As part of our ongoing Pandemic Pedagogy initiative, we are delighted to be able to announce that the winner of our student video competition is Deborah Arolake Adelodun, a History student at the University of Warwick. We asked entrants to reflect on their experience of being a student of History in the new digital world and were particularly impressed with Deborah’s entry, which considers some of the benefits of the transition to learning digitally. You can watch Deborah’s video here:
We also asked Deborah to write short reflection to expand on some of the points that she makes in the video:
In this video I share some of my own opinions about being a history student in a “new digital world.” Firstly, it is important to note that in understanding the impact of this new digital world has on History students it is also important to look at the pandemic that precipitated this new shift. If there is anything Covid-19 has shown it is the significance of history experts in understanding and helping to tackle crisis, leading to History degrees hopefully being regarded with more prestige and respect. I think the transition to online learning has produced considerable benefits, one major one being an increased room for flexibility. Online lectures, for example, have meant less rigid and controlled schedules. Students now have the luxury of working in their own time at a suitable pace. However, naturally, this change does present some challenges. I personally have found myself experiencing a sense of disconnectedness. It is fair to say that a computer screen cannot provide the same experiences human interaction can and have done in the past. Not being able to physically interact with others or even be in the same room as classmates can make one feel isolated and perhaps even alone during one’s journey at university. Notwithstanding, I believe the occasional face-to-face lessons have compensated for this alienation to some degree and, despite the limitation imposed by Covid-19, the overall experience has helped to engage history students with broader debates and discussion. It is quite clear that lecturers have thoughtfully shaped online learning with the aim of providing quality and relatively easy-to-use teaching that can be matched with conventional, in-person teaching.
As Deborah Arolake Adelodun observes in this thoughtful video, we are ourselves a part of history, even if we don’t always see ourselves in this light. Future generations will consider the ways in which higher education responded to the challenges of this pandemic. When they do, they will be impressed by the incisive analysis offered by today’s university students, and also by the ability of students such as Deborah Arolake Adelodun to take a critical, historical perspective on this global calamity.