Cape Town - No lectures? No problem. For a select few, that means basking in the sunshine, lounging on the beach and finishing the university curriculum.
Lectures on the beach have become a possibility for those engaging in “blended learning”, an education programme that involves combining the internet and digital media with conventional classroom methods which has been adopted by UCT after the #FeesMustFall student protests.
“My blended learning experience entailed a lot of procrastination, movies and going to the beach,”said student Keanu Domingo.
A mild reminder that it’s actually exams has only just begun to sink in: “It’s started to hit me so I’ve been trying to get a lot of work done,”he said.
Since the suspension of lectures, blended learning has been used to continue the academic year and provide stability during a period of uncertainty regarding the completion of the year.
Domingo decided to make the most of the situation:
“Most of the time I studied in super fun places. I know a lot of other people are stressed, but I went home to J-bay, sat on the beach or in the garden and studied with my dogs and some snacks at hand. I took it quite relaxed and just tried to make the best of a bad situation.
“If I wasn’t able to choose my own study space, I don’t know how I would have got through it.”
Lecture videos and readings were made available online.
“Resources were mostly online as that’s where all the work that we couldn’t get through was available.
“The positives were that I could choose my work environment. I chose the beach.
“I have always been better at learning on my own, so for me, having the opportunity to lie outside with my books in an environment that wasn’t stressful and one I wanted to be in made me more productive. Another plus was that I could eat as much as I wanted while working, which is a bit harder to do when you’re sitting in a tutorial or lecture theatre.
“On a more serious note, blended learning has enabled me to complete the academic year and exams are scheduled to take place, for which I am grateful,”he said.
And the negatives? “It’s difficult to write study notes and snack at the same time, and it’s weird staring at a lecturer onscreen for hours on end, it gets really boring,”he joked.
One a more serious note: “The reality of this kind of learning is the stature of my degree might be affected because I am missing out on physical classes from recognised lecturers and academics.
“I think the issue will have a lot of detrimental implications, students pay such high fees and now they will be missing out on having the accreditation that a UCT degree has previously held. Without the additional practical resources, such as hot-seats and tuts, self-studying has become a bigger challenge for many students,”said Domingo.
Apart from studying on the beach, Domingo said, “Overall, the reality is that the negatives far outweigh the positives and I much prefer the interaction and structure that comes with attending on campus lectures.”