Learn Anywhere: How to Thrive in Online Classes
You’ve been hearing about this new coronavirus for a few months now, but suddenly it’s in your country and then your town. People are starting to talk about closing schools. And then you get the announcement. Your school is closed effective immediately and ALL your classes are online.
This happened for millions of students in the last month and many more, I’m sure, in the weeks to come. (While I wrote this post, all schools in Ohio were closed.)Online classes often look different than regular classes. Just be prepared!Click To Tweet
And what does that mean exactly? Your new online classes could come in a variety of forms, partially depending on the format of the original class. You could be watching a live feed of your instructor lecturing, participating in an online discussion forum, or completing assignments on your laptop.
While I may not know what your class looks like, I do know that you will need to act differently in your home than you have in the past. But you can thrive in this new online environment!
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How to Thrive in Online Classes
Create a designated space
If at all possible, create a designated study space. Already have a desk in your room or a family office? Great, that’s one less thing you need to do! If not, try to carve some space out of another room in the house. I strongly encourage you to NOT work on your bed, though. All too often working on your bed leads to naps.
If you have outside space and the weather is nice, work at a sunny table in your backyard or in a common area. Just remember to keep that social distancing, friends.
If you share a small space with other family or friends and cannot carve out your own area, see if everyone can designate one room as a quiet zone so multiple people can work there. You may also want to invest in some noise-canceling headphones, as well.
Schedule Work Time
Just as you would set a clock and get up for school, you need to do the same for online classes. If your class meets live, clearly you will have to boot up that laptop to attend.
If your classes aren’t live, definitely create a scheduled work time. Set aside a 3-4 hour block of time in which you will work on coursework. Go to your designated study space, make sure you have all your supplies, and get cracking. If you’re having problems staying focused, try the Pomodoro Technique!
If you haven’t been using a planner, it’s go time. Grab your planner (psst – this one is my favorite!) and schedule in your designated work time. Other things you can include:
- class assignment and due dates
- When and “where” your class meets
- Other students’ contact info
During your work time, keep the distractions to a minimum. If possible, keep your phone in another room. If your phone must be with you or you’re working on your phone, turn on DND mode. Otherwise, those darn notifications pull your focus each and every time.
We all learn best in different environments. I’m like a hermit – I want to be be in silence away from all possible distractions. Other people need to be around someone else or move while studying. Figure out what you need and what you DON’T need and avoid all that “don’t need” stuff.
This is not the time to ignore your school e-mail account. Your instructors will be trying to get a hold of you via e-mail, text, or your school’s online platform. You have to stay on top of all of this! If you haven’t heard from a teacher and you’re not sure how to proceed in the class, it’s time to send a friendly email.
Get some Study Buddies
When you don’t have easy access to your teacher, study groups get REAL helpful. These other study buddies can help you work through class material and stay on top of assignments. Meet digitally with other students in the same classes. You can create a Facebook group, meet in Google Hangouts, or have a shared Google folder for review.
As you stay home and take classes, be sure to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Work out, eat normally, don’t stay up till the wee hours binge-watching, take breaks from the insane new cycle, go outside (just not in large gatherings), and wash your dang hands!