Welcome to the world of remote learning. We’ve all found ourselves in a new situation and are having to adjust quite rapidly. Below are some tips to help you prepare for and participate in remote learning.

Remote Learning takes both mental and physical preparation.

Mental Preparation

Think about:

  • The circumstances you are in – Do you have other obligations? Is there a quiet space where you are? Do you have the bandwidth to attend classes live? Are you in a time zone where you can attend your classes synchronously?
  • Your mental health – How do you learn best? What time of day do you learn best? In what type of environment do you learn best? Are you in a mental headspace to do some productive learning right now?

Once you have answers to some of these questions:

  • Set realistic goals for the remainder of the semester.
    • These can be goals like “I want to apply to 10 jobs before the end of the semester” or “Even though classes are PNR this semester, I want to do A quality work to get a strong letter of recommendation”.
    • They can also be goals like “I want to be proud of all the assignments I complete” or “I want to be able to understand this very complicated concept”.
  • Try to set a few attainable, realistic goals. And don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get to accomplish all your goals.

Physical Preparation

To prepare for remote learning, try to create a dedicated workspace in a quiet place.

  • Finding a quiet space can be challenging. Do your best and be honest with your instructors about the challenges you are facing.
  • Communicate when you will be in class with people who share your space and request that you not be interrupted during these times.
  • Be aware of how you present yourself and what is going on behind you.
  • Let your instructors know if there are unavoidable distractions in your workspace.

Setting up and using Zoom

  • Log in to mit.zoom.us and set up your profile. You can adjust settings like whether your mic and video are on when you sign in to a Zoom room.
  • Test using Zoom before your first lecture or meeting to get used to the controls, adjust your screen setup, and test your microphone and headphones. You can do this by signing up for an “Experiment with Zoom” workshop with the BE Comm Lab.
  • When you are using Zoom, close all other programs to increase the efficiency of your connection.

Using Zoom in your classroom

  • Make sure you are clear on your instructor’s expectations for participation in each class. Should you use the digital hand raise to ask a question? Should you be using the chat function? Are you expected to keep your video and audio off? Or are you expected to fully participate?
  • Act as if you are in a classroom. Dress how you would show up to class. Remember your pants! Don’t walk around or leave the room unless you have an okay to do so. Don’t talk on your phone while in class.
  • Clean up your background behind you. Or set up a professional virtual background.

It can be very hard to motivate yourself while socially distanced and working remotely.

  • Try to create normalcy by finding a routine that works for you. Try to act like you are still in school – shower, get dressed, eat meals when you normally would. If you would prepare for a lecture while walking to class, try to make time ahead of your remote class to get in the right headspace.
  • Set manageable and realistic goals for each day and each week. Create an incentive system where you reward yourself for finishing tasks with small treats or fun breaks. Maybe watch a fun show, bake something, go for a run, call a friend.
  • Try switching your studying between class topics or break your studying into concrete intervals. We are most productive in small bursts and while switching between lines of thought.
  • Take care of yourself. Schedule intentional breaks, take naps or exercise, go outside, connect with friends.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself when you have a lazy day or two or three. When you can’t accomplish any or all of your goals. When you eat a pint of ice cream because nobody was there to stop you. Do the best that you can.
  • Know that this is not easy and you are doing a great job. We are here for you!
    • Reach out to your instructor or faculty advisor for more guidance, especially if you are struggling, but even if you are doing well. We want to hear from you!
    • Make an appointment with a Comm Fellow for help with class work or to create an accountability buddy.
    • Create peer working groups with your friends to help you stay on task.
    • Reach out to MIT Medical if you need to talk to someone. If you are having a hard time finding someone to talk to, please reach out to anyone in BE for help.
    • Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Let us know if there are other tips that work well for you. And stay in touch! We want to hear from you!

Blog post by Prerna Bhargava. 

#tipsforsuccess #remotelearning #coronavirus #covid19