Arts & CultureCampus & City

Pieces of the U of A: workspaces for online learning

The spaces where we study and work are now more curated than ever

The move to online schooling hasn’t just forced us to change how we work and learn, but it’s also made us reconsider our entire understanding of the “university community.”

For the duration of last semester and this one too — the University of Alberta has transformed from sprawling campus in the heart of Old Strathcona to a global collection of laptops, cellphones, and tablets all connected to each other through self-manifesting Zoom links and shaky eClass portals

Instead of packing into classrooms hundreds at a time, most of us have spent and will continue to spend the next few months in our own personal lecture halls. For some of us that might look like a temperature controlled, state-of-the-art battle station, while for others (by which I mean me), our study spaces this semester might look more like a laptop sat on top of a pizza box at our kitchen table. 

Either way, we thought that we would take you into some of those workspaces and give you a peek into what exactly the University of Alberta looks like this semester. The Gateway asked some of our volunteers to show us the workspaces where they would be spending the semester, and tell us about what makes those spaces unique.

Arthur Macatangay, Honours Immunology and Infection (second-year)

Arthur's workspace
Photographer: Arthur Macatangay

I’ve been leveling up my workspace ever since lockdown and quarantine started. I knew I couldn’t easily go to the library on campus anymore, so I had to make the most of my bedroom. 

I moved my desk in front of my window so I could see more of the outside world, and I made a little poster corner beside my desk. I also use this space to doodle or chill out with my guitar.

Janelle Henderson, Engineering (first-year)

Janelle's workspace
Photographer: Janelle Henderson

I am interchangeable when it comes to workspaces because it depends on what is going on. I need my workspace to be either stationary or mobile. I have a desk for those nights that I have to be stationary and grind to complete assignments with a light. During the days where I want to be comfortable and focused, I have a lap desk sitting on my bed. That way I can be comfortable and still productive.

Some say to make sure to separate your relaxation space from your workspace, but I find that is not the case for me.

Melissa Sturzoiu, Nutrition and Food Science (first-year)

Melissa's workspace
Photographer: Melissa Sturzoiu

I must admit that I’m not too happy about not attending class this term. Nonetheless, it’s inspired me to create a unique workspace in the comfort of my own home. Besides a learning space, I wanted to have a room where I could clear my mind and feel relaxed. As we all know by now, being a student can be stressful, but your workspace doesn’t have to be.

A few of my favourite things about this room are my SodaStream because I love sparking water, my couch for the long hours that I have to spend writing assignments, and my succulents for brightening up the room. 

If you would like to share photos and a short written text of what your Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 workspace looks like, send an email to [email protected] with the subject line: Pieces of the U of A.

Tom Ndekezi

Tom Ndekezi is the The Gateway’s 2020-21 Arts and Culture Editor and a fifth-year Biological Sciences student. When he’s not busy learning about the brutalities of selection, Tom can be found obsessing over hip-hop, watching soccer, cooking Crohn’s-friendly foods and coming to grips with being left-handed in a right-handed world.

Arthur Macatangay

Arthur is a senior volunteer contributor and a photographer for the Gateway. If you don’t see him looking at memes on Instagram and TikTok, he’s either drawing digitally, trying out new songs on the piano or hanging out with his dog.

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