My Virtual Seminar Experience
When I received an email from one of my English Literature lecturers announcing that we would be having live seminars, I’ve got to admit, I was a little bit anxious. I really didn’t know what to expect. I especially dreaded the idea of being on camera, in the morning, in front of people. I’d seen posts online from other students who had already had a live lecture or seminar, and not all had been successful. Many talked about how their pets had decided to attention-seek in the middle of a lecture. Others had reported how awkward it had been, technical issues, or noisy family members.
Fortunately, my first virtual seminar wasn’t too bad at all. Shortly before the start, I settled myself down with my laptop and a cup of tea, waiting for other people to connect, unsure whether or not to switch my camera on. A couple of minutes later, five or six people had joined the seminar and the lecturer began by checking if we could all hear her, and assured us that we didn’t have to put our cameras on if we didn’t want to. That was such a relief!
The seminar began and we spent almost two hours discussing two of our set texts, with a short visit from my lecturer’s cat. Thankfully, it wasn’t too awkward and each of us managed to contribute something to the discussion. Despite the fact we couldn’t do our usual group work, it was still a very useful, interesting seminar. It was nowhere near as disastrous as I thought it would be. The second virtual seminar was also a success. Although it’s not ideal compared to face-to-face teaching, in my experience, it is definitely better than nothing.
By Katie Waits