Many post-secondary students are set to head back to class VIRTUALLY after their campuses have been closed due to COVID-19. As the institutions move to online delivery, many students may be anxious about the transition from in-person to online courses. Here are some tips that can help students as they navigate their new learning landscape.
- Treat your online course like an actual class. Be sure you are online and on time for each of your online classes so that you don’t miss out on any valuable information. Try to block off time each week to go through online course material, review weekly assignments and do any online activities. Try your best to do any assigned readings BEFORE attending the online lecture so that you are prepared and can follow along and take notes more effectively.
- Create an up to date study plan. Write down all of your remaining assignments, tests, and exam dates on a calendar. Be sure to check with your instructors to find out if tests and assignment due dates have been rescheduled due to the recent closures. I recommend writing down due dates for each of your classes using a different colour per class. This makes it easier to differentiate and keep track. Also write down what each test or assignment is worth, which will help you to prioritize the time and energy you put towards it.
- Make sure that you have what you need to be able to access your online courses, which includes hardware, software, technical equipment, and other materials. If you do not have access to everything you need, reach out to your instructor for assistance.
- Avoid distractions. I highly recommend that you turn off social media, email notifications and any other online application or website that can distract you from focusing on the course. Since online courses require independent study, it’s easy to get distracted and not focus on the course requirements. It is also recommended that you put your cell phone in another room while you are listening to an online lecture to decrease temptation. Studies show that if your phone is at least 20 seconds away from you, it can significantly decrease your temptation to check it every 2.2 seconds! I personally find that I am waaaay more productive when I purposefully leave my phone in another room when I really need to focus.
- Create a dedicated, distraction-free study space with all of the necessary materials needed to study. It is recommended that you DO NOT study or attend online lectures in your bed. Your brain associates your bed with sleep, which is the last thing you want to do while listening to an online lecture or studying. Choose a well-lit area where you can sit upright and pay attention without the risk of dozing off!
Bonus tip: Think positively and stay healthy. Try your best to remain positive and focused on your studies. Also remember to practice good self-care habits such as adequate sleep, exercise, nutritious foods, and lots of water. Taking care of yourself will help to keep you healthy AND optimize your brain for learning!