The Covid Conundrum
It's been a difficult time with a lot of changes and just like many, I'm a little disappointed that the course was forced to change into something not quite what we expected. This is, of course, something that is nobody's fault and something that simply had to be done for legal, health and safety reason, that said, it's still sad. Regardless of this, I'll keep going in this course and just try and do the best I can with what we've collectively been given this semester. Although I have some reservations I like to think of myself as a positive person and hope that this semester will still prove to be both educational and entertaining. The only thing I do really hope for is that our team will at the end be able to put together our different project areas and create something that is, at the very least, a cohesive entity.
I have some worries when it comes to both Lectures and presentations over Zoom, we've already experienced some crashes and I fear that they are likely as steadily more of Australia and the rest of the world is moving to purely online education and work environment. We've had a group meeting already where we've used Discord to discuss the future of our project and such and our group was not a fan. We've all been used to having mostly physical meetings which makes it much easier to read body language and in general, I find it much easier to work together when everyone is present. After this week's group meeting we all considered actually meeting up in person for future meetings while taking the necessary precautions. However, this seems to now not be possible since the government has reduced public gathering restrictions from 10 to 2, meaning that only half of the team could possibly meet at the same time. This for us means that we simply have to make do with the tools available do the best we can and make sure that everyone stays as happy and healthy as possible.
This week we listened to all presentations over Zoom, I find that these all-day presentation days can be very taxing, this fact was not reduced by the fact that we were using Zoom. Although it was better then I expected and there are some benefits to this since I live with one of my classmates and we're able to discuss and clarify things while the presentations are going on. However, sitting for that long in front of a TV hearing all kinds of different sound qualities and volumes is a little extra tiring.
I was fairly happy with our presentation, I highly prefer doing these in person so that I can see the people I'm presenting for and especially during feedback not having to listen to a bunch of mics but, listening to and discussing in person is just so much easier and effective. As far a content goes I feel we hit most of the points and presented our idea clearly. We received some very valuable feedback from the Lora and the Tutors during the live feedback and the group meeting afterwards.
On Friday we had a group meeting where we went through all the feedback we received, both the ones we got live and the ones that we got on Slack from our peers. A large portion of the SLack feedback was around a couple of points and focused mostly around making it a more every day in-house thing instead of a thing on campus. Not only is that a good idea in general, but it is also especially a relevant thing at this moment when everyone has to stay at home and tensions are likely to run high. Some were more about adding more or different interaction which we have considered and talked about and some are to be considered further or included in our idea as we keep refining it in preparation for the proposal. In general I' happy with how our team has functioned this far, we've worked well together and things are running about as smoothly as you can expect.
In general, I'm very pleased with what everyone has produced. There were some presentations that were a little hard to follow or understand but the majority were created well and with decent enough quality. I feel most of the presentations answered well to the brief, some were a little off on some of the points but they were covered during the feedback, both live and in the Slack comments. Although I felt that there were many good comments I feel discussing an idea in an open classroom is a lot more effective and collective, people building on each other's feedback etc. Although this is possible to do on Zoom it's just really not the same or as effective.
I have to say that my attention span decreased rapidly during the last 30-60 minutes both days and hope that we won't have such long periods of time with people just presenting in a while and that most classes going forward will be more interactive.