The global coronavirus pandemic is still giving us a hard time, and it's important to be able to adapt to every situation - even the ones we never thought we would be living in. I would have never imagined studying a whole semester online, but I am - and here are my top tips.
If someone last year had come to me saying that I needed to leave campus and study online for a whole semester, I would have certainly said that it is crazy and there is no way I'll be able to stay in my home country for that long.
Unfortunately, not everything goes as it should. Even though we do not want to, the world is changing, and we are with it, so I decided to stay in Italy with my family for the first semester back.
At first, I was worried about staying on top of my modules, about how I would discuss work with my course mates, or that I wouldn’t receive the same support that I usually have on campus.
However, I was surprised. Studying online is as complete as it is face to face. All the materials I need are regularly uploaded on Canvas (our learning management system), I can find all my reading online or on the ARU library portal, and the seminar tutors and module leaders are all very supportive and helpful. The seminars are interactive, and you can ask as many questions as you want. You can easily keep focused on the class as it is not about explaining the weekly argument, it is about your understanding and your questions about it.
Here I want to give you some tips that have helped me, if you too are studying online.
Create a work-only station
Having classes or listening to a video lecture while you’re lying on your bed or in front of the TV can upset your focus! It's better to have a clean and colourful station to help you concentrate.
Practice your time management and be accountable
Don't do everything on the day of your seminars. Try to create a weekly schedule that you know you can follow, complete tasks, set reminders and spend some time on your assignments throughout the semester. Set your personal goals and try to be organised, proactive, and self-aware. Remember: you’re your first teacher.
Figure out your best way to learn
Set a schedule that can help you optimise the time of day where you are more productive. For example, I’m a morning person: I best study with a hot cup of coffee in the first hours of the day. I’m also more of a visual learner, so what I do is print out my lectures and seminars so I can review them whenever I need to.
Be engaged – participate!
Last but not least, I personally try to be as engaged as I can. Don’t be afraid to answer during seminars. You are all there for the same reason. Read what other students and your seminar tutor are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification. Check your Canvas discussion board often and try to engage and respond. More importantly, if you feel you’re falling behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. . We are all here to learn so email your tutor and be proactive in asking for support. They're there to help.
At ARU, we've worked hard to create safe and inclusive campuses and manage the risk of coronavirus transmission. In 2020-21 some of our students, like Sofia, chose to study online for a semester before returning to campus. Find out more about studying with us at one of our Open Days.