It has been a difficult and bizarre few months, with the coronavirus outbreak changing life as we know it in many ways. Academic life, much like family, social and professional life, was also affected. Just before the government-imposed lockdown was announced, many universities shifted to an online learning system. Ultimately, online studying proved to be an efficient and well-functioning way to prevent us from putting our qualifications on hold.
After a few teething problems we had a successful three months of remote studying. These are the top tips that stuck with me and made my experience more enjoyable while learning online.
Always keep to a schedule
Having lectures from the comfort of our own bedrooms made my daily routine of getting out of bed in the morning and starting the day being active, slowly fade away. My days lost their structure and so I found it essential to schedule my days rigorously and keep wall calendars, to-do lists and lecture trackers everywhere in my room, so that I could remember to tune in. It can be easy to forget attending an online class on time, if you get caught up doing something else, especially during deadline-heavy periods, so setting reminders is a must, because, online or not, attendance is still essential to academic performance.
Engage and make an effort
A virtual lecture can offer many perks, some of which are really beneficial to our overall learning experience. These include attending classes from the comfort of your own home, consulting with your course mates in private if anything is unclear, and having access to online learning content, so you can take notes at your own pace. It is an independent and relaxed experience. However, it can be tempting, during a three-hour-long seminar to switch off your camera and microphone and go make a cup of tea or get distracted doing something else. To minimise distractions, it’s vital to engage with your lecturer, ask and answer questions and do your best to stay mentally present, to make the most out of your learning material.
Take advantage of as many resources as possible
Our lecturers provided extensive resources to enhance our online learning. These included podcasts, extra lecture slides and even extra online sessions for better assessment preparation. In order to benefit from the extra support, you need to tune in, read the materials, access the resources and show interest.
Be kind to yourself
Not going to lectures in person means having more time overall as you don’t have the travel times to factor in. This is an opportunity to be smart with your time, use it productively whilst also looking after yourself. It’s important to put your all into your studies but it’s also important to look after your mental health. Don’t overwork yourself. It’s important to take breaks, take care of your physical and mental health and allow yourself to relax every now and again.