Online learning can be excellent if you need flexibility or enjoy working at your own pace during the week.
While online learning should be approached with the same dedication as you would if studying on campus, there are some differences from a classroom environment you should be aware of.
Please read the tips below which we hope will help with your planning to become a successful online learner.
Some questions to ask when getting set up
Do you have reliable internet?
You will need to have reliable internet connection and speeds at home. Requirements may be different depending on the needs of your course.
Do you have a suitable home environment?
You will be studying for several hours at a time so it’s important that you have a place you will be comfortable and quiet where you can focus for several hours at a time. You should also consider the temperature, furniture, noise, and lighting levels.
Do you need technology or equipment?
You may need all or some of these depending on what you study:
- laptop or computer with keyboard,
- microphone and headphone
- an alternative device such as an iPad can also support learning.
- pens and pencils
- paper or notepads
- a printer
Set yourself clear goals to stay motivated
Being clear about your own goals is crucial to keeping yourself on track. Not just the big goal of completing your course, but breaking down all the steps needed in order to make the course more manageable and enjoyable.
It’s important to understand you will still have deadlines to meet and requires self-discipline and planning to get all your work done.
Create a schedule
Create a weekly study schedule to help you stay focussed and give yourself time to learn the coursework and keep up with the course material in your own time.
If you create one which is on your phone or laptop you will be able to refer to it even when not studying or out of the home.
Be realistic about how you will fit in your study with other commitments in your life including sleep and rest.
Tune up your study skills
Each person can have a different approach so find out what works for you, which may include printing off materials to learn away from your usual study area, but general study skills can be universal whether in a classroom environment or studying alone online.
Online classes or lectures
For any class you should take your own notes just as you might for a class on campus. Use pen and paper and write clearly with headings so you can read or transcribe them later on.
Be prepared for classes by checking what technology you will need and testing your it is working. This might include a webcam or headphone.
Engage with the classroom by using interactive features to ask questions, re-watch recorded classes and ask for help if you think you’re being left behind.
Avoid online distractions
Being online can make it difficult if you are only a click or a glimpse away from looking at open social media accounts or websites or being distracted by notifications.
When studying or attending a virtual classroom it’s best to take precautions and remove those online distractions as best as you can whether it’s turning off notifications or getting focus apps or leaving your phone in another room.
Stay engaged with lecturers
Whether through participating in group classes with other students, emailing them questions, or arranging a video chat meeting you are still able to reach out to your lecturers to ask them questions about course materials, anything you don’t understand or are struggling with.
Starting a good relationship with your lecturer early in the course will be very helpful as they can still provide feedback and help.
Even when you have a lot of course work to do its important to plan your breaks for about every hour or so. Taking a walk, doing something fun for a few minutes can help avoid burn out.
To study online you will need some basic computer skills. If you’re worried because you find the course work is difficult or may be struggling working online then please let your lecturer know as soon as possible. You may also like to speak with Student Services.
Staff are happy to help discuss any concerns and to discuss options available.