If you’re a student right now, it’s likely that Covid-19 has forced your lessons to go online. For many of us, this is new and uncharted territory. I had maybe one or two online classes when I was in college, but it was definitely not the norm. While I know they’re more prevalent now, even without a global pandemic, I know this is new for many of us. Today I’m sharing my top 10 tips for online learning to keep your studies on track from home.
MY TOP 10 TIPS FOR ONLINE LEARNING
- Try and keep your regular class schedule if you can. A lot of classes have been meeting “live” at their normal time through Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate, but that’s not feasible for all teachers (remember that their home with families and kids too!). If you have a class that posts pre-recorded lectures online, try to watch them during your regularly scheduled class time (you should have that time blocked off anyways). Otherwise it’s easy to keep pushing it off, and before you know it you have 3 weeks of lectures to catch up on.
- Put your phone away. I can’t stress this enough – put it in another room if you need to! You would never sit through an in-person lecture scrolling through Instagram, but it’s all too easy to do when no one can see you. However, there’s a reason why teachers frown upon being on your phone during class, and it’s not just because it’s rude. It’s distracting, and you won’t be able to remember the content covered.
- Set study hours. Block off a few hours each week to study for your exams, work on your final assignment, or do your homework. This especially important if you’re also juggling a full-time or part-time job t. Time blocking will help you stay on top of all of your responsibilities (I shared more about this in my WFH post!).
- Stay organized. Whether you use a written planner, an online calendar, daily to-do lists, whatever – be sure to write down due dates for homework and exams. Now more than ever you’re responsible for knowing your deadlines and staying on top of your work.
- Have a Zoom study sesh with some classmates. One of the downsides to online learning is that it takes away the ability for students to learn from each other. Get a group of classmates together on a call to talk about recent lectures and ask each other questions!
- Schedule one-on-one calls or video chats with your professors if available. One-on-one time with professors can be hard to come by, especially in post-grad studies. While we all transition to online learning, most teachers are offering personalized Zoom calls to review first drafts of essays or answer any questions about upcoming exams. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities – not only will it help clear up any concerns you might have (which I’m sure are many!), but it will show your professor that you’re motivated and putting forth your best effort, even from home.
- Do something with your hands during lectures. I know this sounds odd, but I have a hard time staying focused during online lectures. I really need the stimulation of person-to-person interactions to keep me on task. I’ve found that having a mindless activity to do while listening to lectures actually helps me listen better. I’ve been making friendship bracelets during my online classes and it’s really helped! Some other ideas are coloring books, knitting, or needlepointing.
- Utilize your online learning materials. Most schools have taken books, articles, journals, etc that would normally only be available in the library and put them online. This is amazing! All of the resources you could need for studying are literally right at your fingertips. Be sure to take advantage of this!
- Don’t procrastinate. As the weather gets nicer, it’s harder to stay inside and study. I get it. But the last thing you want is to have a ton work to do at the end of the semester (especially as stay-at-home orders begin to ease) so start studying or writing that paper now. You’ll be much happier at the end of the semester for doing so.
- Ask for help if you need it. If the current situation is really impacting your ability to complete your coursework on time, reach out to your professors. Most schools have extenuating circumstances in place, and you shouldn’t be worried about the pandemic negatively impacting your academic career.
Are you in school right now? What’s helped you stay focused at home?