Perspectives XII: Living and Learning Online: A Langara Student’s Perspective

By Long Vo (Liam), first-year student in the Supply Chain and Logistics Program
Early in 2020, students all over the world experienced a sudden, dramatic, and unprecedented shift in their academic world. Now, over one year later, we continue to teach and learn in the virtual environment and are preparing for a return to in-person instruction for the fall semester. Over this past year, some Langara instructors and students have shared their perspectives on the impact of moving to online teaching and learning.

Our second student contribution offers the perspective of a current Langara student, Long Vo (Liam). Liam is an international student who began at Langara in the fall of 2020. Liam, a student in the Supply Chain and Logistics Program shares his experience of moving across the world with his family during a global pandemic to attend Langara and begin his studies online. 

If you have students that would like to share their experiences in writing or another format (audio, video, meme, etc.), please contact Frances Wintjes Clarke at fclarke@langara.ca. 

Living and Learning Online: a Langara Student Perspective

When I planned for my study at Langara two years ago, and up until I got the visa approval to come to Canada, this unexpected global pandemic was not taken into consideration. Getting out of your comfort zone is always a tough decision. And could you imagine doing that during a perfect storm?

Normal preparation 

In the very early 2020, for most of us, coronavirus might not be your special concern; it sounded like Ebola in Africa, or a new species has just been discovered in the farther part inside the Amazon jungle. I scheduled what I had to do after getting the visa: Liquidate my assets, search for accommodation in Vancouver that is convenient to commute to Langara every day, list all the things that I could bring along for this journey and disconnect gradually with my stable life in my home country, including my long-term job. 

Photo courtesy of the author.

Together with my progress of preparation, the pandemic was expanding to every corner of the world. Countries decided to lock down, air travel was limited with stricter rules, people had no choice than wearing face masks outside of their places. My concern was raising: Would I continue or stop? However, unlike many younger students, I do not have many spare years in my life to wait. It is hard to stop a flying plane while it is in the air. 

“When it rains it pours”    

While I made the decision to progress during the world pandemic, I woke up on the morning of August 7, 2020, with an email from Langara that made me jump out of the bed. 

Photo courtesy of the author.

“We regret to inform you that in consultation with several departments at Langara, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the start of the Supply Chain program that was scheduled to begin in Fall, 2020.” 

Oh my God, I had booked the air ticket, the quarantine rooms, my wife and I left our jobs, withdrew our children from their school and all our stuff had already been packed in 12 suitcases. What would we do for the following months? 

Luckily, every cloud has a silver lining.  

After a series of exchanged emails and thanks to the Langara support team and program coordinators, I found the best possible replacement for my case by switching from Supply Chain and Logistics (“SCLP”) to PDD Advanced Accounting for the Fall 2020 Semester, which was such a really great help. Four out of five courses could be transferred to SCLP in the later semesters. My family boarded the airplane and landed in Vancouver at the end of August 2020.  

14 days in quarantine was a memorable, unwanted experience. Our family has never been together for such a long time in a compact space like this before. But we took advantage of these peaceful moments to enjoy after several hard months. Finally, we had arrived in Canada and prepared for the beginning of a new life. 

Photo courtesy of the author.

The Langara Student Success Course   

Among many other things that I had done during that time, I spent a week working through the Langara Student Success Course (LSSC). It was one of the best actions I had done before the official program began. For a new, mature student who did not know anything about Langara system or how the courses and online study would be at Langara, I gained so much confidence by mastering the LSSC, I familiarized myself with Brightspace, the grade system, course outlines, Langara email and ID, Langara information system and the tips to avoid plagiarism, which are the essential components that helped me in doing so well in the first two semesters at Langara. 

For any new student who is going to study at Langara, this course is highly recommended. Trust me. If you can do well with this course, your ability to study and get good grades in the later courses will follow. 

Online Study 

Studying online has some advantages. Except some scheduled sessions and exam dates, your time is so flexible and lots of cost and time for commuting to school are eliminated. In exchange, you will have less chance to meet friends and instructors, and it is really difficult to find a convenient time for all worldwide team members in group work. 

The quizzes and exams look easier at first, as they are often set in open book format. However, you will be required to do more reading as the amount of knowledge needed to solve them increases accordingly. 

One session in the LSSC course, and the last thing I would like to remind you all about, is time management. Doing the course online at your own pace is great, but keep in mind to stay away from the internet blackhole, which could take away hours and days from your study time, if you cannot resist its seduction. 

Wishing you all a safe and successful semester, 
Liam 

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