Although we are beginning to see a return to ‘normality’ as lockdown measures begin to ease, most students at school or university are continuing to study remotely from home.
The shift from in person to online has had some teething issues for many, from financial services to teaching, but as we begin to adapt to this new normal, many are saying we will begin to see virtual learning become a new normal.
The idea of remote learning is still daunting for many, however, with many students not using the technology available to them properly to take advantage of online learning. With the fear of a second wave, those that were or are not confident with online learning should get up to speed. Below we share tips on how to enhance your experience with online learning.
1. Make Sure Your Device Is Optimised
When attending online lectures, it will be best to optimise your device, so it is ready to use for online learning. On top of getting used to the technology involved, understanding your device will be hugely beneficial.
Make sure your software and anti-virus is up to date. Make sure your webcam and microphone work properly. Also clear out your machine of any unnecessary software or files, your machine will operate at greater performance by doing so – don’t forget to empty your recycle bin also. Consider upgrading if your machine is struggling for performance.
2. Check Your Connection Speed
A problem that many people encounter when moving over to online learning is issues in connection speed, either you struggle to see the lecturer or visa-versa.
Simply typing into Google “internet speed test” will give you several trusted websites that can accurately read your internet speed. Alternatively using an app on your phone can be convenient as searched in the app or play store.
If the results indicate a performance that is less than what you are paying for, you should reach out to your internet provider and query this. If your provider has a break clause in the contract, you should consider changing providers if this is not resolved adequately, otherwise online learning will continue to be an issue.
More general advice is to move your router/device closer to the internet to improve speed – consider purchasing a WIFI booster if this is not an option.
3. Get Used To The Technology
Some have not engaged in online learning simply through not understanding online video calling technology or fears they will do it wrong.
The best advice here is to get familiar with the technology before attending classes. Once you are aware of the platform you will be using (Zoom, Google Hangouts), ask friends or family members if they would like to have a few practice calls. Here, you can play around with the features and get a feel for how the platform works before attending the lectures online.
4. Mute When Not Talking
Touching on the above point, when attending a live lecture with other students, you do not want to be the one that is drawing attention to the noise that your microphone is making. This can be particularly embarrassing if talking with a loved one or your dog is barking
When entering the virtual room, you should have the option to mute your microphone when entering. If not, popular chat software such as Zoom have a small microphone icon that you can click to mute your microphone. This should be obvious when muted, it will likely either grey out or have a red line through the microphone.
When you are directly asked a question, unmute your microphone to answer the question then mute it again when you have finished your discussion. This also applies to your camera. Use the camera only if others are using it or you are asked to turn it on, chances are they will not be using theirs.
5. Make The Most Of Your Smartphone
This is assuming you have a smartphone. Whether you do not have a laptop to hand or are simply more comfortable using a mobile device, you can attend lectures using your smartphone.
By downloading the relevant software, you can often bypass the issues that laptops experience in speed and lack of accessories, such as a camera. Smartphones have the necessities built in, with the chat providers having apps to make the experience seamless. This is an option worth considering which your education provider will support your use of.