Given the situation of the last year with the pandemic, you may be wondering how the International Management and Modern Language course (IMML) has worked and how we’ve been able to study given the slight practical element of it. From my experience so far I believe that Bath has given us the best possible ways to make sure that we’re making the most of our time. In this blog post, I am going to talk you through my current experience and how we’ve been able to study.
Starting the Course
You may be feeling anxious about starting a new subject and course, as I was before I started but try not to stress about it too much as everyone is probably feeling the same. I found that we were eased into the course and we were slowly introduced to more complex topics once we had settled in. The lecturers don’t expect you to be fluent and know everything as soon as you start, we are introduced to the topics in a way that is not too scary but is still challenging. They are also very understanding and happy to help us out in any way possible.
In October, given the government guidelines, we were able to have some face-to-face teaching, which was very useful. Monday was our in-person teaching day, the SPIMML (Spanish) group would be split into two groups, one for the morning session and one for the afternoon session, to adhere to the government guidelines. These in-person sessions would be two hours long and be split into two different lectures.
The first would be based around our Spanish skills, i.e. reading, listening and speaking lectures and the second would be a Spanish grammar lecture. Although we still had to maintain social distancing and wear masks, having this in-person teaching was beneficial in making sure that we were taking advantage of speaking the language as much as possible. As this is a course where it is important to practice in person, this really helped to ease us in and meet a few people while still social distancing.
While we did have some in-person teaching, the majority of it was unfortunately taught online and after some time, given the guidelines, the in-person teaching could no longer take place. All the management modules and the other Spanish modules were taught via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. However, this was not all bad as the lecturers still tried to make the lectures interactive with breakout rooms and using the chat functions.
Online learning has its benefits and disadvantages, as we all recognise. All the lectures are recorded, so it is really handy and convenient if you need to go back to it later and clarify your understanding of the lecture material. However it is unfortunately not the same as in-person lectures, but what I have found is that the lecturers understand this and try to make it as best they can for us. There is regular contact with students to make it as close to the real thing as possible.
We also have group projects to do for the Spanish half of the course. At first, we were thinking that it would be really difficult to handle this, but after a few Zoom calls, we found that we were really comfortable talking with each other even though we’ve never really met before. It’s also really advantageous to use online video calling platforms as we can share our screens with each other. In addition, it is more convenient for us as we can work around our own schedules from anywhere in the world.
Due to the situation in January, our exams had to take place online. The exams took place over a 2 week period, in which they were evenly spread out, giving us enough time to revise for each one. We were actually quite fortunate in this as the majority were open book and 24 hours long, which took place through the online platform, Inspera. The timed exams took place on the University’s online learning platform, Moodle, but this was easy to navigate, easing the stressful situation of exams.
Although it seems like a daunting experience, I would say that there is really no reason for you to worry. Everyone appreciates that the online experience, unfortunately, has not been the same as the in-person experience would have been, but as previously mentioned everyone at Bath is doing their best to make sure we can make the most of the experience we have right now. But also don’t forget that everyone is in the same position here and will be happy to help you out where necessary.
I would also recommend trying to get involved in your lectures as much as possible, whether it’s using the chat function or turning your microphone on to ask a question as this will really enhance your experience.