The BMA team have provided everything you need to know about studying online in 2020 and beyond. Whether it’s traditional physical classes, online Learning, or a combination of both we have got it covered, so sit back and read out handy guide.
In the past, you had to attend classes physically to get a college degree or take a course, which caused a lot of challenges for working professionals or people with complex schedules. Today, with the tremendous advancement in technology, it has become easier than ever to find and study a degree program or course that offers the flexibility you need
Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, many universities and colleges around the world have discontinued their regular classes, and started conducting online classes for all students. Online classes offer many advantages for students, teachers and institutes. Online learning allows students to continue the learning process whenever and wherever they want.
It offers great continuity for the job holders and professionals, they can earn a degree while managing their professional and social commitments. Online education gives you access to advanced degree programs from top universities around the world, which you may not be able to access due to your professional or personal commitments.
Despite all these benefits and conveniences, online classes can present you with unique challenges. If you are not well prepared for the online learning environment then you may face many difficulties with online courses, but if you develop few effective skills to learn online, you will find online learning quite easy and convenient, but if you develop some effective skills for online learning, it can be quite easy and convenient for you. Here are some effective tips that you can use for online learning.
Understand the technicalities of your online course
When you start an online course or degree program, you need to make sure that you fully understand the basic requirements of the program. Before signing up for the program, try to do a comprehensive research on course modules and other technical requirements. Make sure you have all the basic tools and facilities you will need during online classes.
In most cases, a desktop computer or laptop with access to the Internet is sufficient for online learning programs, but you may need certain gadgets or equipment such as printers, scanners, headphones or some heavily licensed software. Never sign up for an online program without a detailed understanding of it.
What do you need to know about Studying online?
Create a well-organized study space – The first thing you need to do after signing up for an online degree program, is to create a dedicated study area for you. You don’t need a special room like a fully furnished office, you just need a comfortable place to work. You can choose a side corner of your room for that, and try to have few essential things.
- Comfortable sitting place – try to arrange a medium size table where you can put your laptop and other learning material. You may have to sit for a longer time, so make sure that your chair is comfortable.
- Light – a room with low light can be depressing for the students. You will struggle while concentrating on your work, which will lead to mental fatigue. Try to add more bright light in your study room.
- Atmosphere – it depends on your mood and nature. Some people need a more silenced area to concentrate on study, while others can work easily in a crowded area like a restaurant or a coffee shop. It is not necessary that you can learn in pure silence.
- Distractions – you will have to make sure that you dedicate a sufficient amount of time on your online studies. Always let your family and friends know that you are doing an online course in that particular time, and you don’t want any distraction. You can also turn off your smartphone.
Take full responsibility
Where online learning brings more convenience for you, it also creates some challenges for you. One of them is that you’re responsible for the learning environment. In other words, you are your own boss. In the traditional learning system, you often get verbal or written reminders of your assignments, tests and exams, but in online learning systems, you will get a pre-developed schedule and you will have to follow it.
No one will force you to attend online lectures and prepare for the exams and assignments. It will be up to you to make sure that you give a sufficient amount of time to complete your assignments, and prepare for the exam. You will have to hold yourself accountable for your routine. Take a look at any available resources for studying, a good example is the Cambridge University student resources page.
Learn time management skills
One of the major advantages of online learning is that you can create your own schedule for studies. It gives you freedom to manage your online learning according to your convenience, but this flexibility and freedom can be deleterious if you do not use effective time management skills. Without proper time management, you won’t be able to complete your online course successfully.
- Wake up early – try to wake up early in the morning, it will give you more time and energy to manage your daily social, professional and learning activities. If you are a morning person, you can take advantage of early hours.
- Avoid multitasking – you cannot prepare for an online test of some subject and complete an assignment of another subject at the same time. Doing multiple tasks at the same time can decrease your productivity. Try to do one task at a time with full concentration.
- Prioritize your academic tasks – make a priority list of your academic tasks such as, reading a book, writing an assignment and preparing for a test. Divide your tasks according to requirement. For example, if you have an assignment deadline ahead then keep it at the top of the list.
- Learn to say no – it is the most difficult time management skill, especially if you are a social person. Learn to say no to unwanted social invitations from family and friends, especially during your studying hours.
You will have to figure out things that distract you during online education, and develop the willpower to avoid these distractions. You will have to stay focused while doing your online classes, because once you are distracted, you will not be able to complete your academic tasks in time. To be a successful online learner, you will have to figure out how to eliminate these distractions.
- Wherever you choose to work, always switch off your smartphone to avoid calls and text messages.
- Avoid checking your emails and social media notifications during your study hours.
- Use a website blocker or applications like Freedom and Switcheroo to block notifications from social networks.
- Set a timer, turn off everything that distracts you, and work uninterrupted during your online learning hours.
Identify the goals of online learning
Before taking admission in an online degree program, try to gather much information about it. A comprehensive research about the course will help you to understand the pros and cons of the online degree program. You need to identify the goals and objectives of your online degree program. Build a strategy to achieve these goals.
Once you set your milestones for your online learning, you can review your progress through the program. Always motivate yourself to achieve the goals you set, and if you face issues, try to consult with your instructors and other students. Don’t forget to read our a handy resource detailing how to choose a UK University in 2020 – 2021.
