What Does Homework Mean Now That Home is University?October 09, 2020

What Does Homework Mean Now That Home is University?

Could be the one legacy of the pandemic is the change of university students' attitudes towards learning? The answer is YES. Homework is not what they once knew, but many academicians foresaw that change would come. No one expected the Covid-19 pandemic, though.

There are three things that remain the same: a 10-degree (Celsius) pool near Sydney, a teenager shouting "Bombs Away!", if not "Geronimo", and your old mate who still believes in friendship at first sight. On a serious note, your coursemate is interested in the mythical continent of Mu, which Jack Kirby described as the place where the Deviants live. If he could only channel his inner Kirby-ness and wonder if the strange artwork in Uluru might be connected to the monolith stones in England. You don't have a clue about Celtic mythology, but Neil Gaiman's reimagining of "The Eternals" would make Kirby proud. (And you bet that the big-screen adaptation would be out of this world. Literally.) You're more interested in your flatmate's comparison between Michael Crichton's "Prey" and the coronavirus outbreak. The author of "Jurassic Park" might foresee the pandemic, possibly the craziest thing that happened during the third millennium. Yes, we might get lucky (and have a vaccine before Christmas). On the other hand, you keep on thinking of a broad boulevard, with cafes and small shops at the side, all brightly lit and empty beneath a sky thick with stars. The air of the place had something Mediterranean about it, but your mind couldn't differentiate between your dream destination and Philip Pullman's "The Subtle Knife". And you can't wait for the release of "Serpentine". All of these distracted you from your homework, which is fine. The pandemic forces you to address the changes in managing the coursework. Are you engaged with the (pre-recorded) lectures? The answer could help you finish the term with a bang.

What you're about to read might prompt you to think that you're too old (to learn from it), as it seems set for a younger student. Then again, doing your homework can be tricky during the best of times.

Smarter, Not Harder: 6 Things to Get on the Right Track

Be realistic about times. If you're a Literature major, then you can figure this out right away. It would be impossible to read a book in a day or two unless you like the story or you fancy the genre. You plan your reading hours, if not reschedule your errands and chores for next week (or the week after next). It's the same thing with doing your homework particularly paper writing. If you can't finish the draft (of your assignment) in a few hours, then you might need an extra hour or two. If you can't do it after a few attempts, then make a list of what you must do and prioritise it the following day. The end of the term is near, so you can do it in a shorter time.

Let your tutor help you. Getting motivated will be a problem at times, which you learned before the pandemic. You may not get some assurance from your (face-to-face) meeting with your coursemates, but your one-on-one with your tutor would do. You need guidance - and an expert. Make the most of the remainder of the term.

Amass some digital learning skills. Your approach to technology was passive, which would be understandable. (If you're a literature major, you would prefer a hardbound or paperback. Not that there's romance in the turning of the pages, but a room is not a room without some books.) Try to Explore Learning or its equivalent. How about Microsoft Teams (or any similar tool)? If you don't have a clue, then it's not too late. Ask your tutor (or your coursemate).

Your family (and friends) must get involved in the learning process. If you're writing a paper on Philip Pullman's religious views (and how he turned it into a bestseller), then your parents might provide valuable information. It should be Sunday school, where a certain French author challenged the body-and-soul concept. One of your mates might have knowledge of the ways of the inhabitants of the Arctic region. Shazam? Not. Shaman? Yes.

There's more to learning than doing your homework. Let's talk about Uluru once more. Is it possible that a more advanced race have set foot in the Outback? Kirby's premise of a powerful race teaching our forefathers about survival (and the arts) is not farfetched. (Arthur C. Clarke wrote about it, and Stanley Kubrick turned it into a visual feast for science fiction fans.) A little research - and some imagining - would keep your assignment from becoming a dime a dozen. Don't think of Sprite as another brand of soda. And Makkari is not the first name of your professor in Victorian literature.

Not doing your homework has serious consequences. A pandemic may be a valid excuse months ago, but it won't pass as an alibi during this time of the year.

The New Normal

The pandemic prompted academicians and students to rise to the challenge, and it would reshape the curriculum as you once knew. There might be more excursions into (the history of) Spanish flu, as well as revealations. (Wearing a mask was a political issue during the early years of the 20th century.) Learning would be easier, if not more fun, in the post-pandemic world. Agree?

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