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Getting ready for online learning
Roshna Mohan

Roshna Mohan is a Content Writer at Hotcourses India - an IDP company. A post-graduate in Biotechnology, she chose content writing as her career out of sheer interest. Reading and cooking are her stress-busters. Talk about these to take the introvert out of the ambivert. Her all-time favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Yuval Noah Harari and Robin Cook.

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27 Jul 2020 Book icon 3 mins Share

Getting ready for online learning

Several universities abroad have switched to the online delivery mode. We'll help you come to grips with the new style of learning with these tips.

27 Jul 2020 Book icon 3 mins Share
Getting ready for online learning

We’re here to prepare you for the world of online learning. Most of us spend a great deal of time on electronic devices. However, this doesn’t mean that online learning will automatically be easy. Students in India are accustomed to the traditional ways of learning for twelve years or more and generally have developed strategies to help them ace their academics. Online learning will feel very different from this and may pose some challenges. It demands extra preparation from students and the learning of some new skills. That’s why we have come up with some key tips to guide you.

Getting ready

For some, settling into a different mode of study might take only a few minutes. For others though, it might be a very stressful process. We suggest creating a list and approaching every aspect one by one. This will put you at ease. Let’s see what needs to be done:

Setting the ambience

  • Get your workspace set up and ready - You needn’t stick to one place for the whole semester while learning online. However, some stability will aid in concentration and the familiarity will calm you down. Find a comfortable spot. Maybe you would like to sit where there is enough sunlight and a breeze, or you might want to sit within the comfort of a closed room. You might prefer silent surroundings, but some others will find white noise to be therapeutic. Identify which suits you and set up your learning space.
  • A comfortable chair - Do not compromise on this if you don’t want any physical ailments, especially with your back, to bother you while attending virtual lessons.
  • A bottle or glass of water on your table - This might seem irrelevant, but it is essential. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research says that cognitive performance and mood are influenced by water intake. You don’t want to have to deal with the headaches and other troubles that come with not drinking enough water!

The hardware and software

  • Ensure that you have all the necessary hardware. Apart from a laptop, a headset with a microphone will be another piece of hardware you’ll need. Make sure that the webcam on your laptop works as well.
  • Ensure that you have a reliable and fast internet connection.
  • Make sure that all the necessary software updates are done, and the required apps are installed. Sort out any queries you have about the class timings and durations with your institution or lecturers.
  • Get used to the software. Institutions might rely on learning management systems and platforms for delivery of content, assessments and interactions. Blackboard Collaborate and Moodle are examples of these. Otherwise, they might simply use Zoom, the video communication service that is trending now. You can watch demo videos to help you navigate the tools or access help documentation from the university. There might be unpredictable technical errors. Read up about the most common errors and the troubleshooting measures to fix it. If the problem you encounter is different from all those you have read about, a simple Google search may be able to give you tips to fix it. Familiarise yourself and be prepared. Do not hesitate to reach out to the dedicated departments at the university who can guide you with setting things up and also clarify doubts.
  • Bring in the excitement of a new academic year. If possible, do a quick shopping trip for stationery items that you might need during the class. You could even do your shopping online.  

During the class

  • Stay motivated - It might be difficult to stay motivated when you don’t have a classroom set up to give you structure or peers you can interact with. Think of ways of dealing with it. Set yourself deadlines. Break down your goals into elements and add it to a to-do list. It will give you a sense of achievement to be able to check items off the list. You can also make it a point to participate in webinars and seminars to improve the level of interactions. You can make use of the opportunity to ask questions and provide inputs.
  • Be ready to put in that extra effort. Relationships matter - One drawback of online learning is that you have to put in deliberate efforts into build relationships and developing a rapport with your instructors or lecturers. You can communicate with them over emails, social media, phone, video chats or via forums. Take that first step and you will slowly overcome your anxiety around interacting with your peers and tutors. Most institutions would have given a thought to this anyway and you will be given the opportunity to collaborate.

Online learning comes with its own share of benefits. You can access the course material from anywhere, provided you have internet access. Lectures will be recorded, so if you want to go over the lectures again, you can.

Connecting online will be something you are very used to. You can make the best use of it to build friendships with the hopes of meeting other fellow students in the near future. Some universities are following the ‘online now, on-campus later’ model which gives hopes that there will be an end to virtual learning.  

Don’t be too hard on yourself and give it time. If you’re starting your studies online, we wish you all the best!

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