Second year BSc (Hons) Computer Security student, Toby Jackson, found himself completing his second year of studies remotely via online learning. He discovered that the sudden distance brought students closer together and with fantastic support from the USW Cyber team, was able to complete exams and assignments comfortably and confidently at home. Here, Toby tells us more about his experiences of distance learning at USW.
"At first, I wasn't entirely sure about how the end of the year would function, with the sudden access to so many resources and equipment gone in the light of COVID-19 entering the UK. Thankfully, the Cyber team were great, and as soon as we were informed that we were not going to be able to attend university, and use the security/forensic computer suites, they started working on enabling us to access the devices and software remotely.
Instructions were clear and concise, and all teething issues were handled appropriately and faster than expected. In a time of crisis, the course leaders specifically stepped up their communication and made us feel like nothing was too much to ask for. E-mails were answered promptly, requests for specific software acknowledged and in the most part, fulfilled. Remote access was fantastic - it meant we could access all our work that was saved on the university network, a necessity when revising, and that the programs we had been using over the past couple of years were accessible from the comfort of our beds. Aside from the lack of social interaction, and library access, nothing had changed in terms of facilities offered by the team.
Something that I had not anticipated happening was the togetherness of the course, suddenly without the physical contact we were conversing much more over chat channels and aiding each other with queries where possible. Knowing everyone was in the same boat was always reassuring, and really helped with motivation as we approached our exam period.
Moving onto the subject of exams; the Cyber team quickly let us know about any alterations to the exam timetable, and how the lock-down was going to affect the way in which we undertook them. Any questions were again answered in full, and where not known, our lecturers went the extra mile to ensure we got the information we needed. Overall, the daunting concept of having to take an exam from my little computer in my flat was actually an experience that didn't phase me, despite my initial worries, and in part I believe that is down to the fantastic support and way that the university handled it.
In a time of confusion, loneliness and unknown for most students, the Cyber team at USW provided security, comfort and above all, reassurance, wherever possible. The professionalism demonstrated has been everything you'd expect from a higher education institute, so thank you all for your hard work."
Study BSc (Hons) Computer Security at USW this September.