In the beginning…
The EMBA27 programme commenced late January, 2022. We started off with the orientation programme which was hybrid in nature. I had the option to join the orientation programme physically or virtually. I chose the virtual option. The orientation programme comprised lectures and presentations. It was an eventful day.
I chose to attend most of my lectures, virtually. Having lectures online increased the flexibility of the programme. It also made combining work and school commitments, easier. Best of all, it meant that I would spend less time on the road, travelling to attend classes. Considering the prevailing conditions in our country, this was an obvious choice.
The harsh reality
However, in life, few things go as planned. I had major technical difficulties with attending lectures online. The online video sessions required more bandwidth than was readily available where I reside. Consequently, it was often difficult to join classes online. Sometimes it took as long as 30 minutes to join lectures virtually. At other times following a glitch during online lecture sessions, it may take as long as one hour to reconnect with the class due to network problems. These interruptions made it difficult to understand what was being taught.
First week of intensive lectures
Matters came to a head during our first week of our intensive lectures. The intensive week of lectures provided an opportunity for students to interact with other students. It also provided opportunities to meet with faculty members one-on-one. The entire intensive week of lectures was a revision week of some sort. Initially, I decided to attend the intensive week of lectures in person. However, due to an unexpected turn of events, I had to attend the lectures virtually. It was a rather difficult week for me as I experienced major problems with internet connectivity.
To say I was frustrated with the internet problems I was having would be putting it mildly. I was very upset with the internet. I was upset with myself, my devices and with Nigeria as a whole. Believe me, this high level of frustration is harmful to the health. After a lot of soul-searching, I concluded that attending lectures virtually were not feasible for me. At the same time, travelling to Lagos every weekend for classes was not a viable option. I thought of withdrawing from the EMBA programme if my circumstances remained the same
After considering all alternatives and evaluating the different options, I decided to visit the Lagos Business School in person for the first time. I felt if I was going to discontinue my programme , I should visit the campus grounds in person at least once. Hence my decision to travel to Lagos to attend lectures physically.
Planning the journey
Deciding to attend lectures physically was one thing, making the travel arrangements was another thing altogether. After making arrangements, I travelled to Lagos to attend classes. The journey was relatively smooth. En route to Lagos, I decided to join the class virtually as I was running late. Joining classes virtually while in transit was serious multi-tasking. With howling winds, honking cars and buzzing of car air conditioning, it was hard to concentrate on the lecture. After about three hours on the road, we arrived at the campus grounds.
My first impression was that the campus was well organized. The grass was cut and the lawn was well kept. The security men at the school entrance greeted us professionally and inquired about our mission to the school. I explained that I was attending classes in person for the first time as a member of the EMBA27 class. The security men offered us face masks and allowed us into the premises.
I was surprised at how quiet the environment was. There were no students milling around. No one was playing loud music. running up and down. This was indeed a temple of learning. Next we had to locate the Coca-Cola classroom where our lectures were holding. We found the building after making repeated inquiries from security men nearby. I thought the Coca-Cola building would have been branded in the colours of the company or identified with a huge sign board. However, this was not the case. I guess there is a lesson to be learnt in all of this. Imagine if each building or classroom was painted boldly in the colours or branding of the company it was named after. It would be a recipe for chaos, indeed.
I noticed that the building was wheel-chair accessible. There was a ramp leading from the building’s entrance to the front desk. This was highly commendable. However, I didn’t see a handrail beside the ramp that one could hold for support. This was an important omission since the ramp was quite steep. Beside the ramp, there were two sets of stairs. Again, I noticed that there was no hand rail by the stairs. Hand rails provide support for persons with reduced mobility. They also reduce the risk of accidents at the site. Thus creating a win-win situation for everyone.
On entering the building, I introduced myself to the front desk and was led to a syndicate room bne of the coa cola class room. While waiting for the class to end, I wandered over to the cafeteria in search of something to eat. A few minutes later, my classmates trooped into the cafeteria from the classroom. It was a pleasure to see my classmates in person for the first time. I was deeply touched by the warm reception I received from my classmates. I felt so special.
The classroom experience
Eventually, we returned to the classroom to continue our lectures for the day. It was a large classroom, with many seats spread around the class. There was a huge screen in front of the class through which I saw my fellow students joining the class, virtually.
The experience in class was quite pleasant. I found the seats quite comfortable. The sound from the speakers was not too loud. In addition, the temperature of the room air conditioning in the room was just right. I was privileged to meet some of our lecturers and our programme manager in person.
I felt like a little girl attending school for the first time. Thereafter, I joined my classmates for the next two lectures. I also participated in class exercises. I really didn’t want to leave the class. I loved the warm reception I had received from my classmates.
After the day’s lecture, I left the building to start my journey back home. Visiting the LBS in person was a worthwhile experience. The environment was really beautiful. I arrived home at 6pm after about three hours on the road. It had been a long day.
I am happy I visited the LBS in person. Given the beautiful surroundings, I would love to attend lectures in person every week. However, the long commute, the cost of transportation and the wear and tear on my body makes this very challenging. Going forward, I would attend the intensive week of lectures in person. When feasible, I will try to attend lectures in person as well. Meanwhile, I will strive to maximize my experience of online learning on the programme. The journey continues. #EMBA27
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