This last year has not been ‘normal’ for anyone. But if you are considering a BSc in Computing (or a similar subject) then my experience of the last year may be of interest to you.
I have just completed my first year on the Web & Mobile Development degree within the School of Engineering Arts, Science and Technology, returning to full-time study after ten years in the workplace. I still work part-time and must fit my studying around my two children. Although each day is different and there are periods when I needed to work harder, and other times when I had the chance to work on side projects, I have condensed my summarised experience into one imaginary day.
7:00am – Check ‘Slack’ (a professional social media) to remind myself of my timetable for the day, catch-up with my course mates and laugh at their latest memes.
8:30am – Drop my kids at school and head home again to log on to BrightSpace, the University's online learning portal. Quickly read through last week’s lectures slides and my own notes, getting ready for my online lecture which begins with a multiple-choice quiz about what we learnt last week.
9:30am – Enter the virtual classroom with my microphone switched on so I can catch up with my lecturer, then it is straight into the online Kahoot quiz: I’m hoping to get on to the virtual podium this week.
10:30am – Time for a quick coffee break. I have already written about four pages of notes! These notes will come in useful when I have my end of module exam. I chat privately on Slack with my course-mates about the lecture so far (and share more memes).
12:30pm – Close the virtual classroom and my notebook and take a moment to contemplate all the things I have learnt over the last three hours. I look at the homework tasks and quizzes I have been set on Brightspace which will help me consolidate all I have learnt. I draw up a quick timetable for when I will complete them, setting reminders in my online calendar before lunch.
1:30pm – I start my afternoon by checking my emails: My course leader has replied to my request for informal feedback on my assignment telling me what I need to do to improve. I work through his checklist, thankful that I have his expert advice.
2:30pm – I use the University Library service ‘Summon’ to find academic journals to read, which help me deepen my understanding. I make sure that I reference them carefully when I write my project report.
3:00pm – On my way to pick up my children from school, I collect a textbook which I reserved at the library (it would cost £300 to buy it!) I have time to take my kids to the park for an ice-cream by the swings before coming home again.
4:00pm – While my kids play in the garden, I make a quick group call to my course-mates on Teams. We share the different ways we managed to complete the homework tasks for last week. I upload my homework tasks to Brightspace for my lecturer to mark.
6:00pm – After dinner, I tweet about my day and check LinkedIn so that I stay in touch with the wider computing community.
8:00pm – With the kids asleep, I usually settle down to read a textbook or journal articles, or work through an online tutorial recommended by a lecturer, or work on home-work tasks, but tonight I have booked a baby-sitter so I can go to the pub with my course mates and chat about our work/internship plans for the summer. I can’t stay out too late as I have to go to work at my part-time job in the morning, but tonight my friends and I raise a glass to celebrate our hard work and our brighter future.