Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in late December of 2019, it has been resulting in serious global consequences in various facets of people’s life. For instance, the world economy has been going through a crucial recession as a result of the global manufacturing supply chain disruption and shutdown of factories and offices. Apart from the economic consequences, it is hard not to mention the significant impact of the deadly virus on the education sector all over the world.
In Hong Kong, the Education Bureau announced that the schools will remain closed until at least the Easter break in April to contain the spread of the virus and ‘distance learning method’ was suggested as an alternative way for students to continue to receive the education. This is how the distance learning method works: all classes are switched to online learning lessons to which students can have access by using conference call-like programme (e.g. Zoom) and it is complemented by students completing weekly tasks or assignments. However, some argue that online learning cannot completely replace face-to-face learning due to the lack of sufficient interaction and even if so, there are still lots of challenges that both the students and professors have to face, for it to be done successfully.
Amongst all the problems, the biggest challenge associated with having an online class would be staying disciplined without being distracted. Here are some tips that could help you get prepared and stay alert during the online learning experience.
Find a dedicated study zone
It is quite understandable that finding a suitable workplace at home in Hong Kong is not so easy as multiple generations usually share a tiny apartment together. Especially when both children as well as parents who are following work-at-home policies, are stuck at home together, it seems more challenging to secure one’s own spot. However, it is important to divide the space into the individual workspace in order to set the studying-friendly atmosphere before getting started and it can be done by assigning each family member to each room and making a notice such as ‘no one is allowed to enter/disrupt during the class (with specific time and day)’. In case there is no sufficient number of rooms for each, it can also be done by using partitions with much needed cooperation from the family members.
Get rid of distractions
Once the zone is secured, now it is time for identifying and removing all the potential distractions that could be easily found everywhere. Since you are using your laptop/computer to have access to the online classes, it is easy to get distracted by the other pages popped up on your web browser. If you cannot control yourself to make just the online classwork, you can also seek help by using programmes/apps that will alert you to curb your distractions.
Try to be an active participant
During the online class, it is crucial to stay participative as it is easier to lose track of what is going on in class if you are not paying enough attention. It might feel a bit embarrassing to make your face appear to everyone in the class or feel like being monitored, however, there isn’t a better way to make you the most connected and stay alert than keeping turning on the video camera and microphone. If you are shy to ask questions, use a function ‘raise hand’ that can be found on the right column of the page so that it will be easier for you and professors to identify who wants to ask questions. Not to mention it will be extremely helpful for the professors as well that it can make them feel less frustrated as they are not teaching alone just looking at a blank screen.
Have enough rest
Well done so far! You have been well-prepared for the class and shown good participation. Now it’s time for downtime that is as important as the uptime. A number of researches have shown that sleeping plays an essential role in impairing one’s ability to learn and retain new information that after a single night of sleep, or even a nap, people perform better academically. Make sure you get enough rest in between the classes and also set your regular daily schedule of when to wake up and go to bed. In addition, having a small meditation can also help you clear your mind and concentrate better for a longer period of time.