Coordinate with your classmates
Studying alone can be tedious and boring. Try to coordinate with your classmates and batch mates to eliminate the boring side of online learning. You can use free applications like Skype or Zoom to sync with your classmates. Coordinating with your classmates not only helps you solve difficult assignments but also makes exam preparation easier.
You can spend some time with your classmates discussing new ideas and tips for online education. It is a great way to enhance your knowledge about the program and create some social contacts, but you will have to ensure that the discussion remains productive, and don’t get distracted from your education.
Keep in touch with your teachers
In online education, you may not be able to meet your tutors in person, but you can communicate via email and other social networks. Try to stay in touch with your online tutors, this will help you keep track of your progress in online courses. If you have any mental stress or other issues related to online learning, your tutor can help you out.
Also keep in touch with the admin staff and student-relation officer of your institute to make sure that you have the latest updates about your course and institute. The important thing to remember is that once you try to contact your tutor or admin staff, you need to be patient while expecting a response from them. Your tutors or other admin staff can be busy and may take some time to respond to you, so wait for their response and don’t send multiple emails.
Provide yourself with the facilities you need
A good quality computer or laptop and high speed internet connection are the two main requirements of online education, so make sure you have access to these facilities. In certain courses, you may need some paid software to get the job done. Most of the students already have these facilities, but for any reason if you don’t have access to them, you can speak to your tutor or student-relation office.
Learning material is very important for online education. You will have to ensure that you have all the latest lecture notes and slides for each subject, and try to get a hardcopy of tutor’s lecture notes. Check your online university portal on a regular basis for the latest updates about your online courses. Or Visit the official UCAS Learning resource here.
It is not enough to prepare your assignments and tests to learn online, you must actively participate in the course’s online discussion forum to properly engage with your classmates and teachers. This will allow you to better understand the content of the course and promote your knowledge of the subject. You can participate by commenting on the discussion board and by posting a question about your course.
Read the discussion between tutors and other students, and don’t hesitate to ask questions from your tutors and class fellows. Make sure that you are checking the discussion threads regularly, and if you feel that you are falling behind your class then don’t waste time, contact your lecturer and ask for help.
It is very important for online learners to take regular breaks during study hours, especially during exams. Don’t limit yourself to a 9 to 5 schedule, always choose the most productive hours to work, whether it’s early morning or late night. You need to reward yourself after achieving every goal you set. It’s great to have a cup of coffee and a bag of snacks on your study table.
- Taking regular breaks will keep your mind fresh, and you will enjoy online learning sessions.
- During your break, try to do something you enjoy the most such as watching a movie, listening to music and playing games.
- Give yourself some free time to go out with your friends and family.
- Limit your online learning session and don’t sit for a longer time, it will get you fed up.
- Try to have a good night’s sleep to relax properly.
Choose the right time for studying online
One of the great benefits of learning online is that you have the freedom to choose the time and place to study. Choosing the right time for online studying and learning is important, try to choose the most productive hours of the day. If you are a night owl then late night hours will be the best for you, and if you are a morning guy then try to take advantage of the energetic early hours.
Don’t force yourself to study during the day when you are not fully focused on learning. You will need all your mental strength to process and memorize the information you will learn, so try to study when your brain is ready to be fresh and focused.
Build a timetable and a study plan
To be a successful online learner, you need to have an effective timetable and study plan in which you organize your time for each subject. Try to set a reasonable time each day to study, and take short breaks between your online learning sessions. With the right study plan, your online course will become much easier. We have tried to include everything you need to know about studying online for all types of students. We will add more information and resources as times goes on, so check back on a regular basis.
There is no standard way to create a study plan, just follow a schedule that is right for you and meets all your online learning needs. When you follow an effective study plan regularly, you will get through your course faster.
Create a To-Do lists
Making a to-do-list is a great idea, it can help you to sort out the important tasks and objectives during your online learning adventure. You will be able to learn more efficiently, and keep a track of your accomplishments. You can use a wallboard or your smartphone to make the list. Try to set realistic goals to accomplish in your to-do-list.
Don’t lose motivation
Online education can be challenging, and you may lose motivation during the online course. Stay positive and always push yourself to strive for better results. If you feel depressed and demented, take a break from your hectic routine and do something you enjoy to fresh up your mind. Group discussion with your classmates can also help to stay motivated. You can ask your teachers for help, they can give you motivation.
Sit alone for a while and look at the big picture. What can you get after your online degree? Think about your favorite job, a successful career and a comfortable life, looking at your future after your education can give you a lot of satisfaction.
Ensure Reliable Internet
Nowadays, online tutors and lecturers use live teaching sessions, such as webinars and video conferences. You must need excellent internet access to take full advantage of these online sessions. Bad internet connection means you will get interruption throughout your online course. It will waste your precious time.
You can use a signal booster or a high quality modem to improve the internet strength. You can also connect your desktop computer or laptop with modem through Ethernet cable, this will give you better internet speed.
Online learning has become the most favorite choice for students especially for those who have professional commitments. Although studying at home looks very convenient, it can be a lot difficult if you don’t plan it properly. If you signed up for an online learning program then try to be organized and use these tips for studying at home.