“Webchat apps have been great for answering questions quickly, the online equivalent of knocking on an office door, and Canvas is an exceptional tool for digitising lectures, seminars and workshops, alongside providing a space for students to share their work and ideas. However, there is more to learning than just going to class and I began the livestreams in March as an excuse to stay in contact with any interested students; a space for casual conversation, anecdotes, storytelling and writerly Q&A sessions, all against the backdrop of my mediocre gaming skills. It’s been a wonderful experience.
“After all, though it is so often done in solitude, writing is a social activity. Writers write together, discuss their work, give feedback and – crucially – provide companionship and conversation alongside the necessary distractions, jokes and personalities that lead to motivation. With the classroom environment no longer available, it was an exciting challenge to translate this into a digital space.
“There is no doubt that it is the students who deserve the credit for this virtual community. I may have provided a space for them, but they are the heartbeat of the community and it’s all down to their good humour, resilience and enthusiasm that it has been such a success.
“The streams will be paused briefly during August, but are due to recommence again in September and I very much look forward to welcoming a brand new cohort of students into this ever-growing, ever-supportive digital community.”