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OP-ED: Online education doesn’t have to be daunting

  • Published at 07:00 pm September 18th, 2020
online education
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18 strategies to be better prepared

The Covid-19 pandemic has created massive challenges for the higher education industry worldwide, where one of the significant challenges is for universities to prepare for a complete shift towards online teaching, away from face-to-face teaching. 

Universities could not at first imagine the complete transition to online learning -- online learning was an option previously, besides physical or face-to-face learning. 

Now, online learning is the only option for students and educators with which to continue education. 

In online learning, using the internet, students get access to the learning content, they watch or listen to the recorded lectures or attend the live classes, try to learn for themselves, and finally appear for coursework or final exams.

It is estimated that around 203,200 classes have been conducted by 10,200 faculty members for more than 9.2 million attendees, which is a great success for digital transformation.

Keeping that in mind, here are some tips to make online learning more successful:

1. Stay focused: As a student you need to be focused on your coursework, learning goals, expectations, the grade you want to achieve, your deadlines.

2. Stay confident: Don’t get frustrated. If you feel down, believe that there is a reward waiting for you.

3. Maintain self- discipline: You need to follow rules about study time, wake-up time, leisure time. Sometimes you can take a short break from your routine, and get back to it afterwards.

4. Keep track: Checking the online content regularly, keep notes or keep a record on your computer, so that you don’t feel lost.

5. Communicate: To communicate with the faculty member, admin, or department, use formal communication language, always introduce yourself, mentioning which courses you are currently taking, your student ID, and then bring up the issues. 

6. Have a study station: Make a specific study space which you find suitable, where you feel relaxed, and are away from noise. 

Set your mind to study for a fixed amount of time, and don’t et distracted by anything in between, such as games or social media.

7. Know the required platform: If you have three to four courses online, make a plan of those courses in terms of what tech you need, such as Zoom or Google Meet. 

8. Keep a calendar: Try to keep a calendar. For example, Google Calendar provides reminders for all classes, schedules, and assignment deadlines, or any other scheduled activity.

9. Plan ahead: When you have some free time, think ahead about what you are going to do in the next one or two days. Follow the deadlines and plan accordingly. 

Keep yourself mentally engaged, always thinking of how you need to prepare for your courses, or if there’s something you have left to do.

10. Stay connected: Try to be in a network, where you have friends, groupmates, peers, with whom you can share feelings and thoughts during the lockdown. It will assist you in keeping motivated, in helping you feel that you are not lost.

11. Have a backup plan: If something goes wrong unexpectedly and you cannot finish your due work, have an alternative plan regarding your study strategies.

12. Know the tools and apps: What are the tools and apps you require for continuing online classes, and are they convenient for laptops or smartphones? Knowing the right devices can give you flexibility.

13. Before the final exam: When the final exam is near, plan very carefully, finish the online lectures, check if you have submitted all the coursework, or if there is anything left. Don’t panic -- believe in yourself.

14. Take regular breaks: Take a break from your study to maintain a healthy diet, do some exercise, or do some recreational activities.

15. Stay motivated: Reward yourself when you meet deadlines and are done with all your coursework. Time to celebrate.

16. Ask questions: When you find things unclear, discuss with your faculty member or group members.

17. Enjoy study time: Devote your time and patience to learning online, and enjoy enriching yourself with knowledge.

18. Make time for family and leisure activities: To get the most out of of online learning, it’s very important for students to arrange family time. 

This will allow you to refresh yourself so you can start again, energized. 

Tania Akter is Lecturer, BRAC Business School, BRAC University.