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Tips for Distance Learning

For many of us, distance learning is unfamiliar and maybe a little bit challenging. Therefore, it is helpful to learn some tricks and practices to facilitate our transition from face-to-face learning to distance learning. These tips are meant to help you on your productivity, retention and efficiency in communicating on a educational virtual environment.

1. Act like any other day

Treat your virtual classes like a regular day of school. By keeping your daily routine like you will go to in-person classroom, you will keep a daily structure that can help manage anxiety and isolation. It will keep you being productive and busy to not feel tired of being at home too much.

2. Create a work space

Avoid working on places in your house that will make feel lazy. By having a specific place for you online classes and coursework can make you feel like you are on school and it will keep you on schedule. Also, having a designated space will make other places in you house still feel like home, which will alleviate your sense of comfort that home brings vs. being busy working in your work space.

3. Get to know your virtual classroom settings

Get to understand your virtual classroom format before the course begins. Some of the basic online classroom etiquette that you need to know are the following regardless of the platform you will be using (Zoom, Google Handouts, Skype, etc.):

  • Keep your microphone muted unless you need to speak
  • Use the side chat bar to ask questions, suggest ideas or answer a question, if the instructor directs you to do so.
  • Use your Google Calendar to put all you classes, group chats and seminars. That way you retrieve their links quickly and Google Calendar can also remind you beforehand if you have a class each day.
  • If possible, try to use the video chat feature to keep track of facial expressions and body language. It also helps you keep track when it is your turn to speak.
  • Avoid having a distracting background when you use the video chat feature. It can distract others from the lecture.

5. Use alarms and calendars to keep you on schedule

Using alarms can keep you on track when working from a subject to another subject and it is a tool to avoid getting distracted if you concentrate on your coursework until your alarm that means that you can relax goes off. Calendars help you stay organize with your class schedules and it gives you a visual timeline to know which assignments have higher priority over others.

6. Actively Engage

Try to fully engage in the virtual classroom by commenting on the side chat or over video to not lose productivity. You can also ask your instructor for suggestions on how to engage in the class.

7. Give yourself time

Being in a virtual classroom may provide ways to get ahead on your coursework, which is not a bad idea but try not overwork either. Remember that each lecture builds up to the next lecture and if you try to do everything at once, you may not retain all the information or you may get confused on the material.

8. Take care of your eyes

Avoid eye fatigue by taking breaks from your device's screen. To know more on how to take care of your eyesight, here is an article with tips in how to minimize eye fatigue caused by displays.

9. Take breaks often

Take breaks from the screen by standing up and moving around for at least 5 minutes every hour. Moving around will help you with your circulation, retention and focus. Also, moving around can distract your mind and give your brain a break. Click on the following article to know more about interesting ways on how a break can help you brain.

10. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance

It always a good idea to ask for assistance if you need help. Weather it is a technical issue or a question for your coursework, always feel confident to ask your instructor, classmates or you can also resources online to help you with your problems. However, when in doubt, communicate with you professors to let them know what is going on and ask for advice.

We hope these tips provides useful information to help you have a smoother educational virtual transition!