With many students studying and working from home in order to practice #socialdistancing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, many have been addressing concerns about online learning and how to stay productive and focused. We know you might be thinking - how do I prepare to move from in-class instruction to online learning? For some, this may be familiar as we know many of our students take advantage of our online classes. However, for others this may be unchartered territory.
We thought it’s important to share some recommendations as a large portion of our daily lives, whether school or work, has transitioned online.
- Set up a designated workspace; preferably one with a door in order to shut out distractions; if not possible, noise cancelling headphones may be helpful. Avoid setting up a study area in a place such as your bedroom or TV room; with your bedroom it is easy for class or study time to turn into sleep. If space is tight and you must use your bedroom, try to make it as separate from your sleep area as possible (i.e. a work desk consisting of only items you need in order to do your coursework such as your laptop, textbooks, printed slides/additional readings, etc.).
- Keep a regular schedule. If you are used to getting up at 9:00 a.m. for classes, get up for 9:00 a.m. for your virtual classes. If you usually have a lunch break around 1:00 p.m., take a lunch break around 1:00 p.m. from your abode. This helps decrease any disruption to your normal routine.
- Get dressed - don’t stay in your pajamas all day. I know, this isn’t a popular recommendation. However, it is easier to crawl in bed for a snooze or snuggle up on the coach for a Netflix marathon if your still in your jammies. Studies found that people are more productive when they dress to work/study from home.
- Take breaks - the sunlight and fresh air can do the body good. If you usually go for a walk in between your morning and afternoon class on Tuesdays, do the same. If you usually meet with friends on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at Starbucks at the STC, maybe a virtual coffee break is in order.
- Background noise! This may seem counterintuitive for some, but having some background noise can alleviate the isolating feeling that working or studying from home may evoke.
- Move your body - if you do not have access to an ergonomic workspace, such as one with a standing desk, be sure to take movement breaks! Stand up, move around, stretch, dance … whatever works for you. Check out these FREE online Warrior Workouts offered by Athletics.
- COMMUNICATE! Find out how your professors will be addressing things such as office hours, extra help, etc. Keep in touch with your instructor if you are needing additional supports.
- Be sure to check out the UWaterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning webpage. It outlines what to expect from online learning as well as provides video clips on a variety of topics you may find interesting as you begin your journey of online learning!
- Take care of your mental health. Check out resources on the Campus Wellness website, including some of our online seminars and workshops.
- Don’t forget to still make time for fun and be kind to one another. Social distancing and the current global issues can lead to many emotions; uncertainty, fear, anger, sadness, . . . check in on one another, show support and we will all get through this together!