Opinion: Five Tips for Learning Online in Your Next Quadmester

Learning through distance learning or the hybrid model can be challenging. Photo by Cooper Schultz.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the first quadmester, students are either frantically trying to get all their work in or not stressed and continuing what they’ve been doing all semester long. 

This year, students had an option of doing distance learning or the hybrid model: half online, half in class. For the most part, students decided to do the hybrid model, seeking the in-person assistance that would be unavailable otherwise.

It can be challenging to focus on school in this new learning system, and to stay on top of your work with your busy schedule.

Truthfully I can speak to this. At the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t on top of all my work. I thought because I wasn’t in school and working on my own time I could go at my own pace. But as time passed, my workload grew and grew. Luckily I clued in that this wasn’t working, and I learned a few valuable tips along the way.

Here are some of my tips to stay focused, get your work in on time, and work towards the grade you’re seeking.

Tip #1: Hold yourself accountable

Firstly, you should be holding yourself accountable. At the beginning of each semester you set goals for yourself and check on them weekly.

In a normal setting you’d be receiving verbal reminders as to when your assignments and projects are due. But without a teacher in-person to continuously remind you, it’s up to you to stay on track.

If you struggle with creating goals for yourself or even meeting deadlines, you can ask someone in your class to be your “study buddy,” to be the one reminding you to get your work in regularly. If you’re in the hybrid model, you could choose someone in the other cohort.

A second way of creating goals for yourself if you don’t have the option of having a “study buddy,” would be to simply to put reminders in your phone, or an app that allows you to do so.

Tip #2: Keep yourself in a routine

Creating a weekly schedule is one of the most important tips when it comes to online learning. You need to have good time management skills to keep up with your schedule. 

Without a schedule you may find yourself handing in assignments last minute, likely causing them to be subpar.

Some examples to help keep yourself in routine could include: making your bed each morning, making your lunch each day, stretch, spend a certain amount of time on something you enjoy, etc.

Tip #3: Stay organized and keep a clean, quiet study place

Having a quiet and clean learning zone will increase your success in online learning. Doing so will eliminate all potential distractions around you, making it easier to focus on the task at hand. Not only that, but a clean space frees up more room to help you concentrate on and view all of your work, which will help you complete your work in a timely manner. 

If you continuously work at the same study place, it’ll help you establish a routine. Having a regular study place will also help you stay organized: knowing where all your work is, and knowing where all your materials are.

Tip #4: Actively participate in class

When you’re participating in class it allows you to understand the work, and engage with fellow classmates. You will hear what your teachers and classmates are asking about or commenting on, which can help clarify any of your own questions.

Participating in class can look like this: attending Google Meets or live lessons, asking questions about your work, taking notes, and participating in discussions.

Tip #5: Exercise 

According to Canada’s Food Guide, children and youth should get at least 60 minutes of daily exercise.  

Exercising allows you to take your mind off of anything you’re thinking or stressing about, which is a healthy thing to do. Having a healthy and balanced mindset is crucial to helping you succeed.

With a hybrid learning system, the amount of time we are required to sit in our classrooms is far too long to be healthy. Unfortunately with our current circumstances it’s the only option, so getting any sort of exercise is important to maintain health, focus and energy.

For the next quadmester, figure out what you’re going to keep the same and what you’re going to change about what happened this quadmester to help you be successful.