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Department of Geography

#81: Hundreds of students enrich the start of the semester at the University of Zurich

Autumn semester is here. Coronavirus hasn't gone away, and things are not back to normal. However, the new forms of teaching are great fun and rewarding. A reaction to a report in the Tagesanzeiger.

Studierende im Irchelpark
Teaching happens also in Irchelpark: Students value and use the new learning opportunities in this special semester.

Autumn semester is here. Coronavirus hasn't gone away, and things are not back to normal. Zoom is a familiar friend, and we spend a lot more time discussing camera and microphone specifications than is healthy. 

My semester start has been amazing! I've taught lectures with almost 100% attendance in Zoom, dropped in and out of breakout rooms to listen in to fascinating discussions, used Slack to answer rapid fire questions in practicals and spent time outside, at a distance, discussing how language can be used to describe the environment in Irchelpark. I've attended hybrid PhD exams where people from different continents got up in the middle of the night to learn about our research and ask succinct and original questions.

My students are not just accepting of the situation we find ourselves in. By being receptive to new approaches, and kind in their interactions, they make my teaching fun and worthwhile. By their actions, and their engagement, they show that they value and the chances we try to create to learn together. Maybe it's time we talked more about all of these positives, and remembered that working in a place where everyone wants to learn new things is an amazing privilege.

This short note was written as a reaction to the Tagesanzeiger article from 23.09.20.
Uni Zürich verdirbt Hunderten Studierenden den Semesterstart

Ross Purves


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