Learning to love webinars and conferences during lockdown

PhD student Ayca Fackler wasn‘t too keen on online learning but found a new love for webinars and online conferences that have helped her study the things she is most passionate about

July 14 2020

My university suspended classes for two weeks in March. After that, all classes resumed online. While my university has closed its doors as part of public health measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, I have developed a new academic hobby: attending webinars. This has become my way of being innovative and re-prioritising what I value in my own academic life. I have reimagined the possibilities to both keep myself busy and learn about new things.

I always valued face-to-face interactions with my professors and peers and believed that online learning was not right for me. I think online learning environments require a lot of responsibility and self-motivation.

As I went through my online doctoral classes, I noticed I had a tremendous amount of free time in which I could learn whatever I wanted to. I made a list of topics that I wanted to dive deep into. 

Given that many local and national educational organisations are offering free webinars, I decided to attend online seminars on topics that interested me as a science education PhD student. Even though webinars are online learning environments, I thought I might gain insights from a diverse group of researchers and educators on a variety of topics in my field.


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As the weeks go on, I have discovered I enjoy meeting virtually with my colleagues across the world and learning from their experiences.

Additionally, I like being able to set my own schedule, learn at my own pace and in my own time, work from the comfort of my room, and decide what I want to learn about and when I want to learn.

Next, I searched for online conferences. I found myself lounging around in the comfort of my sweatpants as I attended different online conferences. 

I am amazed at how online platforms are becoming more and more advanced and provide several ways to interact with others.

I never thought I would gain so much from attending online webinars and conferences. To me, online seminars have helped me to stay close to my normal routine and avoid falling into a lethargic lifestyle amid the pandemic.

The online seminars I have attended brought the academic experience that I was looking for straight to me and I will definitely keep joining webinars throughout this summer. 

Read more: How to keep up the academic rigour in the Covid-19 lockdown 

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