I would like to share the experience I had with the minor for the first 5 weeks while following it fully online - and working remote from Bulgaria
The main reason I joined the online version of the Minor is because I wanted to spend more time in my home city in Bulgaria, where I feel safer and more relaxed, as the lockdown in the Netherlands affected my mental and physical health poorly when I was there during the first lockdown.
Following the minor program Embrace fully online has its ups and downs, but I see that this semester has been crafted with online work in mind. For example, working on group projects was hard, since group synchronisation is very tricky – we could not all help each other in a physical manner and work had to be segmented to big blocks, which could be done individually. However, having the ability to quickly share things from the internet, having online brainstorming tools available made made everything a lot more interesting and faster moving than what I’ve experienced before! So, the group sessions were focused more on brainstorming and thinking, which suited me very well!
And now to talk more about the projects: we had a few individual tasks, which turned out to be a lot of fun, since I know my hometown very well and know where I can scavenge or buy different materials needed for the challenges!
Being in Bulgaria also meant I was able to actually visit shops, unlike in The Netherlands. Because of this I could actually see and touch materials in person instead of ordering them online. This made me get a lot of ideas and I was able to create a cool wearable with my core values written on it. I decided to create each word out of the materials, that for me describe the word best, as seen below.
Working remote also meant that I couldn’t meet anyone from the minor program in-person and that made it a bit awkward to communicate and ask for help. However, when I did reach out, all the people, students and teachers alike, have responded incredibly fast and were helpful! More often than I would have imagined beforehand I had some really interesting conversations!
Another benefit is having all the presentations by teachers be available online (and recorded!) because this allowed for on-the-fly conversations with fellow students in the chat of the presentation, which does not interrupt the speaker or the listeners.
What I see is that the instructors(teachers) also were very well versed in utilising a mix of videos, presentations and documents to tell us what we have to do in an informative, comprehensive and interesting way.
Furthermore, we could directly see each other’s work in Teams, allowing us to get inspired by each other’s different ideas and approaches. For example, we had to create our dream houses, and everyone had their own way of doing it! Below you can see my approach.
Looking back at the overall experience, I do not regret choosing to do the minor program online at all! I am very happy, since it offered me a different all be it challenging way of learning and working!