With the covid-19 pandemic putting a complete halt on the everyday norm, education has become one of its most affected aspects. For college students, this shift from offline to online education has been a novelty, to say the least.
From rushing to 8 am classes after missed alarms to rolling over to the other side of the bed at 7:59 and joining a virtual class on a laptop – the life of college students has never been the same. This change has completely redefined the meaning of the course and its classes, especially for architecture students. This blog will strike a chord with all students of architecture through the problems they are facing, along with the perks of this online mode of education.
"The new normal"
Stuck in the endless cycle of logging in and out of Teams calls, turning in assignment after assignment, discussing your design with your faculty who is now just a mere profile picture on the screen, watching nights turn into days and days into nights as you sit there staring at your laptop screen – this is how a typical college weekday looks like for the average architecture student. This has been the situation ever since 2020 started and the pandemic forced the colleges to shut their gates. Come 2021 and this is still what we, as architecture students in their early years, go through. But it’s not all bad! This massive, unprecedented shift to online learning is not without its own advantages.
In this blog, we talk about the pros of virtual learning in architecture and how it can help us become better in the field, as well as the daily struggles faced as we wend our way through this temporary (hopefully!) journey of online education.
No more sleeping in the studio?
A defining aspect in any architecture student’s life is their very own studio. It is the place where
they spend a majority of their life as a student, (mostly) working on upcoming deadlines and (sometimes) falling asleep on their drafting boards of exhaustion. Students now are missing out on time in this holy grail of a classroom due to an online studio, lacking a packed environment with fellow classmates bustling with creative energy.
Personalized feedback sessions with faculty are another crucial feature students are lacking. A one-on-one session with an experienced professor is incomparable to a Zoom/Teams meeting where the only tool of communication is the screen. Ideas flow more organically with the faculty scribbling on our sheets. Something about them telling (yelling, at times) us what to do and what not to do, is more enriching than a discussion over a virtual call.
No more travel in education?
If you go out of your way and ask a distressed architecture student what they’re missing out the most on during these times, an answer that would top many of their lists would be site visits! Visiting new and interesting places to learn the subject with a more practical, hands-on approach is a major missing point in this online mode of education.
An acronym for ‘fear of missing out‘, is in fact a syndrome most of the students are suffering from during these times. This fear stems from the inability to be informed 24/7 about what your friend or classmate is doing with their time. There is a constant terror in us, not knowing if our classmates are working on an assignment which we didn’t know existed! Anyone would say this is an irrational fear to have, but it’s an added burden, thanks to
these unprecedented times!
A solution? – Finding middleground!
While in-person studios and classes cannot be completely replicated, it is necessary to adapt to this new normal for the time being. A major tip to stay sane is to stay connected. Talking to friends and classmates, and realizing that they are going through the same thing as you are can help you through your stress.
While online education might not be a permanent circumstance, it is still necessary to learn from the experience and use it as an aid rather than a hinderance in your further education. I would suggest treating this as a glass half-full situation and looking at the brighter side of online education – as there are myriad possibilities to make this a productive and fruitful time in our career, as well as in our lives.
More time to sleep!
For a late-riser, this virtual mode of classes act as a boon. The idea of reaching class on time is demolished with the ability of joining them with just a click of the mouse! Travel limitations are no more, as online education makes it very accessible to attend lectures for a student, no matter what corner of the world they are in, as long as they have a device with an internet connection.
The world comes together to learn..
Nowadays, we see the advent of webinars and online workshops which anyone interested can join in and listen. Conducting guest lectures has never been easier for colleges. With sharing a single link, their students are able to collect tokens of knowledge from professionals and intellectuals from all around the world! We are open to a plethora of topics to research upon and learn with an online education – there is honestly no better time to jump in and quench our thirst for learning!
Proxy? No more!
A well-heard issue from everybody’s college times is the business of attendance. With virtual learning, this is a concern that us students can say goodbye to! Having a perfect attendance might as well be unheard of in a regular college atmosphere but with online education, it is very much achievable by each of us. Missing classes is now a problem of the past! Moreover, recorded lectures provide us with a permanent reference, a resource we can go back to anytime of the day to clear our doubts.
All in all...
The students of architecture have definitely witnessed drastic changes in their learning environment over the past year. Taking every obstacle as a steppingstone in their success journey and appreciating the resources available during these dark times is necessary. I encourage everyone out there, architecture student or not, to stay strong and safe and continue on your path of learning with a strong will. Together, we can and we will get through anything, ultimately inching towards a more hopeful and productive tomorrow.