CP307 is my 5th remote setting block and my fourth virtual block focusing on CS or Math. Each of my professors has taken different approaches to distance learning, but I think a key part of being successful in an online class is where and how team collaboration is done. For solely discussion-based classes (granted I have only taken one online), group collaboration and class discourse are done during class. Individual work is done outside of class in the form of readings, writings, and other non-group assignments. For more lecture-style classes (and this is not saying they aren’t also discussion-based), the lecture or relaying of information is done during class time and the group-collaboration or teamwork is done outside of class. The lecture is not contingent on the other members of the class (although their questions and thoughts are crucial) and outside of class homework assignments and projects are more collaborative. It can be hard to make that outside of class team collaboration happen un-organically online but it can also be hard to engage in a discussion-based class when you are staring at a screen.
One of the best ways to approach this odd setting is what Professor Whitehead and a few of my other professors have chosen: pre-recorded lectures. As excited as I am to be back in the classroom someday, I really hope that lectures are forever recorded. With pre-recorded lectures in conjunction with a synchronous session for Q and A, I am able to go at a pace that works for me. That means that on Monday, I was able to work ahead to Wednesday, knowing I was going to be busy then. Additionally, being able to pause a lecture or rewind a lecture is a true blessing. As I prepared for an upcoming test, if I wasn’t able to understand any material, I have all the lectures at my fingertips. Additionally, I have noticed a key difference in what makes a class successful or not in the online setting. As for teamwork, I think that Q and A sessions allow you to collaborate with team members, and the study groups that Professor Whitehead set up allowed us to use each other to brainstorm when we get stuck on homework or studying. While no online situation is going to be ideal, I do appreciate the flexibility it allows us and the adaptability of it.
Throughout CP307, we have been working on expanding our library of data structures. We are learning about the things that I have somewhat painful memories of from previous exposure to them in previous classes. However, I think taking these classes after taking a decent amount of CS classes means that I am understanding the material better and am approaching the assignments in a more deliberate and thought-out way.