Online Learning Tips
Online learning may also be called online education, e-learning, open learning, virtual classroom, distance learning, or with other names. They may use customized university didactic platforms, Zoom, Vidyoconnect, Gotowebinar, Gotomeetings, Youtube Live, etc. Some require subscription to have more than ten recipients at a time and/or a base station with an operator(s) controlling videos, presentors, presentations, audio quality, audience feedback, registration (for academic or professional units), etc. Common social media platforms normally accommodate only a few users for group video, and might have limited mechanisms for an orderly audience participation.
Get an Overview of all the Subjects
- What are the requirements of each subject? What exactly does each professor want you to do? How many words or pages, font size, references, style, etc.?
- List down the requirements of each subject, and the deadline for each requirement. Do you need to submit something daily, weekly, monthly, or at the end of the semester?
- Make a general calendar that shows you all the subjects and all the requirements. This way you see the whole terrain, that is, your battlefield.
- Some topics might be discussed in YouTube or Wikipedia. Though they are not always solid references for serious research, they could at least give a good introduction to the topics, and make boring reading a bit more or very interesting.
For Each Requirement
- Make an outline for each paper or requirement, and try to stick to that outline. If you come across a new idea, your question should not be: “where will I add this in my outline?”. Rather, your question should be: “will my work be complete even without adding this idea?” If so, just file that idea and the materials, and consider using them in a future paper, not the current one. Otherwise your paper might bloat unnecessarily, and take away time from other assignments.
- Always consider the first draft as an INITIAL draft, and never a FINAL draft yet. Write the first draft as fast as you can, without worrying about the style, grammar, connection between paragraphs, punctuation, etc. The first draft is meant to “download” your initial thoughts and reading reflections. Rest assured that you will gain more ideas as you write the rough draft, and even as you work on other subjects, while walking, conversing with others, exercising, etc., so do not rush to finish your work at once. Rather, allot time at the end of the period to review your initial draft and to convert it into a final draft.
- Since the professors’ deadlines might be weeks or months away, there is a tendency to procrastinate. Start early. Make a tentative schedule when to finish the first draft of each requirement. Again, if possible, do not finalize any draft by this time yet. As you move from one subject to the next, you will have ideas for the previous or next subjects — just quickly note them down in their respective drafts, to be incorporated when you make the final draft.
- This means that it would be best to allot the final days or weeks (per requirement) to review the initial drafts and added ideas, to come up with a final draft.
- We do not have the luxury of time. Though we want to read and read, and then then write and write, at least for the interesting subjects, we should set a time to call it quits. A schedule for the semester is a big help for this.
- Whenever possible, try to finish the requirements of the “easiest” (less difficult) subjects first, all the way to the most difficult. Just like when taking an exam, answer the easiest questions first to do away with them and focus on the more difficult ones. Otherwise you might use up all your time on the difficult topics, and end up with no more time for the easier ones.
- A daily schedule would also be necessary. Target at least 8 hours a day for studies, which is anyway the normal workload of our friends and relatives back home. This will allow more than enough time for prayers, sleep (if possible 8 straight hours, to attain sufficient deep sleep) and exercise (at least every other day). Lack of sleep leads to weaker decision-making capacity, thus affecting decisions as to these, as well as in our relationship with others, eating habits and so on.
- Schedules are meant to set the pace. Whenever necessary, they may be modified. But make sure you compensate any lost hours, otherwise you might end up not meeting your final schedules. In this sense, it is often easier to stick to schedules rather than keep on adjusting and compensating them (especially if unnecessarily).