As a prospective student, I am sure you have many questions surrounding, what is studying at KI like during COVID-19? Having concerns regarding your academics, student life, moving and living in Sweden are all very valid concerns. My goal is to explain a little bit about how hybrid learning is currently being conducted in the Masters in Public Health programme.
How does it work?
Each programme is doing their hybrid learning a little differently. Our programme has decided to do it approximately 50/50 online and on-campus, with our entire class following the same schedule. Some programmes have staggered the individual programme to come on different days, so I am grateful that our class is all on campus together when we do have in-person class time.
Our online classes are all conducted on zoom, which you can log in to using your KI account. To maintain class participation and collaboration, we often are put into break out rooms to discuss in small groups. When we are on campus, our lecture halls have been adjusted to be conducive to distancing and hand sanitizer is available in all buildings. You are welcome to wear a mask if that makes you feel more comfortable.
In general, KI has spaced the various Masters programmes, so that not all programmes are on campus at the same time and if you are not feeling well, you are encouraged to stay home, and most courses can offer you a zoom link to join from distance.
What works well?
Overall, they are doing their best in this tough time. I am grateful to be in Sweden, where the situation and restrictions enable us to maintain some activities in person and that we even have the option to be on campus 50% of the time. My class was even able to go on a field trip the other day.
Additionally, sometimes it is nice to be able to have your classes from the comfort of your home and not constantly have to commute to school, pay for coffee or brave the rainy weather. With Zoom having this breakout room function, you still get some sort of communication and collaboration with your classmates and when you do get to go to campus, you appreciate that learning environment and your classmates.
In general, you will get out of online learning what you put in. It is possible to stay engaged and connected, but you may have to put in more effort to achieve that than you would otherwise, but it is possible.
What are the challenges?
Being online, it can be harder to stay engaged when you have all the distractions of your home. It takes some time to figure out what at-home learning style works for you, for example, sitting on the couch or setting up your desk, staying in your PJs etc.
Unfortunately, being online is not as conducive to expansive discussions that can take place in the classroom, in live time, without technological difficulties and lags. Programmes at KI are often very diverse in culture and academic backgrounds, and I believe collaborating is one of the biggest learning opportunities in this programme. Therefore, having reduced or restricted discussions online is the biggest con for me.
How does it compare to previous years?
In my first year of the programme, pre-COVID, our schedule was primarily in person, with no classes online. However, since KI values individual study time, there were many days last year where we were not on campus, rather working on a group assignment or studying individually. Therefore, the time on campus does not feel drastically different. However, the biggest difference is the vibe when you are on campus has changed. With programmes being staggered, and facilities being closed (e.g. the gym), it does not have the same campus atmosphere as before.
Overall, KI is making it work and I hope we will be back on campus as soon as possible!
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!
Hi! I am Lauren, I was born and raised in Canada, and you probably will hear me talking about how much I love Canada, especially the mountains. I am the blogger for the Master's Public Health Sciences Health Promotion and Prevention stream and I am excited to share my experiences with you!