Lock-down story – Virtual classroom

Just prior to lock-down I was caught speeding, this resulted in me receiving the dreaded letter of intended prosecution.

By this time lock-down had started so I wrongly thought that the police would have other things on their mind and forget about my speeding charge, sadly this wasn’t the case and I received a second letter giving me a limited amount of time to respond.

It was at this point that I realised that I qualified for the speed awareness course and in doing so would mean avoiding points on my license. I was however interested to see how this would work under lock-down restrictions. After returning the forms I shortly received a letter inviting me to attend an online speed awareness course. I was directed to a website where I was given the options of choosing a date to do the course. Once I had paid the course fee I was sent information on how and when to enroll, I was also told how to change the course date and time if I so wished.

When the date and time came for enrolling, I followed the instructions and entered the online course, which was on a virtual meeting platform called Microsoft Teams. Once enrolled I was greeted by the course instructor who opened up a separate private virtual room where I could confirm my identity (Driving License) I was then invited to join the rest of the course, were we were all then asked to introduce ourselves (there was about ten of us altogether).

The tutor then started the course by explaining how long it was going to last and how it would work, he then muted all our microphones only unmuting us if we were asked direct questions, or put up a virtual online hand saying we had a question. The virtual hand I discovered was a little symbol at the bottom of the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting room, this was all a little bit new to me but at the same time interesting.

The course was made up of several videos to watch and then we were asked questions either individually or as a group. We were also asked to take notes and do some sketches that we then held up to the camera to prove participation.

This was my very first experience in a virtual classroom and hopefully not my last ( well my last on a speed awareness course). I found that the experience was better than I expected and although you don’t have the exact same group discussions and so on that happen in the actual classroom environment, there is an element of peer interaction and observation.

I don’t think that this will or should completely take over from the more normal classroom situation but I do believe that there is definitely a place for it in the modern learning environment, and something that maybe we should all be looking at a little bit more closely.

Simon Walker

URTU Learning

Project Worker