So, a complete change to the way we all work. Simple enough I suppose? Easier still, if it was that you could work without life’s distractions. Let’s be honest working from home, without the choices to be elsewhere has been interesting, adapting to a new kind of ‘normal’. Let’s break it down into my own experiences as of late and see if there are many out there who might just be feeling the same way.
Lecturing in lockdown
As the lockdown landed upon us, Semester two was a good way along with the Easter break to come, and a couple of teaching weeks beyond. Students on the whole were progressing nicely with projects and assignments, the end goal for the semester was well in sight. Staffordshire University and Staffordshire Business school looked at two main platforms Blackboard Collaborate and my favourite Microsoft Teams. As the saying “we are living on teams” is currently doing the rounds on TV advertising, I can honestly say the phrase has never been so fitting!
One of the key changes beyond the set lecturing times, was the ability for students to openly contact during the working day, to discuss their projects and assignments. Sometimes just a few minutes of contact helps, we can discuss and work together to guide students but, utilising the Teams platform virtually, seems to make the approach of support almost simpler than trying to arrange a face to face one to one during a regular week. This alone I believe has helped to relieve some of the lockdown related anxiety linked to continuing with university studies.
Having sat and read a good blog recently by Oliver Lindermann, on a lecturer’s approach to learning in lockdown and dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. It seems there has been a lot of positive ways to use online tools, and it seems that ‘we’ are bending to an approach that has been enforced on us.
Post lockdown I personally will continue this link with digital communication, I believe it to have been a positive not only for the student but, as a lecturer being able to support students during a very confusing time. Adapting the use of online platforms will now become the new normal and from a digital marketer perspective, a time to embrace digital technology.
For those who find this time more personally challenging there are supporting networks available and not just via your place of study, take a look here at ways to support your mental health during lockdown.
A student perspective
Its a confusing time as a student, with the economy being paused and social circles being strained to breaking point, getting your mind into the right place to research and produce the best work you can is much harder than it seems. During this year, I have been studying (as a mature student) a digital marketing MSc and I’m someone who will honesty say, they do not study well from home. Living with my wife, our children and three dogs plus everything else that goes with living in a hectic household it’s not always the ideal environment. It is not just me either, my wife who is also working from home, struggles – we are supporting all the children attempting to study and keep some level of normality. Not an easy task and not one without the occasional issue (some larger than others). Just to make life more complicated, we are moving house and are surrounded by packed boxes. The joys.
So as a student, what is missing and what can I do about it? Teams allows the ability to link up with peers and up to now we have utilised it to deliver group presentations and online work collaborations. Its always good at times to catch up with your course friends, and help each other out with possible project issues, perhaps it is easier now than before with screen sharing abilities. The change has also allowed the option to seek peer review advice, along with the support with the fantastic lecturing teams.
It is all still possible. I’m a big believer in this statement. Staffordshire University from both student and lecturer perspective have, in my own opinion, adapted well to the movement of online delivery of lectures and uploading of multiple resources. At any stage when I have reached out for help, someone has been there to support and that is to the credit of the individual lecturers, who are also handling the same issues working remotely in home environments.
One of the biggest barriers, from what I see, is the complex circumstances to each and every student. Some of us are key workers, some are separated from family, not one set of situations we experience are the same but we are in this together.
Initially, lockdown generated this feeling that the freelancer was to not be required for the time being, that was not something that materialised. From the trends Holdcroft Digital Marketing witnessed, there was a push into updating digital presence, including website development and the commissioning of new business websites. Some of which, I posted within the recent portfolio work. Social media marketing has been a hot discussion point with clients, seeking strategy advice during the crisis and the pending dates of businesses and services reopening. Other projects are underway and the need to engage digitally has never been more urgent. We are here to help your business however we can. Contact us here should you seek some free digital marketing advice or how to handle digital marketing during lockdown.