Saint Louis University Athletic Training faculty member Dr. Kitty Newsham provides some great advice for students and faculty transitioning to remote and on-line learning.
1. Stick with your routine.
Just because you're not commuting and going into a classroom doesn't mean you should skip your school-day morning preparations. Wake up at your normal time, shower, and get dressed in real clothes – put shoes on. It may sound trivial, but this helps you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the "I'm going to class" mindset. It also lets others in your house know that you have something important on your schedule. Your ‘live’ or synchronous classes will be scheduled. You should designate a regular time for your asynchronous classes that is effective, not just convenient. Keep in mind that the work did not get ‘easier’ because it went on-line; don’t speed through the assignments
2. Create a work space
Although it might be tempting to head to your couch, you're better off setting up a study station. If you don't have a designated study station/office, you might use your dining room or kitchen table if appropriate. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor; this may help you feel like you are in a ‘class’. It is very important to avoid busy areas where distractions are likely. Also, consider the background if you will need to turn your computer camera on. If you can arrange to be behind a closed door to minimize distractions, do it!
3. Don’t sit all day; get some fresh air.
Sitting all day isn't healthy even if you're on campus, but distance courses means you skip your commute and might have fewer reasons to get up from your chair throughout the day. You can set your work space up as a ‘standing desk’ if you prefer, but you should stand up regularly to stretch or move around.
Take advantage of the extra time you’ve gained from not commuting, it's a good opportunity to exercise, either working out at home or going for a walk outside. Since you are encouraged to stay home, you're likely to spend a lot of time indoors. Open your blinds/shades and windows to let in natural daylight and fresh air if you can. If you can get outdoors for a walk or run, keep your distance from others — and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.
4. Stay connected with your classmates and instructors.
If you work on a group project, make sure to check in regularly just like you would on-campus. Create lists to keep yourself organized and focused. Share this list with your “study buddy” if that will keep you accountable. Use technology to keep in touch with you classmates and instructors - - more than just email or messaging, make phone or video calls to get answers to the questions that might require some back and forth. Asking questions is probably more important now than ever.
5. Fight the urge to multitask.
This may seem like a convenient time to catch up on chores around the house, but it's easier than you'd expect to get distracted. Taking a break is OK, but don’t let chores distract you at the wrong time. Your designated class time for asynchronous classes is not the time to straighten up, start a load of laundry, or begin a game session.
The same goes for other distractions. Ignore your phone and email during ‘class time’. Don’t leave your TV on, even if it's just background noise; the visual distraction is too much. Schedule breaks in the day to take care of chores or electronic entertainment. Don’t get sucked into social media, especially during designated class time.
6. If you share living space, prepare for disruptions.
It might be hard to get work done if you share your home, but even harder with people who do not have your same responsibilities. It is important to plan and have some flexibility. Work around others’ schedules as much as you can. Give them space, and ask them to give you space to complete your work. Use headphones, especially during synchronous class sessions.
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