Tutors explain how to get the most out of the online classroom

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Most students are finding aspects of continuing their studies through the pandemic to be challenging.

Whether you have had to take on extra workload due to Covid-19, your mental health has suffered or you find online learning more difficult, everyone has their own unique situations to deal with. 

We are exploring ways in which you can best prepare and engage with your studies to get the most out of your learning in these difficult times and we’ve asked the advice of tutor Debbie Evans from Walsall College. 

Managing your studies 

You should have a calendar and scheme of work that tells you exactly what module and lesson you are working on each week and this should provide you with a structure for your studies.

Get into good routines, work out the best times for you to do different types of study, and take regular breaks. If you have one day off work each week to study then stick to that day. If not, try to spread your learning throughout the week. Do a little bit every day, even if it’s just for one hour. Don’t leave everything until the last minute as it will cause you stress.

Tips from a tutor: 

  • Talk to your tutor if you are getting behind and need additional support or sessions to stay on track.
  • And if you want additional work, ask for it and your tutor can organise that for you.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as your health and wellbeing is the priority.

Getting the most out of your online classes

Give yourself time to get ready for your online class. Set an alarm 30 minutes before so that you can prepare by: 

  • Finding a quiet place to set up your computer with a good internet connection.
  • Setting up your webcam and microphone (headphones with a microphone will work fine).
  • Looking and feeling your best so you can have your camera on.
  • Having a notebook and pen ready.
  • Writing down any questions that you want to ask during the class.
  • Having a glass of water to hand.
  • Freeing yourself from any distractions like your phone.

Tips from a tutor: 

  • If you can, have your camera on and use a mic. It makes it much harder for your tutor to engage with you if it’s a blank screen.
  • Tutors will be expecting struggles with certain topics and they should be using online classes to help reinforce learnings and give extra support in particular areas. Give them feedback on where you’d like them to focus.
  • If you feel too shy to ask questions during the class you can use the chat function, stay on the call at the end, or contact your tutor by email afterwards.

What else you can do to maximise your learning potential

If you want to take your studies that step further to really maximise your learning potential, consider these five intentions. 

  1. Turn some of your own personal time into additional study time.
  2. Connect with other students so you can help each other. Share resources that you find useful and arrange extra accountability sessions or calls with other students. 
  3. Make the most of all of the resources that you have available to you. This includes your tutor, tutorial books, your virtual learning environment, AAT resources, YouTube and Facebook groups.
  4. Monitor your own progress and set yourself objectives. Have a look around the AAT Lifelong Learning Portal which is a great place to set yourself targets in.
  5. Celebrate successes in your progress and reward yourself.

Tips from a tutor: 

  • Do not feel alone, there is always someone there to help.
  • Use your progress reviews as an opportunity to discuss target setting and any additional support you need (but don’t wait until that point if you need help before).
  • Request additional revision sessions or support through an extra video or telephone call.
  • Your tutor can signpost you to health and wellbeing support.

Key takeaways 

  • Take ownership of your studies. You’ll get out what you put in.
  • Use all of the resources that you have available to you.
  • Bring your best self to online lessons.
  • Maintain open communication with your tutor. Know that you can contact them and share any concerns you may have as early as possible.
  • Chip away at your studies and make the most of all the resources available to you.

Further reading:

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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