• Twinkle Joshi

Complete Guide to make most of the Online Classes

Since the invention of wondrous internet, online education has surfaced revolutionising the industry forever. We have been debating for about a decade on the superiority between the offline on-campus classes or online classes. India, the country with the second-largest population still depends and trusts the campus teaching. Although when the coronavirus knocked on the door and became an uninvited guest in our living room, we are left with no other choice than to turn to online mode.

Students and teachers both have been struggling with the idea of going full time on the online classes as this is new territory for them with no real experience. Without the schedule, discipline, and peer learning, online school/colleges can seem (how to put this diplomatically) not enough. Hence, this article aims to provide the students the key to the guide of how to make the most out of the online classes.

1) Right Attitude

The most important factor is to keep the right attitude. All of us struggling, hoping, and waiting for the time when the campus will welcome us. This can happen in a month, trimester, or even a year. Hence, treating online classes just as a ‘temporary phase’ and not giving it the right attention can lead to unproductive results. It is important to be fresh, eager, and ready to learn even when you are 1000s of kilometers away from your respective college.

2) Setting up the Den

The most relaxing thought that comes with online classes is that I can attend lectures while laying down on my bed with the comfort of my pillows. Though your back will be happy, your grades wouldn’t. A proper study space should be created (on a desk). This will bring alertness and routine in your actions. A pre-check list of all the things you would require- A laptop with Microsoft installed; high-speed wi-fi connection (on average 3.5 hours of class takes up 1 GB of internet, so plan your data pack accordingly); Headphones (with speakers would be great).

3) Knowing your tools

We are no less than a warrior on the battlefield. To win this war, initially, we should know how to use our weapons. Our laptop is full of useful resources, just need some poking around to explore that. Learning and being an expert on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel is a pre-requisite. In addition to that, gather the information by your college about which platform they will be taking the classes on, be it Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Google Meet (ya ya Zoom too). After knowing the location of your battlefield, prepare in advance, and get all the information on how to use that platform effectively.

4) Planning with a Calendar

In school/college, we have always that one friend who reminds us of all classes, assignments, and deadlines. (if you cannot remember one, you were the one) The drawback of online education that you won’t be reminded of every task by your peers. Hence, it becomes necessary to plan and store every class schedule and project timelines. Lucky for you, there are many amazing apps available on the internet to help you out-organize every detail of your online classes The 9 Best Calendar Apps. Choose the best which fits your needs. (My favorite is Google Calendars.)

5) Organizing Notes

This factor is important for offline and online classes. Our mind can only remember so much, even if you think you will remember this later, trust me you won’t. Making notes is a must. So, keep your paper, pens, highlighter, sticky notes handy. Moreover, you will be provided with lots of books and notes online which must be characterized into groups and categories based on the topic. It will make it easier for you to make reference in the future and not struggle through hundreds of files to find the one. You can take the help of these apps The 9 best note-taking apps of 2020.

6) Participate (but not, over-participate)

During the classes, the teachers will be available but it is the duty of the students to ask doubts that come into their mind. Remember, this is as new for the teachers as it is for you. There could be a communication gap between this new teaching style. Hence, the burden comes on you to take the responsibility to participate. It can be hard for a few students but try coming out of your comfort zone. On the flip side, do not participate just for the sake of speaking up and marking your presence. This will create a negative experience for the other students. Speaking of the negative experience, there have been incidences that students create nuisance in chatbox taking the benefit of anonymity, for that just remember you are paying lakhs for that class.

7) Peer Learning and Mentors

Online classes do not necessarily mean that you have to let go of the peer learning factor altogether. Forming study groups, participating in discussion forums and interaction after class can be conducted with a little bit of effort. Technological advancement will aid you in every single step. 5 Useful Tools For Online Group Study can provide you a platform to interact with your classmates (No, everything does not have to be on Whatsapp).

In a broader picture, there are some lessons that only industry experts can teach you. Don't hesitate to reach to individuals such as your professors, guest teachers for advice on your career and not just for curriculum. LinkedIn has a special feature called 'Career Advice' in which the algorithm connects you with an industry expert as per your requirement. A great tool to explore and navigate your career with the help of experts.

8) Hustle Hustle

The world is moving fast and competition is rising. In an ideal world, the students should get some slack because of the ongoing pandemic but alas that is not the case. Having a good GPA just won't cut it. To be prepared, you must diversify your achievements, there are many ways you can do it without getting out. Participate in the online competition (find them at Dare2Compete), author research paper (learn how, How to Write a Research Paper), complete certificate programs and most importantly form connections at LinkedIn.

Co-curricular activities can be carried out by the students to enhance their skill set as such online debating, Model United Nations, poetry slam, singing, photography and many more

9) Do not forget to chill

The best part of school/college is to meet incredible people and chill with them. COVID-19 took the fun away, still, there are many ways you can compensate. We all know it is not ideal to plan parties with your long-distance buddies. Yet, it is not impossible. Whatsapp & Telegram chats, video meets, Netflix Party, HouseParty, Virtual game nights which can include PUBG, Pysch and many more. (check out the top multiplayer games, here) Let yourself loose.

10) Eye care

Quoting Phoebe, “My eyes, My eyes!” That can be you after spending most of the day in front of the screen. My advice is to take care of your eyes. Several things can assist, setting the right brightness taking lights in the room into account; Positioning the laptop in a way to avoid glare, and following the 20-20-20 rule (if you don’t know about it, check it out here). You can move one step ahead and buy anti-glare specs to minimize the damages.

Even after all these steps, the students and teachers must keep realistic expectations out of the online classes. Work out on the individual discipline for the coming time period without which any platform of education is inefficient. Best of luck to the students who are walking on this uncertain path. Go soldier go!

If you would like to share any other tips to help students navigate through online classes, share it in the comment box.

Now that you've reached the end of this article, if you want to read out my other articles, check them out Tamasha with Twinkle.

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