Online learning can offer increased flexibility while at the same time presenting new challenges. Here you will find all the resources and information to help keep you on track so you can thrive when learning online.
Learning online requires different skills and strategies to allow you to maintain focus and motivation, as well as excellent time management skills to stay on top of assignments and deadlines.
Want to learn about Digital Wellness?
This Lunch & Learn workshop, presented in collaboration with the OSD, focuses on Digital Wellness - with particular attention to how digital wellness applies when learning online. This presentation covers: What digital wellness is, the impacts of living in a digital world on our physical and mental health, strategies we can apply to lessen these negative impacts. Watch the recording on Microsoft Stream.
There are four main areas that you need to be aware of when preparing to learn online:
- Understand the Platform
- Structure is key
- Study Environment
- Staying Organized
- Sharing Your Space
- Communicating Online
Understand the Platform
It’s important to make sure you understand the platform being used in each of your classes. Knowing how to use the platform and where to be able to access chats and discussion boards will allow you to be fully engaged in your online learning environment. McGill University supports three main platforms: Zoom, Teams, and myCourses. Take the time to learn about each of the programs by clicking on the links below. Be sure to reach out to your professor and ask questions if you get stuck.
Structure is Key
Online learning can offer greater flexibility in your schedule, which can be a blessing as well as a challenge. It’s important that we create a structure for ourselves to keep ourselves accountable. Make yourself a weekly schedule that includes all of your required academics (lectures/labs/tutorials etc.) as well as things like your sleep schedule, transition periods in the morning and at night, meals, standing appointments, exercise, and time for self-care. Giving ourselves this structure allows us to stay motivated and maintain a healthy school-life balance.
Your Study Environment
Your study environment has a huge impact on your ability to stay focused and get work done. When preparing your study space you want to ask yourself – what distractions are present? What do I need in order to maintain focus? It’s important that your study space be a designated space that is for school work only. This means that this is not a place for eating, TV, social media, or anything else that is not school-related. Your designated study space could be a desk in a separate room or a specific seat at your dining room table. Wherever it is, it’s important that you have all your materials available and distractions to a minimum. This will allow you to maintain focus and get your work done.
When it comes to staying organized there are several factors that need to be considered:
- It’s important to make sure you understand the platform being used. This could be Zoom, Teams, WebEx, myCourses, or another platform. Take the time to learn about the program and ask questions when you get stuck.
- Ensure you are able to stay on top of deadlines and assignments by utilizing calendars, agendas, and to-do lists. Take the time to go through your syllabus at the beginning of the semester and write down any dates that are given. Having a wall calendar or semester schedule with all of your dates and times can help to make sure you are able to see the big picture. There are lots of apps and resources to help you stay on track. Check them out below!
Sharing Your Space
Online learning often means that we are sharing our space with friends, roommates, or family. It’s important that you talk to the people you are sharing your space with in order to discuss expectations and boundaries. Let them know what you need from them in order to be an effective learner, and find out what they need from you in return. Plan together to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.
Online communication can be challenging. We have to remember that online and virtual communication is often missing the non-verbal cues and tone of voice that usually helps us understand meaning. Make sure that you when are communicating online you keep this in mind.
Avoid the use of sarcasm and beware of tone. Make sure you are polite in your communication and utilize proper formatting when emailing professors and peers. Don’t forget to be active on any class discussion boards – this is how you let your course instructor know you are engaged in the class. Finally, ask questions when you get stuck, don’t understand, or when something is not working. Your course instructor is there to support you so make sure you reach out when you need them!
Resources & Apps
- Calendars5 ($)
- Timepage by Moleskin
- Google Calendar
- Semester Schedule
- Creating a Weekly Schedule
- Clear ($)
- MinimaList ($)
- Actions by Moleskin
- Nozbe ($)
- Making an Effective To-Do List