Almost every university in Kenya has implemented distance learning, thanks to Covid-19. Today, you are probably taking your classes online and preparing for your exams. For all their benefits, however, online classes also offer some unique challenges compared to traditional, in-person classes. Without a plan for managing these challenges, your performance could suffer. Below are some of the techniques you can use to succeed with your online classes.
Treat it like In-Person Class
Your campus may be using Zoom, Google Meet, their own digital learning platforms or whatever they are using to provide online classes. While all these make it easier to host live virtual classes, most online classes are still taught asynchronously. Your professor may post a lecture video or slides each week, and you may have to turn in assignments every so often. But besides this, it can be easy to forget you’re even taking a class.
Without the regular meetings of in-person classes, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and get behind on your work. To avoid this, treat online classes like in-person classes. Even if the class doesn’t meet at a particular time each week, set a time on your calendar when you’ll “go to class.” Have a routine just like you would if you were going to class in-person. Get up at the same time each day, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then “go to class.” It may seem silly, but it will make a big difference in your motivation and productivity.
Remember to Always Take Notes
Without live classes, it’s tempting to skip taking notes. All of the information is available online, so you can just refer back to it when it’s time to do homework or study for an exam…right? While having all the class info online can be helpful for reviewing material, you should still take notes. After all, the main value in taking notes isn’t to produce an archive of the material. The real benefit of taking notes is that it helps you engage with the material and put it in your own words. This boosts both your comprehension and retention.
Create a Study Space and Eliminate Distractions
If your class were meeting in real life, you’d be in a classroom or lecture hall. While you don’t need to recreate that environment at home, having a dedicated study space will help you stay focused when it’s time to study and disconnect when it isn’t. Without a professor looking over your shoulder or classmates sitting next to you, it’s easy to get distracted with social media, your roommates, video games, or other things you’d rather be doing than studying. Do what you can to eliminate or at least minimize these distractions. Having a study space will help, but you can also use apps like Freedom to block digital distractions.
Check your Email Regularly and be Ware of Deadlines
Checking your mails regularly will help you know any changes to due dates, new guidelines for assignments, updated study resources, and announcements of office hours. There may also be an online messages on the student portal to check in addition to or instead of email. Whatever method the professor uses to communicate, be sure to monitor it regularly. To make sure you don’t forget, create a recurring task on your to-do list called “Check for messages from my professor.” At the start of the class, read through the syllabus and find all deadlines for assignments. Put this information on your calendar, and consult that calendar regularly. Also, look out for changes to deadlines so that you can update your calendar accordingly.
Do not Procrastinate ANYTHING
Online classes can invite epic procrastination. Without regular class meetings to keep you engaged and accountable, you can end up leaving all your work until the end of the semester. This can be fun when the final exam is still months away. But it can turn into a world of pain when you’re trying to cram a whole semester of learning into one night. To avoid this situation, create your own schedule for completing your work. Set due dates for reading a certain number of pages, completing problem sets, or whatever you need to do to learn the material.