As we transition into online learning, we have created helpful tips below for students to get settled into their new learning environment. A big theme revolves around time management and organization. Creating a routine that is consistent throughout the week and disciplining yourself to stick to it, will help you stay on track and be successful.
Create A Study Space
Create a good environment and study space for you to work in. Consider where you are working, if you set up space in your bed it is likely you will become sleepy and not really be productive. Find a space that removes you from your personal space, if possible, so that you feel like you are going into class. This does not have to be a separate room but somewhere you can designate as study space. Make your desk a positive environment, whether that means setting up plants, playing music, or having the sunlight shine through the window to make it into a place you enjoy going to. Additionally, when it is time to work you should eliminate distractions by avoiding playing games, browsing the internet, cleaning those dishes that are piling up, and silencing your cell phone or turning it off.
Build In Transitions
Build transitions into and out of your study space, so it feels like you are actually going to class. For example, as a student, you were physically moving locations to go to class. What you probably do now is, roll out of bed in your PJs and log onto your computer for class. Instead, stay consistent with your normal routine, wakeup, shower, eat, and build in time to “transition” to class. This can be going outside or walking around the block, to then come back to your desk and begin working. Allowing a signal to begin or end your study time will be helpful in your personal and school life. With everyone staying home, it’s important to try and distinguish the differences between the two for overall wellness.
Ask For Help
When you’re running into any problems ask for help. It is up to you to be proactive and seek out help from your professors. They are willing to help students but are unable to know if you need assistance if you do not ask. Use the tools listed by your professors to communicate with them when you have questions, need clarification on a topic, or run into technical difficulties.
Learning online can feel like you are in this alone, it’s important to engage with your fellow classmates online because you are not alone. Start discussion topics about what you are learning in class, ask questions, share resources like tutorials or websites. Communicating with your classmates allows you to relate to one another but also share knowledge. These classmates are going through the same thing and they all have helpful advice and thoughts on how to work together to succeed.
Join a Study Group
It can be challenging to sit down at your computer and start working. Creating a study group to meet at designated times can help you block out time to do your assignments. Having a community to support one another also is a great way to learn and motivate each other to push the boundaries of what you are learning.
Taking breaks is important, you may have hit a roadblock or you have been staring at a computer screen for an hour and need to step away. Get up, take a quick 5-10 minute break, walk outside, down the hall, or grab a snack to eat. After you have rejuvenated, come back to your desk and get ready to dive back into your studies. Playing a game during breaks can end up destroying your concentration and focus that you have set for the day. Instead, what you can do is once your study block is over, reward yourself with playing a game.
Make Consistent Progress
Making consistent progress in any course is very valuable, but when working remote you may lose sight of your goal and fall behind. Regularly schedule your week to include when you will be working on different projects, this will keep your goal in sight. Even if you’re not making the progress you want right away, continue to still work on the project. As long as you are moving forward, you are growing and learning. It is easy to get disheartened especially if you’re not at the level you want to be, but with time and effort, you will improve your skills.
Showcase Your Work
Create a discussion board for your class and share your work with one another. This motivates you and your classmates to continue improving your skills. At times, it can be hard to motivate yourself when you don’t see other people’s work. It’s fun and exciting to see the progress each student has and how you want to take your project to the next level or to show off the new design you have.
As creatives, we all at some point or another procrastinate. Procrastination can create a lot of mental and physical stress. To eliminate procrastinating try using apps that help you schedule a routine or to stay on task. You can set a timer to work for 30 minutes uninterrupted and then take a 5 minutes break. After working multiple sessions in a row, you can reward yourself with a longer break. Another resource that addresses procrastination is a book called, The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. This book describes the many reasons we put off accomplishing our goals and how to overcome them. If you struggle with starting new projects or feel overwhelmed beginning them, this book is a must-read.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. Pulling an all-nighter due to not studying consistently is less productive. Don’t stay in bed all day, wake up, and go about your normal daily routine to get started. Eat nourishing foods to help you stay focused, grab a banana, or an apple instead of that energy drink. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and give yourself a nice mental break from staring at the computer all day. Pace yourself throughout the day to not become overworked. Be easy on yourself, this transition to remote is new to all of us and no one is perfect when they begin something new.
Moving online is just as abrupt for you as it is for us. Be flexible and understanding of your professors but also yourself. Transitioning online will take some time to get used to. The first week is by far the hardest because you’re figuring out what works for you, how to join the video call, accessing the online materials, etc. If you run into any issues, contact your professor. We are working hard to make this as fluid as possible, but this is also a learning process for us.
At the end of the day, you will figure out what works best for you. Keep a positive attitude and if bumps in the road come up, use these tips to help you get back on track.
Additionally, check out ACC’s Online Student Resources