Getting the best out of remote learning

Safe to say this pandemic wasn’t on my list of things to expect when going to university, just like I assume it wasn’t on anyone’s list. Thankfully, however, the transition to remote learning has been a smooth one.

Even before the lockdown, the University and my lecturers were considering all options, constantly sending emails and giving talks about how they were responding to the situation. For example, quite a few of my assignments were originally planned to be presentations that would have been given in person.

The tutors contacted students and asked us to give our opinion on what would be best. A video call over Microsoft Teams, or the option to create a video and submit that instead. Some of my friends were having difficulties accessing the internet so having the option to complete assignments in different ways made us feel less stressed.

On top of that, the lectures have moved to a live-stream and are recorded for students to re-watch later, so there’s been next to no disruption in teaching and assessments.

Unfortunately, not all aspects of student life have gone to plan. Before this pandemic happened, I was talking to a game publishing company about doing work over the summer, but that opportunity is no longer available due to social distancing. The careers advice team has helped me rework my CV and prepare for interviews. I’m confident their help will land me some experience.

I have recently handed in the last of my assignments, which has meant I’ve had some spare time to take up new hobbies and skills, like learning Japanese and learning how to use more of the Adobe Creative Suite, which is helpful as I’m a Marketing (PR and Advertising) student.

Also, even though it’s not on my course, I’m really interested in consumer psychology, which the lecturers are more than happy to help with. They have responded to emails quickly and have given recommendations on what to read and who to listen to.

It’s all very well and good having all of these things to do, but it can be a bit of a task to do them when surrounded by so many distractions, like family and games. My advice is to form a routine and stick to it of course:

  • Wake up in the morning.
    This may sound stupid, and I know some people are night owls, but it can be very easy to just sleep in and enjoy the comfort of the bed. And often I find waking up in the afternoon makes me feel too exhausted to get anything done for the day.
  • Make a drink five minutes before doing your work.
    It’s common to be thirsty during work, so making a drink beforehand stops you from going to the kitchen and possibly being distracted by something, rather than going back to work.
  • Do one hour of work then take a break
    Taking a break can make the workload feel easier than doing it in one long stint. Plus, you’re more likely to be more focused when you take a break, and the quality of work you produce is often better as well.
  • Set a time for when you are going to finish.
    At a time when many people are working from home, it’s a good idea to know exactly when the work stops and the fun begins. Keeping to a strict time schedule will show others, be it, friends or family when you can relax. This will also ensure that they are less likely to be angry when you don’t respond or aren’t available to play.

Also talk to those you’re close to. Being in lockdown can make people feel isolated and disconnected from others. Even though the University of Derby has put in place therapy sessions for students who need them, not everyone is a student, so make time to call or at least send a message to friends and family.

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