Blended learning remains the norm for Fermanagh University students

University students are in the midst of returning to college after summer break, but for some university students it will not be business as usual as many universities are cautious and take a hybrid approach to study.

One of those students who will be doing a blended learning is Oisín Maguire from Kinawley, a second year law student at Queen’s University. Oisín completed virtually all of his education at Fermanagh last year, but now plans to return to Belfast as he takes a hybrid approach to learning.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Oisín said: “For me this year is quite different. Last year my course was completely online so I stayed at home. This year part of my classes are on campus so I now live in Belfast. It will be strange to participate in a live seminar.

Oisín will approach apprenticeship this year with some enthusiasm as it will be a new style of learning for the law student.

He said: “I’m not sure how the blended learning style will work. It would be nice to be on campus full time for a more fruitful experience.

Reflecting on the period of full-time online learning and its challenges, Oisín said, “I had difficulty concentrating while looking at a computer screen all day. It was often difficult to motivate me. For the fees we pay, the experience is quite poor.

Other members of the Oisín peer group had a different experience.

He said, “Some friends like to be completely online. Everyone’s experience has varied. At Queen’s, the approach to delivering instruction varies by subject. I have friends who are in medicine who have no idea how many they will be on campus.

I have other friends who are studying at university in the south of Ireland and they are planning to be on campus full time.

Meanwhile, Queen’s University, the University of Ulster and colleges of higher education in Northern Ireland have set up a pop-up vaccination center on campus for dates in September and October. The initiative will open 60 clinics on 30 further and higher education campuses in September.

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Norma A. Roth