And that’s a wrap! Just this last week I took my final exams and successfully completed my online semester. Despite my doubts of how effective online classes would be, especially my more technical engineering related courses, I realized that one can really make the most of the situation and still gain the skills needed out of their classes. I decided to share what I’ve learned this semester and give advice on how to tread the most difficult aspects of not having in-person instruction.
- Mindset is key! Perhaps the most important tool is the mindset you have when you begin your semester. Personally, I was determined to simulate the in-person experience as much as possible and therefore I would provide the effort needed to do so. This mindset and being optimistic is what gave me the drive to thrive this semester, and not just survive.
- Class Location: With virtual instruction, class can literally be taken at any place of your choosing. This location is vital in how attentive you are, because some locations can lead to distraction. Choosing locations that most resemble a classroom setting, such as a private desk, will provide the most optimal learning environment. Taking class in noisy living rooms or especially your bed (never the bed! you will go right back to sleep!), will be a greater challenge to take notes or listen to lectures.
- You’re not alone: Don’t forget there are plenty of people in your classes that are experiencing the exact same situation. Remember to maintain those social relationships, even without face-to-face there are plenty of virtual platforms to interact. This situation is tough for many, and being able to Facetime friends to figure out homework has been a support system that has definitely kept me sane!
- Notes, Notes, Notes! Never underestimate the power takings note have on your memory. Some of my classes posted lectures and notes online and sometimes I wouldn’t take notes because of this, which was a big mistake. Those topics ended up being what I remembered least or had the weakest understanding of. Taking notes is a very effective tool in remembering and staying on the course’s track, and despite the ease of virtual platforms, never forget pen and paper.