This story is for an assignment for the Advanced Journalism program at Humber College.
The fall semester was unlike any before it — in the way that everything for the entirety of the semester was online.
Video classes, digital assignments and e-learning: We’re all too familiar with these terms now. Zoom, Blackboard and more.
It doesn’t appear as though this is going to change for many post-secondary students as we head into the Winter semester in Canada.
Through my own experience, here are some tips that I hope you can find helpful:
Turn your camera on
When it comes to paying attention, it’s always easier when you’re engaged with what you’re focusing on with your whole body.
Keeping your camera on in video class is the only way to stay fully engaged, showing all your senses are attuned to what’s being taught.
As a bonus, it’s also respectful for the professor, guest or whoever is speaking at the time — just like in a physical classroom setting.
For many programs, participation in the class can lead to a higher mark. So, showing your face often will show a professor you’re engaged and involved.
Use a laptop
While most of us post-secondary students spend a majority of our time on a smartphone, a 4.5 to 6.0-inch screen will not cut it for the multitasking required in online school.
Whether you’re utilizing split screen for video class and group work side-by-side or flipping between tabs on your browser, it’s a laptop that you’ll need to get work done effectively and with greater ease.
This might be considered straightforward for some, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people I saw logging into Zoom calls from their phones or requesting mobile-friendly programs.
If a laptop is an expense that you cannot afford for the moment, consider sharing with a family member or good friend, or borrowing one from your college or university.
Separate your study space
For most of us, school takes place at home now.
We can no longer do our work or studying on campus now. But it’s important that we separate our work from our play, rest and everything else.
Whether that means having a separate room from where you sleep or, for many of us who rent a room near campus, having a divider between your bed and work desk, it’s important to create spaces.
This is so that you aren’t distracted by things like video games and so you can create a mental barrier between your different tasks. It makes it easier to transition between tasks.
In the end…
Online school is nothing you’ve experienced before but, like most things in life, if you put your mind to it, you’ll make it.
Think of it this way: If you learn to tackle digital learning, you’ll also be able to ace the digital workplace that is becoming more and more prevalent.
You’ll prove something to yourself and gain a hireable aspect, too.