Virtual learning has become the new norm for a lot of us. When universities and schools closed back in March due to the coronavirus, students were left to their own devices (quite literally), having to complete their studies online. Unfortunately, virtual learning is likely to remain a large part of the university experience when the semester begins again in September. Although attending lectures and seminars online is not ideal, students will need to adapt to this new way of completing their degree. If you haven’t entirely adjusted to the concept of virtual learning, here are our top tips to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.
Familiarise yourself with learning platforms
If you don’t know how to use the necessary learning platforms, then you won’t get very far. Online platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, have so far been a big part of the online learning experience during the coronavirus pandemic, and we will likely continue to use these into the coming months. So, while you have the time, make sure you become accustomed to all of their features. For example, make sure you know how to answer calls, how to message your tutors and peers and how to send documents successfully.
Stick to a routine
Sticking to a routine while learning from home can be tricky. You might be thinking, what’s the point of completing my university work if I can stay in bed instead? While staying in bed and watching Netflix all day can be extremely tempting, it is not a good way to spend your time. Instead, try and stick to your university timetable by working when you should be in lectures and seminars and taking breaks when there are gaps.
Write to-do lists so that you can keep on top of tasks
If the prospect of online learning overwhelms you, you might want to consider breaking your day down into small tasks to make your work more manageable. In the morning, think about what you need to get done that day and write a to-do list. Not only will sticking to to-do lists increase your productivity, but by doing so, you will also feel great at the end of the day once you have ticked all your tasks off. However, try not to write too many jobs on your to-do list, as you will realistically not be able to complete them all.
Make sure to attend all necessary online lectures and seminars
Attending all your lectures and seminars is hard, even when you can physically go into university. Throw in all the distractions of working from home, and attendance levels are likely to plummet. Yet, don’t forget that you will need to know the content you will learn through online learning to complete your degree! Log into all your calls with your tutors, so you don’t miss out on any useful information.
Email your tutors if you need help
This tip is particularly important. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, whether that be via email or in-person from a distance. It will only take a few minutes to write an email, whereas you could instead spend hours at home trying to work out the same answer you could receive from your tutor in half that time. Remember that you are paying thousands of pounds for the support and help of your university staff, so don’t refrain from getting access to that just because you can’t ask them for it in person.
Separate your workspace from your living space
Creating a work-life balance is one of the keys to success in online learning. Just like you would usually complete university work at university and chill out at home, you should try and create this separation in your living space. For instance, maybe consider doing your online working in an area separate from your bedroom – in the living room or the kitchen. This way, your mind will divide the two spaces, and you will find that you can properly focus on work in your workspace and that you can fully relax elsewhere.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Not being hard on yourself when doing online learning is more easily said than done. You might find that some days you will have a mountain of tasks to complete, but you have no motivation to achieve them with. That’s normal. When this happens, distribute your work to other days and take that day to relax and re-set your mind. Online learning is something that most of us are still not wholly accustomed to, so don’t punish yourself if you find it hard. Remember that while it might be a big part of your everyday life now, you will not have to deal with it forever.