So you’re having to come to terms with a very different way of learning for you all, as the University has moved to online teaching in the current circumstances. Read on for some top tips (taken from an article written by Tess Reidy, in The Guardian on 26th March 2020) on how you can study effectively, at home:
1. Create a study area
Although you may be competing with others in your household, try to mark out a work space. “Even if this is temporary each time you use it, place some physical objects around you to customise it. Make it comfortable,” says Martin Weller, professor of educational technology at the Open University. Set boundaries with others. If your study space is now the kitchen table, try to get an agreement that it is yours alone for a set time period.
2. ….and keep it tidy
It’s hard to be disciplined to work at home, and even harder if the place is cluttered. “If you have piles of dishes or laundry around you it can be difficult to focus. I like to set a timer for 15 minutes and do a quick blitz of a room. It makes for a calmer environment,” says Kimberley Lowe, who studied Spanish and English at the Open University.
3. Keep socialising
Although you may miss campus and socialising in person, reaching out and connecting with staff and other students can maintain a sense of community. Use the online systems to maintain social contact. Stephane Bignoux, senior lecturer in management at Middlesex University, says although it can feel lonely, posting on discussion boards and reading other student’s posts can help. Set up informal discussions via Skype or FaceTime if you can.
4. Manage your time
Recognise that different tasks require different levels of concentration.Watching a video can be easier than reading a complex text and taking notes.Divide your work in to manageable time slots and take proper breaks.
5. Plan your day
The fact that you can put off watching recorded lectures until later can be dangerous.Make sure you devote your full attention to the recording – don’t squeeze it in while eating or listening to music.Set a routine to use time effectively, says Jack Yarrow, 28, a final year engineering student at the Open University. “If you’re tired or not feeling great don’t just sit there – go tidy up, and when you’re feeling more awake, apply yourself then.”
6. Be clear when messaging colleagues
As with other social media platforms, a simple misunderstanding in writing can quickly escalate. “What may have been intended as an ironic comment can be misinterpreted,” warns Weller.On discussion forums you may find that some who don’t speak up in class have more to say – which is a good thing.