Goodbye Zoom – Hello School!

It’s Sunday evening, and my alarm is set at 06.00 am. Monday is approaching, exams are coming up, and I’m about to have my most productive week of this semester so far. I’ll workout in the mornings, study microeconomics harder than Marie Curie on radioactivity – simply get stuff done. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. So as I said- my alarm is set, and I’m ready to be the best version of myself. But things don’t work out exactly as planned…

When the alarm goes off the following morning I’m way too tired from last night. I stayed up watching “How I Met Your Mother” for so long, Ted and Robin managed to break up and get together again – twice. I snooze until 6.30, then 7.00. And 08.00. When I finally get up, it’s time to start my day. I have a busy schedule, but no one will notice if I don’t follow it. I text my friend Ebba, who I was supposed to workout with, and tell her I’m sorry that I didn’t show up. “No worries!”, she answers. She wasn’t there herself.

Covid and home studying has made me feel like I’ve entered an eternal summer break where I can’t seem to manage my schedule the way I should. Ebba seems to have the same problem, and I bet we’re not the only ones. So as the university announced that online classes are officially over from November 1st, I was thrilled! I won’t lie – studying from home has had its pros. More free time, no commuting time, and a quiet home perfect for concentrating on maths and assignments. We will also have to say goodbye to all of the cozy routines we made up during covid. At least I’ll have to. Pyjamas and cozy slippers don’t seem like the right outfit for lectures at our university, that from a glance of its students and their looks could be a fashion school as well as economics.

As I thought about November 1st, I knew how at least I felt about it: distance learning had its pros, mentioned above, but I’m ready to enter campus. I want a schedule, a place to be. I want to meet my classmates and my professors. I wondered how the professors feel. We are after all in the same boat. I decided to interrogate two of the professors I’ve met in my program so far – Johan Anselmsson and Tommy Andersson. I asked them how they ́ve experienced online classes, and how they feel about students returning to campus.

Johan Anselmsson, professor at Marketing, described a feeling of decreased commitment over the latest semester. Since we started studying at home, we’ve all missed out on communication with each other. Meeting and communicating with students is very important for the students as well as the professors, which has been harder during online classes. “You need to see the students’ reactions to what is said in the lecture hall. Body language, commitment, hesitant show of hands and when their focus slides down the cell phone. Sitting in front of a computer screen is not as stimulating at all, especially now that many cameras have been turned off”, Anselmsson explained. He thinks that the upcoming autumn will start a little bit slow. Hall booking, some older professors that need to be more careful with meeting students, and other factors will show that things aren’t yet 100% normal. Towards spring, he believes that everything will be back at full speed. Some moments may remain online forever, like guest lectures or shorter supervisions. But Anselmsson thinks that in general, Lund University has a lot to win on bringing most of its education back on campus.

Tommy Andersson, professor at the department of economics, agrees that campus-based education is the preferable choice. The biggest benefit will be to meet the students face to face again. Not being on campus and meeting students and co-workers have been a real challenge for the students as well as the employees. Still, he is amazed by how well students have handled distance learning. Surprisingly little complaints have been heard, and he has seen better results than he thought at first. “Another advantage is that I am convinced that teaching will now be better. Partly because it is difficult to get the same dynamics on zoom that you get in a lecture hall. But also because many teachers during the pandemic have developed materials – such as recorded films – that will complement the existing teaching on Campus. Many of us have learned some tricks to make students more involved in the lecture – such as experiments and surveys”, Andersson concludes.

To sum up, me and our professors are looking forward to November 1st.
A long period of studying at home is soon over, and some of us will enter campus for the very first time. But now – back to my pyjamas!

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