not as hard to switch to. The University’s response was fast and so was the learning, technical and accommodation support.
Here are 8 ways I have adapted to remote learning:
- Moving from face to face meetings with University staff, clients and colleagues to virtual meetings.
I have had to change to cloud meetings and attending webinars using Skype for Business, WebEx and Zoom. All are efficient, and we still managed to conduct presentations in real-time. The only challenge might be improving hardware such as the mic system and processing speed.
- Plan future career prospects and increase my accessibility on online platforms such as LinkedIn.
Identifying field experts has never been easier. LinkedIn assisted me in tracking down experts and with their filter options, I have complete control of the location, network degree and known mutual contacts. I now know how to meet the faces behind potential collaborators.
Virtual participation and data collection can be done using Qualtrics and Google Forms.
Shared tasks could be easily done with online depositaries such as Pearltrees and Google Docs and you can set deadlines with teamganttchart.com and tick off completed tasks.
I have attended a webinar on ‘Job-seeking strategies During a Crisis’ by Laszlo Avramov.
I have also been working closely with the Careers Service and now have a coach to guide me as I plan my future and career aspirations, as looking for a job at this time might be more challenging.
- Maintaining a positive outlook on the future and goals
Being anxious can affect productivity, so I have tried to have a positive outlook on the future and my goals for the year. I have attended online workshops on how to improve my professional skills. I have gained certificates in leadership, confidence and resilience by the Be Ready training institute as licensed by the University for free. I have also attended a webinar on the ‘Covid-19 Impact on the Food Sector in Europe and how to tackle them’ by the NSF International organisation (National Sanitation Foundation) as a certifying body and public health standard developer. This gave me insight into deciding on the best thesis topic to work on.
- Pausing my part-time duties which had required physical labour.
This has meant a change in budget and has encouraged me to spend more wisely and only toward essential needs.
Keeping track of spending is crucial and if you have to help someone out with shopping, use the Splitwise application to track expenses amongst friends. A lot of food is misplaced in the food chain because of a massive change in the supply chain. But all stakeholders can make a swift change to avoid a further loss and waste of all produced food as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
I do not support panic buying but complaining without a solution or providing reassurance to the consumers will not stop it from happening. The main factors to contribute to food loss and waste (FLW) is poor storage. We as consumers need to ensure that we use food as practising first in first out (FIFO) to ensure food that is most likely to go bad is used first. For people who have travelled or left with food from varying diets and preferences can do barter exchanges or give away food that is well packed and in good condition. On the bigger scheme of things, there is an application that can be used by farmers and restaurants to sell their food before it goes to waste. Too Good to Go has a map feature and it’s a consumer win and you can easily be the ultimate penny pincher.
- Diet and exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet is just as crucial as exercise. The farmers market closed, and it was my favourite place to go because for every visit I always bought new vegetables and fruit. But that has not stopped me because I am learning new dishes with what I get from the shopping centres. Food should be fun and desirable at all costs! I just got myself a book by Anita Bean ‘Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes’ with more than 100 recipes for fitness. It also includes environmentally friendly dishes.
- Rearranged my sleeping pattern to adjust to my most productive hours.
Remote learning has given me the ability to manage my time with ease because I can work round the clock without rushing to be in time for business hours. Unless the time revolves around other members, information can be received at any time and may be repeated if need be.
- Re-visit a hobby and interests
My form of daily exercise includes taking walks. I have an interest in photography and nature so I take pictures on my walks and have so far have captured Spring in the United Kingdom. Daffodils are my favourite!
- Security and emotional well-being
Another thing that relieves anxiety is knowing who to call when there are burning issues. I know the silence can be deafening at times. I like being aware of my surroundings to secure my thoughts. Student advisers have provided a secure platform known as Big White Wall and I know I can voice any threats and concerns anonymously. Academic support is also available, I appreciate the e-coffee shared with my colleagues and Course Director. I stay in contact with family and friends and check-up on them, we virtually meet and catch up as we tend to miss each other. Cranfield IT support is also available in case I have any technical issues.
All these points have helped me stay on track whilst remote learning and I now I see how resilience can be an asset for any kind of pressure exerted on oneself. I would like to thank everyone that contributed to these means of solutions. Please receive this as my contribution to help the next person – you can do it too!