Wollongong medical students have faced a difficult beginning to their semester as they move their practical-based course to remote learning.

The University of Wollongong announced on March 16 that it would transition to remote delivery of teaching for the remainder of the Autumn session due to COVID-19 concerns.

Using a suite of online platforms, such as Webex, Moodle, Zoom and Echo 360, third year medical science student Mikayla Sheahan said it had been a big transition after moving back to her home town of Cootamundra.

“I’m finding that a big challenge with remote learning is instead of asking a peer or demonstrator a question that could be answered in a couple of minutes, its taking about half an hour of research,” Ms Sheahan said.

“For our degree we use WebEx often, I’ve also used a lot of YouTube to learn how to do certain things.

“For example, excel I’m really bad at so I had to YouTube how to create spreadsheets.

“We’re doing anatomy online this semester and the university has been really helpful in providing plenty of links and research to assist our learning.”

Ms Sheahan had been studying for over four months to sit the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT) before she learned the test was cancelled in March due to the coronavirus.

The test is now scheduled to be delivered online from May 28.

“It’s a six-hour exam and now being online it will be a big change typing instead of writing and doing science related questions on the computer,” Ms Sheahan said.

“It is good news that we will still sit the exam this year and there’s a confirmed date to prioritise my studies.

“It’s going to be a big semester now with the GAMSAT test being held around the same time as our major assessments are due.”

The university has introduced a COVID-19 Financial Assistance Grant Scheme in response to an unprecedented call for support from students.

“We have established the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Grant Scheme for students most impacted by COVID-19,” Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Wellings said.

“Grants are available for impacted domestic and international students enrolled at any one of UOW’s Australian based campuses, including UOW College Australia.”

Students seeking financial assistance can apply for the grant online from April 8. Students will be assessed on a case by case basis, and validated applications will be worked through as quickly as possible.