Designing online learning

2 July 2020
Design students tell us about their experience studying online
Design students are not foreign to the world of digital. This gave them a solid foundation for the transition to online learning. Here, current students tell us a bit about their #usydonline experience.

Semester 1, 2020 has been like no other. Design Computing Students, Brittany Klaassens, Tomas Lawton and Andreas Thoma, tell us a bit about their online learning experience, and their advice for students thinking of joining us in Semester 2.

"This semester has been my first experience of online classes, and I think the switch has been achieved pretty well. I was expecting more of a noticeable difference, but surprisingly it has flowed from in-class to online pretty well. It is great that we have access to technology that could allow us an easy transition. 

While I do miss the face-to-face aspect, a major benefit is that classes are now more accessible, especially for those like myself who have a long commute to uni every day.

Whilst all my classes have made a fantastic effort with the transition to online, I think Design Programming has made a seamless transition to online, almost replicating face-to-face classes through the use of gaming software! Students have the ability to join private voice channels to ask questions, or they can ask more open questions in the general chat! 

For those students who are unsure about online learning, I think my biggest advice would be to trust your tutors and know they are doing the best they can to make your learning experience great! Take this online experience as an opportunity to experience something new, this is a strange time and thinking of positives is a great way to overcome any anxiety you have!"

Brittany Rose Klaassens
Bachelor of Design Computing (Honours)

"I chose Design Computing because it is the only program that allows me to think creatively about technology. Unlike other programs, we learn both the high-level processes/ frameworks for problem-solving as well as the tools for building real, creative solutions!

I decided to study at Sydney because it offers the best exposure to many disciplines through interdisciplinary learning. While many universities offer good programs, no other university allows me to simultaneously study at the Con, the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning as well as take subjects from the Arts and IT faculties.

Many of my classes have already incorporated online platforms such as Slack, Ed, Riot or Zoom. Despite some technical hiccups, I think online learning has promoted efficiency and accessibility. Some classes have even improved because you can instantly ask questions through multiple channels, share screens and send live code.

My favourite online class was Advanced Intro to Programming. All the lectures were pre-recorded and up to date, the entire class content was hosted on Ed and I was able to get timely help through Ed or the Riot server my tutor was running. This class also had no delays from COVID-19 and was running the same week that isolation began!

Everybody is experiencing the effects of COVID-19 so beginning your studies online is not a disadvantage. Delaying your start, means you will only have to do it later!"

Tomas Lawton
Bachelor of Design Computing

"I’d never had any experience with online classes so it’s all new to me!

I think I was expecting more of an emphasis on lectures; learning that content yourself with the tutorials more of a troubleshooting from that content. However, it’s been the exact opposite, with way more face to face than I expected, which has been really great, especially with tutors making sure that you really understand what you are meant to apply to your work and projects. We’re already a pretty digitally focussed degree, but it was nice to see how easy the switchover to online classes was (from the students perspective at least!).

I’ve been lucky to have tutors who have really tried their best to make subjects as interesting as it might have been face-to-face, with platforms like Slack and Zoom really making the learning experience feel more like a social network with teachers and students. If you ask a question online it’s been a really quick response most of the time, with other students and tutors able to add their own questions and/or answers to the discussion, making learning feel like a team effort.

It’s entirely possible to not only complete, but get more out of your classes than you might do if they were face to face. The 2 hours I spent commuting to Uni every day I can now spend how I want, be it relaxing, or working at something new, and while motivation can be difficult in current circumstances, it’s extremely rewarding putting self-driven effort in at home to achieve the results you want."

Andreas Thoma
Bachelor of Design Computing