'I know I enjoyed it!', 'a newfound trust in my own abilities and new skills', 'the commitment shown by all the support staff at the University has been exceptional'
In March 2020 the Law School staff and students had to move, almost overnight to an online learning and teaching experience. We caught up with three of our students who have fed back their experience and thoughts!
‘Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all lectures on the Magee campus were moved online. As these were unforeseen circumstances, I was wary about the logistics of the online lectures. In reality, it was a much smoother transition than I had expected. My lecturers did their utmost to answer any questions we had and went above and beyond to mark drafts and provide quality feedback in a short space of time. Lectures online ran better than I had anticipated, with an organised system in place if you needed to ask any questions.
‘The library was also quick to transition to online services, with ebooks made available from a range of different sources, providing students with the opportunity to access books that they couldn’t obtain from the library. This was a major help during assignments as it meant information could be easily accessed online.
‘Overall, the transition to the online learning environment was a positive experience for me, despite the strange circumstances. The services remained of a good quality despite the move, and staff were helpful with any issues raised.’
Aodhán McCaughey, First year law student, Magee
'When the idea of online learning was introduced amidst a global pandemic, the uncertainty surrounding my second year of university was worrying. Immediately, the university made an incredible effort to provide students with additional online resource access for textbooks, articles and all other relevant academic software and material alongside providing online writing classes to assist students in achieving the best grade possible. The support from lecturers, wider university staff and other students has been exceptional.
'The Law School staff have been excellent since the beginning of my studies at the Ulster University Magee campus, so it was unsurprising that I settled quickly into a new routine of regular online lectures and seminars. Completing assignments from home was made easy with the constant support of lecturers and the additional material made available to students.
'The online learning experience has provided me with a newfound trust in my own abilities and new skills that have allowed me to confidently undertake virtual work placements with corporate law firms. Whilst the unknown was frightening at the end of March, Ulster University have ensured that students have had, and will continue to have, the same high quality of learning at home as we usually do on campus. I look forward to continuing online learning this September.'
Jade McGowan, Law LLB (Hons) Year Two
'Covid-19 has been extremely unsettling for both current and future university students. Like many, I was apprehensive and uncertain about the how this pandemic would affect my university experience and educational performance. Despite my concerns, Ulster University, Magee has made an exceptionally successful transition to online learning in order to combat the spread of Coronavirus and guarantee the health and safety of its students. As a result, my experience of online learning has been extremely positive, and I would highly commend Ulster University for its continuous support and commitment to maintaining an admirable level of teaching.
'Although many remain anxious about the unprecedented challenges that could lie ahead due to Covid-19, Ulster University has proved that it will never compromise the quality of its teaching and that every student will be treated fairly.
'The equality and welfare of staff and students alike is of central importance to the University and therefore a more flexible approach was given to the faculty guidelines for the submission of assignments during the peak of this crisis in order to allow everyone to successfully make the transition from face-to-face learning onto an online platform. As a result, the alternative online assessment methods have been highly successful, showcasing the extraordinary dedication of all staff and students to strive to bolster academic performance within a new, but versatile, study environment. Additionally, the commitment shown by all the support staff at the University has been exceptional, and by placing additional study resources online students have not been disadvantaged due to the library closures.
'In my opinion, the most important advantage presented by online learning has been the opportunity to develop my skills and qualities within a learning environment which best works for me. I have been able to enhance both my self-discipline and self-motivation skills by managing my time in order to successfully meet all deadlines to a high standard without any distractions. I am confident that the benefits of online learning outweigh the initial doubts that many may have, and the ability to both adapt to changing situations and build new skills are qualities that stand out to employers among candidates.'
Katie Sloan LLB Year Two; Katie is the incoming president of the Magee Student Law Society
'Magee has a strong community feel and it is this bond that has continued throughout online teaching. At UU you really feel part of a team as the lecturers make an effort to check in and know each student individually.
'The features of online learning at UU have continued this sense of belonging as you can engage virtually with lecturers as though you were there in person. For me, the best thing about having online lectures is that they are recorded so you have the option to replay the lectures to understand things more clearly. In addition, if you were still unsure the lecturers were always so friendly, helpful and timely at getting back to you, whether this was through email, arranging online meetings or through discussion boards.
'There are so many new and useful resources with learning online, you have more available at your fingertips than you did before and it is more efficient rather than travelling to University for a 1-3 hour lecture. Instead you get to be at home in your own comforts i.e you are in your pyjamas, waking up 10 minutes before the lecture begins and are on time with that same engagement of a real lecture, without any time wasted. Who does not like the sound of that? I know I enjoyed it!'
Nikita Short, LLB Hons Law with Accounting FT Final Year Student