tips for online learning

Hello, world!

I’ve created a list of tips that help me work from home. I hope they will be of some assistance to you as well! Not all of these ideas will work for everyone, so please feel free to adapt them to whatever will work best for you. If you have any tips that you think would be helpful, you are more than welcome to share them at the bottom of this post. All other helpful instructions can be found here.

I wish you all the best of luck with your studies,


general tips

  • put your phone away
  • find a space that will be the most comfortable for you to work in
    • it will help if you maintain this as your workspace and seat for the semester
    • working at a desk will help you be more attentive, while working in your bed or in a posture conductive to sleep or rest will make it harder for you to work and retain information
    • working in your bed can lead to the problematic association with your personal rest space and work space
  • declutter your setting and find little things that motivate you
    • make a tea, get some water, drink some coffee
    • don’t forget to eat
    • light a candle
    • block out noises that distract you
      • instrumental music will help you focus while lyrics may distract you
      • here are some options: acoustic, low-fi hip-hop beats (my favourite), classical…
  • use a calendar – physical or digital
    • plan your time and track productivity
    • write down your due dates!
    • most phones and computers have calendar applications that are already available for you to use and can automatically send you reminders when an assignment is due or a zoom meeting is scheduled
    • options include: google calendar, apple calendar, microsoft outlook calendar
  • organize class documents in separate folders
    • if you have limited space on your computer, use your microsoft one drive account provided through the university and save your files on the cloud storage
    • saving your files with one drive while using the word application allows for “auto save” – this is SO helpful and ensures your progress is never lost
  • take lecture notes on note taking applications such as Microsoft OneNote for better organization and accessibility
    • other note applications: goodnotes, notability (this is what i use), notion…
    • if you save the notes online you can access them on all of your devices (ie. computer, phone, tablet…)
  • open links in “new tabs” when you are not ready to leave the webpage you are on but would like to multitask
  • take breaks, go for a walk
    • every hour spent online should be equaled with preferably 10 minutes of non-screen time
    • give your eyes a rest, get some exercise and drink some water!
    • every 3 hours of more (with small breaks) needs at least 30-60 minutes of non-screen time!
  • missing the classroom environment? talk to your classmates about starting a facebook group or microsoft team
    • human interaction is good! even if it has to be virtual, have a study buddy and hold yourselves accountable to get! stuff! done!

zoom tips

  • starting off the zoom call sharing your video and audio is a nice way to establish the classroom community and engage with your peers
    • once the lecture, demo, critique, etc. begins – turn off your audio and video to enhance the quality of the call and allow for less distractions
    • if you have a question, or a thought you’d like to contribute you can unmute your microphone or message it in the chat
    • you never have to use your camera on zoom if you don’t want to – it is your choice
    • you are entitled to your private space in your home
    • to protect your privacy while sharing your image, you can also decorate a space specifically for zoom calls which you sit into for class time
      • this can include a backdrop, or a background with art, plants, and other things you think of
        • note: everything you include in the screen is something you are offering to others – the less distracting, the better
      • it will help you conceptualize a separate space for school and home life
      • when class is over, you leave the space
  • if your computer doesn’t have audio or video capabilities but you have a phone or tablet that does, you can download the zoom app and participate on calls from that device while following along on your computer
    • whichever camera you use (if you choose to use one) make sure it is in a locked position
      • movements such as shifting the camera or swivelling your chair will distract your classmates
  • make sure that it is your name is assigned to your zoom account, not family names
    • students will be admitted into the call based off of a comparison of student names to the course list
      • if your preferred name does not match the course list please inform the instructor
    • add your preferred pronouns following your last name
  • if you have privacy concerns sharing your screen, you can have the choice to only share the application you are using instead
    • after you click “share screen”, zoom will open the page below which allows you to choose what portion of the screen you would like to share
    • instead of choosing “desktop”, look at and choose from the other options that are available

wordpress tips

sharing files

  • wetransfer is a website that allows you to share up to 2GB at a time
    • this is very helpful if you want to share images with a friend, coworker, or yourself across devices
  • if you find yourself sharing files with the same person or a group of people many times, consider creating a Microsoft Team
    • you have a free account, log in with your University of Guelph email

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