The first online semester at HMKW: A student tells us more about her experiences

Suddenly it was all virtual: In an interview, student Martha Harms reports how she felt about the first online semester at HMKW and describes how she feels the university has mastered the new challenges.

 Martha Harms studies graphic design and visual communication (dual course of study).

Martha Harms studies graphic design and visual communication (dual course of study).

March 2020: It was announced that a large part of the courses would now be held exclusively online. What thoughts went through your head when you first heard about this?

I thought the online lectures were exciting and I was looking forward to it. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical about it because creative work or working in a group in face-to-face mode is much nicer. But at the same time I was curious if and how learning and studying would work in the online mode. During my internship I was used to online meetings, which helped me to switch from face-to-face to online teaching.

In your opinion, how well did the university react to the Corona crisis?

The fact that detailed information about the process and handling of the online lectures was communicated in advance prepared me well for distance learning. The flood of news through newspapers and TV in March was a bit of a surprise and the confusion about which corona rules apply to whom was great. The status mails and updates from the university were helpful for my own planning and orientation at that time.

Online vs. presence: How did you like your online courses? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of teaching in your opinion?

Especially at the beginning, the acclimatization followed a bit the trial and error principle. But after the first few lectures I was positively surprised how well the distance learning worked in the course. Professors and lecturers have been working with very helpful, new online tools that have made learning and communication much easier. Technical problems have made the online teaching progress somewhat slower in some cases, but could usually be solved relatively quickly. A well-functioning wireless LAN is a prerequisite for the switch to distance learning, but for various reasons it cannot always be guaranteed. I see this as a disadvantage of such a form of teaching, especially if you miss parts of the lectures.

But the time saved by not having to commute between university and home was a bonus. I can imagine that online courses can become part of everyday study life in the long term, if they are well organized.

You are currently writing your bachelor thesis. How does it actually feel in times of Corona?

Of course, some corona regulations do not make working easier, especially with regard to the practice project. Spontaneous work in the nearby library is now only possible by appointment and for a limited time. I miss the face-to-face communication and the personal exchange. But I have got used to the change of work in the meantime and try to make the best out of the situation.

Thanks for the interview. We wish you much success for your bachelor thesis!