Online courses make starting university a family experience - Janet Christie

I didn’t expect to be back at uni but online courses make it a family experience

Online courses make starting university a family experience.

With Youngest doing her university course mainly online at home she's spread her work out on the floor in the room while I'm working (“My room’s too untidy”), and it's hum, hum, hum, along to her music, 20 second bursts of each song as she cuts out patterns for her fashion course.

"Going in for the kill, doing it for a thrill, I hope you understand," trills someone.

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"Who's that?” I ask, concentration shattered.

"La Roux. Not to be confused with Ru Paul," she says.

"As if."

"She's always really catchy. Here's Bulletproof," she says and gives me another nanosecond burst.

“Cool.” I go back to work.

"Hum, hum, hum. Want to see a picture of my friend's face half frozen after she's been to the dentist? she says.


"Look. This is happy. This is sad. Lol."

Lol, then I re-focus on work.

“Mum. Would you like to walk with me along to the sunbeds?"

Me, not listening. "Yes."

“OK. OMG. It's adorable!”

I can’t not look. A kitten, snuggling into a girl’s shoulder.

"Aw. Who’s that?


"A randomer? FGS. So did the university explain why you can’t be on campus? Isn't it better to be in classes face to face?”

“No, 133 people can't be in the same place. Anyway, some are in Dubai.”

"Lucky them.”

There’s a burst of Primal Scream – you can’t not dance to Moving on Up Now, but one chorus in it’s replaced by...

“Who’s that?”

"Drake. And Dave."

“Ha, ha, Dave...”

"He's really famous. Here he is with Stormzy. Er, you know Stormzy right."


"Well you didn't know Dave. Listen."

“Oh THAT Dave."

"Yeah right. This is Complication…”

“Rap, rap, rap, vacation, probation, foundation... my house party a babe station..."

"Ha, ha, ha, babe station,” I say. “Tickets on himself."

"Mum! I'm trying to work! I’ll tell them I've not done my homework because my mum wouldn't SHUT UP! Let’s listen to quiet music instead.

“OK. W​ho's this?”

“Sigh. Do you have to know who EVERY song is?​ I'm WORKING. The Ting Tings.

“​Shut up and let me work, hey!" sing the Ting Tings.

“What she said,” I say and press on, despite loud crunching. Being hit with the draught excluder is the final straw.

“Will you stop!”

“I'm going to my room!” she says.

“Great, tidy it, then you can work in there.”

“No, I’ve got a lecture now. And I need QUIET.”

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