“Hello and welcome to the DHBW Mosbach/Bad Mergentheim, we are happy to welcome you here with us despite the current circumstances!” it sounds from the headset. 30.11.2020, Start at the DHBW Bad Mergentheim, today a little different.
No whispered conversations with the neighbors to see if they are as excited as you are. No first getting to know and exchanging with the students around me, because I sit in front of my laptop alone in my apartment. Then the cameras are turned on and you get a first, blurry, impression of your fellow students. The course coordinators introduce themselves and clarify the organizational matters, then it’s our turn. Later, the cohort above us introduced themselves and told us about their experiences. At the end, there were a few getting-to-know-you games, and that was the end of my start at DHBW.
Did I imagine the start differently? – Yes and no. At
Basically, we were given everything we needed to know for the launch.
But of course I would have preferred it if the whole thing had taken place in presence. It would simply have been a completely different feeling, and would also have created a stronger bond between us students, which happened in this way only later and also in a less personal way. It’s harder to start initial conversations, to discover common topics and interests, and to find out who is on the same wavelength as whom when you don’t have the person standing in front of you.
But did it stop us from getting it all done despite the circumstance of online events? No! And that shows me that the whole issue of “online events” is a change, but by no means directly a deterioration. The learning content was well conveyed to us, we could always ask questions, and even if there were problems with the technology or the transmission, a solution was always found. Because we were well included in the lectures and there was no pure frontal teaching, you could concentrate well and work along despite the long staring at the screen. Since we had the cameras on in some of the group work and lectures, we saw each other from time to time and were able to put faces to all the names. Of course, there wasn’t much room for short private conversations, because typing takes longer than talking and you still have to follow the lecture at the same time. The discussions then had to be postponed until after the lecture. This meant that working on tasks together was then also used for all kinds of conversation topics at the same time.
In the end, the exams turned out a little differently. The first online exam in my life, and then four of them. The first one was quite unusual, but it was not really different than if you had written it in person. We were allowed to use the permitted materials, had 90 minutes and had to photograph and upload the notes at the end.
I imagined my first DHBW phase differently, but all in all it was a successful theory phase.