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Tips to study well online

23 Mar 2020

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With all teaching and learning at the University going online, we recognise that for most of us, this is a completely new way of studying. Don’t worry, the University, your lecturers, course leaders, heads of schools and executive deans are all committed to ensuring that the high standards that you are used to will continue, and that learning is not disrupted, or grades affected. 

It may not be easy to regulate your own studying and use online lectures and seminars to their full potential but here are some tips to help.

1. Continue to get involved with your learning

Try and replicate what you would do when attending a lecture on campus. Take notes while listening to or watching your lecture online. Sit in a comfortable place, away from distractions, set your screen up ready and have a notebook and pen handy.

Look at your timetable and work out a study schedule to ensure you are well-prepared to attend all your lectures online. Do the relevant reading beforehand and please make sure you ask questions if there is anything you aren’t sure about. Your lecturers will be more than happy to help and explain.

2. Coordinate group chats

Use Microsoft Teams, Skype, WhatsApp or other chat platforms to keep in touch with other students in your class or set up study groups to discuss ideas, swap study tips or analyse pieces of work together. Try to stick to the topic so that the discussion remains productive and you don’t get distracted chatting about other things.

This is a great way to keep in touch with other students in your class, and to try and maintain the group work aspect of your course. It also helps to add some social contact, so you don’t feel too isolated studying alone.

3. Keep in touch with your tutor, lecturers and the University

Ensuring you keep in contact with lecturers and university life help to alleviate any concerns you may have. Remember for course specific enquiries please get in touch directly with your lecturer and for other university news, continue to check your UCLan email account and monitor the Student Support News Page.

Keeping in touch will ensure that you have up-to-date reading lists and are looking in the correct places for notes and slides. It will also ensure you are aware of any developments in your courses. Additionally, if you are feeling anxious or stressed, speaking to your tutor could help.

Don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any concerns about your learning, but please be patient when expecting a response. Your tutors also need time to prepare lectures for online delivery so please give them time to get back to you.

4. Ensure you have all the right tools to study

Check Blackboard daily for updates on classes and for any study tools that the University is providing to help you.

Help is available on the Student Support site to access:
Online Library services, books and journals

5. Think about your work space

If you’re used to studying in the campus library, you might find it quite difficult to transition to studying at home or from your room in Halls for the majority of the time, but there a few things that you can do to get yourself in the working mindset.

First, identify an area where you can sit and work. Some students are lucky enough to have a desk but if you don’t, any surface where you can sit comfortably with your laptop and notes is good enough. Then ensure you keep all the things you need nearby so that you don’t have to keep getting up.

6. Take regular breaks

This is common advice but it’s now more important than ever when you are studying in your living space. You don’t have to stick to a 9-5 schedule if that doesn’t work for you, but identify the hours you are most productive and work around that.

Taking regular breaks during the day keeps your mind fresh and is one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t burn out. Step away from your laptop every hour or so and do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading a chapter of your book, watching TV or playing a game. Try to get out at least once a day for a walk (if you are able to) and give yourself things to look forward to each day.

It is also important to have a clear cut-off point when you finish studying for the day. Pack up at the end of the day if you can, so that you can relax properly for the evening without your books staring at you.

Finally, if you want to know how other students are coping with studying online, we will be sharing your stories as much as we can.  For Asia Pacific Studies student, Regan, being able to rewind online lectures and keeping on-top of assignments from her bedroom has been really helpful towards her studies during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Read more...