Getting the most out of remote learning

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FSU PUBLICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several programs at Fanshawe College and Western University have had no choice but to convert to either hybrid models, or fully online formats. However, students have been benefiting from the ease of online school long before COVID-19. Regardless of the reason why, thousands of students will endeavour into remote learning this fall, and figuring out how to get the most out of your education is key when diving into an online program.

The biggest challenge when it comes to online learning is communication. Inperson classrooms make it easy to turn to a classmate or a teacher for guidance, whereas working from home often means working in more isolated circumstances. The best way to handle this hurdle is to establish easy modes of communication between your classmates and your educators so you don’t fall behind. Many teachers are open to using online communication channels like Slack, Discord and Microsoft Teams. Meanwhile, keeping an eye on your Fanshawe Online (FOL) or OWL workspace is the fastest way to stay up to date with assignments and marks. It’s generally a good idea to always keep your FOL/OWL open so you never miss an announcement.

For staying in touch with your classmates, it doesn’t hurt to set up a groupchat where you can discuss upcoming tests and assignments. A groupchat is also a safe space among you and your classmates to discuss any difficulties you might be facing with your schooling. It’s also just a nice way to maintain friendships with your classmates, as developing strong relationships through online school can sometimes be a struggle.

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Another helpful tip for managing online school is to give yourself a designated work space in your home. If you have the space, it might be a good idea to facilitate a home office. If you’re living in a dorm or residence, setting up a desk and chair in your room with all your necessary school supplies will help you stay organized and motivated. Setting your workspace up somewhere with a view can help keep you inspired, and keeping your workspace organized will help manage the stress of online school. If working from home starts to feel a bit humdrum, there may be opportunities to work in a cafe or local library as public health guidelines loosen and more public spaces begin to open up. Working in these public spaces can help spark inspiration and encourage productivity.

Although remote school can feel lonely, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. The best way to get the most out of online school is to treat it with the same work ethic you would treat in-person learning. If it helps you stay motivated, getting dressed and waking up early is a great way to maintain a consistent schedule. Remember that there are countless support systems available to you when it comes to managing mental health and work load, and despite the fact that you are not physically near your teachers, they will always be there to answer an email if you ever get stuck.

As with any program at college, you get out of it what you put into it. Remote school can be a challenge, but keep in mind that professors and program coordinators have spent countless hours finding ways to relay their content online. It might not be the same as what you’d get in person, but your education is still invaluable. Finding ways to get the most out of your online school experience will help prepare you for the current professional world, while also improving your organizational skills and independence.