PNG Students see Positives in Change to Online Learning at CQUNI
A group of Certificate IV in Business students from Papua New Guinea who have limited computer experience are revelling in the challenge of online learning in the wake of COVID-19.
The 10 students, who arrived in Rockhampton to study Business and English with CQUni in March, are just some of the thousands of students who are now studying online because of the coronavirus pandemic and for them it is truly a unique experience.
Student Danny Nos, like the others in his class, have some experience with computers, but very little experience with online training.
“I am new to experience the online classes, but it is interesting and exciting to me, when we see ourselves in the screen,” he said.
He said when he wasn’t studying, he and other PNG students were living at the Residential College at CQUni’s Rockhampton North campus.
“Living at the res college is all good, but when it comes to dinnertime, we have to sit two meters away from each other and one long table will only seat three people,” he said.
He hoped to return to PNG and become an ambassador for tertiary education.
“I want to go back to my country and implement the new ideas and skills to make things happen,” he said.
Jerusa Tilau also found positives in learning her course online.
“I have a basic knowledge of computers, but with online I am learning a lot of new stuff too, which is great,” she said.
“I can learn anywhere and it’s fun too. I hope to have a much broader knowledge about business and of course, an Australian qualification.”
Batshiba Tallis said she enjoyed the newness of the online classes.
“I have never experienced anything like that before,” she said. “I like it because I can stay anywhere but still have access to all the learning materials and lectures from the teacher.”
She said although she understood the need for social distancing, she did miss connecting with other students.
“It is a little bit awkward because we were asked to keep social distancing of about 1.5 meters to 2 meters in every corner of the res, even in the hall, so there is less communication and we can’t get to know the other international students,” she said.
Teacher Narelle Tamblyn said although the students had adapted well to the online training and were progressing well, they were starting to feel the impacts of social isolation restrictions because of COVID-19.
“CQUniversity is a holistic experience made up of academic study and social networking and the students are finding the social restrictions difficult,” she said.
“Hopefully things will improve soon and they can get back to socialising together.”