Distance Learning Centre: The corona pandemic, including lockdown, forced universities to rely less on face-to-face teaching and more on digitization, keyword “distance learning”. A trend that will probably not completely disappear from everyday student life at universities and technical colleges even after Corona. Reason enough to ask us what you actually need for successful distance learning so that everything fits in with virtual distance learning and studying from home works well. We have thought about it and have put together some tips for you.
Distance Learning Centre:
In this post you will find some tips related to the widely used term “distance learning”:
Distance Learning: These Tricks will Keep You Motivated at Home!
Create the Right Infrastructure for Distance Learning:
We start with the basics: the technical requirements for successful distance learning . As a digital native, we will probably not tell you anything new and most likely you have a well-functioning and fast laptop or PC at home. Great, step 1 to convert to university homeschooling is done. However, if you have to struggle with a technical crutch at home, investing in a new or refurbished notebook is certainly worthwhile right now. You will not regret it in another semester, which may consist largely of digital teaching.
The purchase of a headset and a webcam (if not integrated into the laptop) can also be a sensible investment, consider group work and the like, which may be purely digital. An exchange that does not happen in person can be very exhausting in the long run and any technical help that facilitates digital communication during online lessons is worthwhile.
Sufficient download and upload volume should also be available, because there is nothing more annoying than long loading times or hanging videos – whether during regular or remote learning.
You can find suitable student discounts for notebooks, software and internet tariffs in our “Technology” voucher category .
Make Use of Technical Helpers:
In addition, there are of course numerous helpful tools in the form of apps that support you while studying at home. Apps such as Asana, Wunderlist and Any. Do (for plans and to-do lists), Pocket (for storing content), getAbstract (for crisp summaries) and StudySmarter (for optimal exam preparation) have been designed to help you with your everyday studies facilitate. You can find even more digital helpers for your studies and the current situation in our blog.
We have also researched for you which software for your studies (e.g. Microsoft Office, antivirus programs, etc.) you should get and, above all, where you can get it cheaply.
And then of course there are various programs such as Discord, Jitsi, Zoom, Google Meet, and Co., which have all accompanied us over the past few months. Whether for the interaction with friends and family or for the exchange with lecturers and fellow students, distance learning would not be possible without services for voice, video and text communication. Learning platforms such as moodle (for a smooth flow of e-learning) and programs for data transfer such as WeTransfer are just as important.
Create a Productive Work Environment for Distance Learning:
Ok, you have created the technical requirements for successful distance learning. But how do you keep your work ethic at home permanently and how do you manage not to be constantly distracted at home? Ideally through a strict new routine including breaks and rewards and regular exchanges with friends, fellow students, and teachers – more on that in a moment.
But it is also extremely important to create a productive environment or workplace. So first tidy up your desk and get rid of everything that is unnecessary. Only what you really need to cope with your tasks remains at your workplace, everything else goes away. In this way you create enough space to give your productivity space.
If you study for hours at home because lectures and the like no longer take place at the university, but only digitally, you also need a comfortable, healthy chair. It’s just not easy to learn on the couch or on the folding chair in the kitchen. Also good light (preferably daylight) is important for a productive working and learning environment. If necessary, move your furniture around so that you get enough natural light.
Before the starting shot for learning is given every day, you should briefly ventilate again and also ventilate regularly so that your brain is supplied with fresh oxygen . Also, make sure you have enough water or unsweetened tea ready so that you drink enough. If you tend to forget about regular drinking breaks, set up a drinking alarm clock to remind you. 1.5 liters per day is the minimum you should consume, 2 to 3 liters would be better.
Establishing a Functioning Routine in Everyday Distance learning:
As already mentioned, a reasonably strict routine is essential if you don’t fall into the trap of procrastination in distance learning, but instead, want to use your resources well. Your regular everyday student life, consisting of getting up, driving to the university, attending lectures, meeting other students, etc. is largely eliminated when studying from home and that can pose unexpected challenges. Because a certain structure in everyday life is extremely important in order to move things forward and to be able to work and learn with motivation.
It is therefore advisable to set a schedule for the new everyday study routine, which you then adhere to. Your new routine in the event that you have little to no classroom teaching at the university could look like this, for example:
- Get up on time
- Make yourself a healthy breakfast
- Do a short round of exercise or meditate
- Then get to work, work through the to-do list, attend digital courses
- Preparing lunch
- Maybe take a short walk (especially if you haven’t moved at all by then)
- Insert another work phase
- Make dinner and end work with a small reward (e.g. read a book, watch a film, zoom in for a beer, etc.)
The structure also gives you the ability to visualize and plan your to-dos. So it’s best to make a course or timetable and a good old list to tick off your activities, whether digital or analog is of course entirely up to you. A weekly list helps you to get a good overview and written daily to-dos ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
When planning your to-dos carefully, it is also important to always stake out a manageable workload per day so that you don’t overload yourself, but also get everything done.
Clear Demarcation Between Work/Learning:
When studying in your own four walls, it is also important to have enough breaks, as the boundaries between work/study and private life quickly blur and you tend not to draw a clear line between your studies and your everyday home life. You quickly get stuck on the computer longer than planned or you mix up different activities because everything happens at home anyway.
But at some point this inevitably leads to you losing focus on learning. On the one hand, try to separate these boundaries between activities for your studies and those that you have to do privately. First one, then the other. And please force yourself to take breaks. This does not mean making yourself a fresh cup of coffee every five minutes or taking a smoke break. No, this refers to breaks that your brain urgently needs in order to be able to work productively.
So vent your brain here, take a break from the screen and loosen up your body, e.g. with a few yoga moves or the following exercises:
Circles: Sit up straight, spread your arms and bring your fingertips to your shoulders. Now you slowly circle your shoulders forwards and then backward.
- Heel Raises:
Stand behind your chair, hold on to the back of the chair, slowly shift all of your body weight onto the balls of your feet and lift your heels. Then lower it again. It is best to repeat the procedure 5 to 10 times.
- Hand press:
Bring your hands together in front of your chest, being careful not to lift your shoulders. Now you press your palms together so tightly that your arms begin to tremble. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then loosen it up briefly and repeat twice.
So, and after your work is done, you can also jet off into a relaxing evening. If you also spend this at home, you should move away from your desk and spend it somewhere else (e.g. in a different room) than where you have been studying all day. Or at least make all learning materials disappear from your field of vision. That sounds banal, but it is definitely relevant. If you spend your well-deserved compensation in the space that you have previously set up specifically for your work, your end of the day may still feel like work to your subconscious. So a little change of scenery is crucial here.
Stay Tuned, Maintain Regular Exchanges:
Last but not least, you should just stick with distance learning – just like with regular studies. Distance yes, giving up no! Do not postpone lectures just because deadlines may be different in this semester or lectures and seminars cannot be attended personally, because your participation is still crucial. You are currently studying under very unusual and, of course, sometimes very difficult conditions, but you are studying and should therefore make the appropriate effort.
What helps you besides the tips already mentioned? Communication with your fellow human beings. As far as your studies are concerned, above all, of course, the exchange with your fellow students and with the teachers. Remember, everyone is in the same (educational) boat and has to deal with the effects of the pandemic – regardless of whether they are university teachers, students, educators at schools or pupils. Discussing with others on a daily basis (e.g. with access to a learning platform, in forums and/or learning groups via Discord, WhatsApp and Telegram, etc.) and helping each other is extremely important in order to make good time for distance learning to survive and maintain motivation. And at some point it will be possible to return to normal everyday study life.
That was our overview of distance learning. Hopefully one or the other tip could help you and motivate you.