The global pandemic has taken away normalcy from our lives. Going to work, attending a class, hanging out with friends or going to the gym, all activities that were integral to our lives are gone. However even in the most bleak situations people try to improvise. One of the prominent steps of which is ensuring the continuation of education. In order to help students fill out their credit hours for the current semester or continue preparation for future board examinations, a lot of universities, schools and educational institutions have taken up online classes. An array of different platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet or other local providers are being used to connect instructors to their students. The main idea behind this is to keep students active and prevent the potential time loss due to the global lockdown.
Online classes, despite lacking the teacher student interaction that an in-person class provides, still has a lot of upsides. For starters everyone can attend them from the comfort of their homes. This effectively takes out any time wasted in commuting. And considering the usual traffic in Dhaka city, this saves a substantial amount of time and energy. Online classes also have the virtue of being recorded. So students who may have missed something due to a lapse of attention can easily recover any information that was missed. But in order to make the most of online classes and make it nearly as effective as physical classes here are some do’s and don’ts:
Be properly prepared for your online class. Make sure you have a working device and a reliable internet connection. A lot of people miss out from a class due to technical difficulties which could have easily been avoided with a few minutes of prior preparation.
An online class is an attempt to simulate an in person live class and it should be treated as such. Do not take an online lecture as the equivalent of a pre recorded video lecture. Participation with your instructor is key to making the learning experience as effective as possible. Raise questions and participate in the discussion like you would during an actual class.
Be familiarized with the course materials just as you would in a real class. A lot of students treat online classes as a voluntary exercise when it is just as important as any other credit carrying class. Prepare for any lecture in the same way you would before the lockdown. Keep the relevant textbooks and notepads with you and make sure you are in a quiet environment or have a headset with you.
Check your emails regularly. Although this is something you should do all the time, it possesses a greater degree of importance when you are enrolled in an online class. Any notifications of changes to the existing class schedules or deliverables will most likely be conveyed via email.
Make an active effort to communicate with your teacher beyond the class duration. Simply participating in the lecture may not be enough to make up for the actual interaction that came with real classes. During classes a lot of students approach their instructor after class and book appointments to meet them in their offices. Online classes do not mean that you have to sacrifice this. Call or text your faculty with any query you would have otherwise approached them with after class hours. Teachers will always try their best to make their students learn and hence will appreciate any extra communication with them after an online class.
Do not skip virtual classes because of the relative ease of doing so. Getting attendance and bunking a class has never been easier. A muted microphone and a shut video recorder will make it impossible for anyone to understand whether you are actually partaking in the virtual meeting. So despite having all the opportunities do not skip these classes, as teachers are taking these additional steps to ensure your progress. Try your best to immerse yourself in the experience in order to avoid thoughts of bunking class. Because bad habits like these usually become addictive to the point that you will have full attendance without learning anything.
Do not procrastinate in class. Not being in a classroom full of other note taking students and in the supervision of a teacher makes it very easy to procrastinate even if it is not intentional. Try to isolate yourself from any other gadget other than the one used to connect to the virtual classroom. It is very tempting to start scrolling through your newsfeed when the teacher is discussing something that you are familiar with, or something that you find boring. However an intended two minute break can take up an unexpectedly large chunk of your class time. You will end up lost in the lecture and subsequently become more demotivated to pay attention. Procrastination will then occur in a vicious cycle where you will be demotivated from attending online classes altogether.
The environment of your home will be noisy now that most of your family members are stuck in the house. Hence it is important that you find a quiet spot to attend the class. This is almost as important as ensuring a stable internet connection. Viewing the lecture in the living or dining space is a big no as people will inadvertently pass those areas, talk to you or among themselves. The best way is to keep a room of your house to yourself for the duration of the class. Let your family members know about the class time so that they do not summon you during your session. Ensuring full attention in an online lecture is challenging in and of itself, even more so when others cause distractions.
If you go into a class with the goal of learning and follow the simple steps outlined above, online lectures will be a wonderful experience for you. So take it as a different experience that you will probably never get to enjoy again and try to make the most of it.
The post is written by Md.Zarif Tajwar Shihab, He is a third year BBA Student in IBA, University of Dhaka.