The remote learning experience at the University of Oulu

When you are applying to a university abroad, you are planning to get exposure to a new country, new culture, and new friends. I also had the same fresh hopes to experience Finnish culture and beautiful Oulu city. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world right after I got my admission to the University of Oulu in 2020.
Online studying

Remote learning

Today, I will share my experience on how I spent a year with remote studies at the University of Oulu.

All my plans were stuck, and everything began to go into lockdown mode. It was a strange and desperate situation, but I kept my head high, did my studies, and hoped for the best. It turned out to be a great experience for me, and it helped boost my self-confidence in the process.

First of all, the university provides great support for students who are unable to reach Finland at the start of their studies.

It was the same for 2021 as well. All the lectures, exercises, and exams were conducted during this study year through online platforms, like Zoom and Moodle. Some modules provide recordings of the lectures to the students so that they can access all the information, even if they had internet connection issues in the middle of the lecture.

How to access resources?

You might be thinking: although I can access all the lectures, how can I access library and lab facilities in university remotely?

Linnanmaa campus library

Don’t worry, you can easily access the university library using the university VPN even if you are not in Finland. The ICT service staff will guide you through the steps of setting up the VPN. I remotely accessed the university library several times during the last year and the library staff provides great support to find eBooks.

One example is: I needed to gain access to a machine in the university lab for one of my lab exercises. The university provided me with remote access to the machine and helped me to set up all the necessary tools on the machine.

All the teaching assistance will help you throughout the lab sessions and you can contact them easily via Teams chat or email.

As a Computer Science and Engineering student, accessing lab facilities remotely was possible for me, but this might not a possible solution for some courses.

How are exams organized online?

Last year, all the exams were held online and most of them were open-book exams. If you are in Finland and you want to be in an exam environment, you can go to the university to write the exam.

The University provides exam halls if students want to be in an “exam environment” rather than in their own house for the exam.

Pros and cons in remote learning

Remote teaching provides flexibility. Especially if you are far away from the university, it will save your traveling time. I experienced that and ultimately it improves productivity.

You can listen to lectures comfortably in your room. And if you miss a lecture, you don’t need to worry about that anymore, because you can get recordings of the lectures for some modules.

The view from my window.

On the other hand, when you are attending the lectures remotely it doesn’t give exposure or enjoyment like face-to-face learning. In the beginning of my studies, we had remote teaching, and I couldn’t get a chance to get to know my class members.

Sometimes, it takes extra effort to do group work or presentations, because we are all connected through an online meeting, and it is hard to interact with people and understand each other clearly.

Tips for you

  1. Stay connected with your classmates.
  2. Keep the focus on what matters the most; don't let external factors affect your studies, because the university will provide you with all necessary support.

  3. Take a break from time to time, listen to a song, stretch your legs, or go for a walk.

I hope you found this blog valuable to get an understanding of remote and hybrid learning at the University of Oulu. :)

About the author

Anusha Ihalapathirana from Sri Lanka is studying Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Oulu. She loves to travel and get new experiences. She takes short walks in the city during her free time and captures photographs of beautiful sceneries.