Learning to learn remotely
By Kajol Bhatia, second-year Journalism student, Student Content Team
In the two years I've spent here at SAIT, or even the 22 years I've lived on this earth, I never thought I’d find myself experiencing a pandemic, asked to stay home and watch the whole world go into lockdown. I'm sure neither did you.
The worst part is there isn't much we can do other than to stay put and wait this out.
While we wait, we need to learn a whole new way of how to function in this new “normal.”
As this semester draws to a close and a new one is about to start up for many others, you might feel like you're missing out on the real student experience because, trust me, I feel that too. But as I sit here writing this, literally footsteps away from SAIT’s campus, I know even though I'm not there, the community is strong. We are here to support each other while we settle into online learning.
There are many ways to make the best of the remote learning experience — we're all in together.
- I joined SAIT's Fall 2018 Facebook group before I moved to Canada. Through conversations there, I met other students in the Journalism program. We made a group for ourselves and spoke to each other through chat. It's actually how I made friends from my class before the semester even started. It's terrifying to start college all on your own — this way, you have a friend to talk to, someone who’s going through a similar experience.
- Engage in discussions through D2L with your classmates — they’re adjusting to this experience too. If you’re new to SAIT, engage with students from other programs in the new student Facebook group. Check your email for your invitation to join.
- Our instructors are the best thing about SAIT. They have years of industry experience and real-world knowledge to help prepare students for situations they might face in their careers. It’s truly a hands-on approach to education here. Since your interactions with instructors won’t be in-person for the next little while, you can still take advantage of their virtual office hours and build a connection. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions — they’re here to help you grow, even after you’re done with your course.
“Your first impression is the last impression.” This is a statement I live by in my life. Use class time productively by being prepped on the topics and engage in discussions related to the coursework. My instructors were available to answer my questions when I struggled to choose my major at the end of my first year and have always been helpful.
Take advantage of resources
- The Reg Erhardt Library and the SAIT Bookstore are awesome resources available to you and easily accessible online. You can order textbooks to your mailing address, or buy eBooks if available online, along with other essential tools and equipment needed. The library allows you access to programs and software, textbooks and online resources and various research material.
- The Lamb Learner Success Centre is a great resource for tools like Academic Coaching, Tutoring, Accessibility Services and Financial Advising. Their services are available online and they can help with online learning strategies. Connect with the team through email, and phone or video appointments.
- The Peer Mentorship Program can help you connect with current or senior students from your program to answer questions and also provide you with mentorship support throughout your course.
- Another prime resource in my personal experience has been the International Centre. They are focused on ensuring international students are comfortable and have access to the tools they need to succeed at SAIT. The International Centre is currently advising students through phone or video appointments and can give guidance on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) laws, permits and any other questions or concerns international students might have. The on-campus community of international students is quite large and when we get back to campus, you can enjoy multiple cultural events organized by the centre in collaboration with student clubs.
- SAIT understands that student mental health is an important aspect of a successful education. The Student Development and Counselling team are available by phone to support students through this difficult and uncertain time. While we try to move ahead with our lives in the pandemic, things can get overwhelming, so it’s important to have healthy coping strategies.
- The Interfaith Centre chaplains and staff are also available for students seeking spiritual support as well.
I wish you well in this new experience. Remember, you’re part of the SAIT community and even if you're not physically on campus, support is available to help you through this transformational time.