Nagisa is an international student in Vancouver, Canada, who previously wrote the article “Flying Back to Japan During COVID19”. In Canada, almost all school campuses are closed due to the pandemic, and most of the post-secondary institutions have shifted their in-person courses to online courses. She is currently taking some online courses of Capilano University (CapU) and is going to tell us how online courses work and what kind of software she uses for them.
Since the end of March, all of my in-person courses at CapU have been replaced with online courses due to the ongoing global pandemic. As many other post-secondary schools are also making the same change, I thought sharing my experience would help other international students as well, so in this article, I will be showing you how I study for my online courses.
1. Online School Portal
Most post-secondary schools have their own online school portals. The online school portal shows which courses I am currently taking, and all assignments and class materials are uploaded there under each course page. In my case, each course page shows a weekly schedule so students can preview their course materials before class. I can also download the course materials onto my computer so I can take notes on them during class time.
Students can also submit their assignments and reports through this portal so they don’t have to bring the physical copies to their professors. In addition, they can also take exams through the portal site. Before the exam time, professors upload exam sections on the portal and send log-in passwords to each student email (Read 2 for more info). Students can log into the exam section when the exam starts, and it automatically shuts down at the scheduled exam end time.
2．School Email System
All post-secondary school students receive their school email addresses when they start their schools. This school email is used along with the school portal (1). Students receive announcements from their professors to this email system. They can also send emails to their professors using their emails when they have questions about their school materials or assignments.
3. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a new system introduced to CapU students at the end of March. Professors send Microsoft Team links to student emails so students can clink to join the Teams for each class. When the class starts, professors start video chat in each Teams and students join the chat. Professors take attendance just like the in-person class. There is a tool on this system called “share screen” where professors can share their screens and PowerPoint slides to their students. This system allows students to have regular in-person-like classes except that class discussion may not work for these types of class. Yet, students can still ask questions to their professors through their microphones.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular online communication tools, especially in North America. It is similar to any other online communication tool, such as Messenger, LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat or Skype. We can chat, call, and videocall our friends individually/in a group on Whatsapp. This group communication system is useful for students when they have group assignments.
Google Drive is online file storage. You can save any data on Google Drive, like photos, videos, or PDF files. One of the most special things about Google Drive is that it offers Google Doc, Google Sheet and Google Slide. They are similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but the special thing about these is that multiple people can edit the same file from different devices at the same time. Once you create a Doc/Sheet/Slide file, you can click “Share” on the top righthand corner so whoever you wish can have access to the same file. It is very useful for group work because all of your group members can edit the same file at the same time and you can even see who is editing which part. This system is free and the only thing you need is the Google Account.
While we are in unprecedented times, the software and kindness of professors out there have made the transition that much easier. Google Drive, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, the school email system, and online school portal’s have made things easier for students in terms of submitting work and learning digitally. With these tools, studying for online courses has never been easier.