We all learn in different ways, so while some students have excelled under the new experience of online learning, others have struggled. Moving from the atmosphere of a classroom or lecture theatre to the quiet of studying at home was never going to be easy. Students are experiencing a more flexible way of learning, but having a routine, a place to work and a positive mindset is crucial. Some obstacles are harder to overcome than others, but there are effective ways for students to achieve their academic objectives remotely.
Students need to be kind to themselves and others
A huge number of students are going through the same experience, and to deal with the uncertainty, they have to take their mental and physical wellbeing seriously. Eating well, doing regular exercise and having realistic goals are important at this time. Furthermore, when students are kind to friends and tutors, it can boost their confidence and help them navigate their own challenges. As James Mellichamp, President of Piedmont University, recently explained, there are always people who are willing to help in the community and on campus during a crisis. At Piedmont, tutors have worked hard to transfer courses online quickly, a huge task that makes the support and kindness of students even more profoundly felt.
Beat disorganization by establishing a routine
With a set routine and a schedule to follow at home, students can remain in control of their learning throughout a period of change. This can be done by waking up at a reasonable time rather than sleeping in and by always attending online lectures. A list of tasks and a calendar can help students feel motivated to complete virtual group work and course tasks. Planning out a day should also involve provision for hobbies, self-care and exercise. Unwinding after a busy session is essential in managing stress. From watching a film to meditating or taking a bath, downtime can help students stay on track with their work and avoid burning out.
Connect with tutors, other students and loved ones
Zoom and Microsoft Teams are both great ways of delivering classes and chatting about the topic at hand, but they can also be used to stay in touch socially. Students can create forums and stage meetings to discuss how things are going and what their concerns are. Pupils may not be able to speak with a lecturer in person, but educators are still dedicated to providing a great learning experience and giving any advice that’s required. In a similar vein, staying in touch with friends and family is crucial, and video chats, messaging and phone calls all give students a chance to let their hair down and vent.
Adjusting to virtual lectures
Getting into the swing of online lectures will take time, but students can see it as a positive learning experience that will equip them with transferrable skills. The content is provided in a different way, but students can adapt to this change by treating the lecture as they would usually. Watching the tutor at a normal speed and taking notes as they would at university will be more productive than reaching for the pause button regularly. To keep focus at home, students can watch at a time when they are most awake and able to give the session their full attention.
A dedicated workspace boosts productivity
Not everyone has a room of their own or a dedicated place at home that’s perfect for studying. When this is the case, students need to do their best to create this space – an area that only contains the items they need for work. Clutter can be distracting and may inhibit a person’s ability to concentrate, so whether it’s a large shelf, the kitchen table (when everyone else is out), or a seat next to a window, a place to study is needed for remote learning. When phones are a distraction, they can be left in another room so that the focus remains on study for a set period of time.
Avoiding mishaps by actively managing change
At university or college, lecturers are around to go over work with students and the methods of submitting assignments are straightforward. Once the process is taken online, far more emphasis and responsibility are placed on individual students to complete and hand in their work punctually. Therefore, updates and new plans that relate to the class schedule are essential reading for students, and they have had to get used to asking plenty of questions. Students need to find out where they can access courses and ensure that they have the right technology set up in advance. Finally, establishing when a point of contact is available can prevent problems from escalating. Students need to know what office hours a tutor is keeping and on which platform so that they get support when it’s needed.