Academic Success and Engagement With Remote Learning

Ever since we have switched from in-class learning to remote learning, student engagement has been decreasing. According to several articles by Inside Higher Ed, professors have noted that students have lost motivation and found it difficult to be engaged remotely. In this blog post, I have laid out several tips to help you stay engaged and motivated while learning remotely. remote learning photo Here are some tips to improve engagement and increase academic success outside of class:

  • Prepare beforehand: Take 5-10 minutes before class to review what you learned previously to ease your brain into learning.
  • Update your workspace: Since we’re all on our laptops most of the day, updating our workspace can help us be more efficient and stay engaged. An ergonomic set-up can help improve your posture and increase productivity.
  • Exercise/Take daily walks: Since we’re at home most of the time, we forget to go outside and get moving. Fit into your schedule a 15-30-minute walk or exercise to stay healthy and keep your brain sharp.
  • Take breaks: Spend some time away from your phone and laptop. Stretch or do some desk exercises after sitting for long periods of time.
  • Discover and explore hobbies/activities to help you relax: Whether it be listening to music, meditating, or binge-watching a show, make sure to allocate some time away from work to relax.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep: It is extremely important that you take time to rest and recharge. It allows you to stay awake and focused on your tasks the following day.

Besides creating a distraction-free workspace and turning off your phone, here are some tips to stay engaged during remote learning:

  • Ask questions: One way to stay engaged during class is by asking the professor questions. Asking questions helps clear up confusion and lets the professor know if their students are understanding what is being taught.
  • Turn your camera on: If possible, turn on your camera during class. This will make you more accountable to stay attentive.
  • Stay hydrated: “Make a goal of drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day, especially during your class. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel lethargic and disengaged.”
  • Take notes during class: Taking notes will help you focus on what is being said during the lecture. You can also review your notes when studying for future tests.
  • Invest in blue-light glasses: After a long day of looking at my computer screen for classes and work, I suffered from eyestrain. Blue-light glasses helped relieve my discomfort!
  • Change your environment: Sometimes, we just need a change in scenery. If you have a backyard or if you’re comfortable with working at a nearby coffee shop, take advantage of online learning and work outside.

It is also important to stay connected with your professors and peers. Human interaction and talking with others (either in-person or through video call) is vital in keeping a relationship and helps with managing stress levels. Here are some tips to stay connected:

  • Schedule Zoom meetings with your professors
    • Have questions ready: You can ask a question about something you didn’t understand in class or ask for clarification of what is expected of you.
    • Ask for career advice: If one of your professors had experience in a certain field that you are interested in, ask for their help with internships, job search, and/or the interview process!
    • Talk about the difficulties you are facing with remote learning
      • Give suggestions to the professor, such as sending out reminders before the due date. Also, keep yourself in check by making to-do lists and staying organized!
      • Communicate your issues and ask for flexibility: If you let them know ahead of time, professors will most likely be understanding if you need an extension for an assignment or a paper.
    • Just to talk: If you are comfortable, talk to a professor about how you are dealing with everything. Having someone support/listen to you can help manage your stress and improve your mental health.
  • Have online study sessions with your peers
    • Use Zoom, Facetime, or any other platform to have online study sessions with your friends and peers.
    • Here is a suggested way to structure your study sessions: Take the first 15-30 minutes to catch-up, then work on homework. Take breaks in between homework sessions to chat/relax.
      • This emulates a study group environment, where you are able to talk with your friends and hold each other accountable to complete work.
    • Find out which learning technique(s) work best for you: The Pomodoro technique is a popular time management method to effectively manage your time and boost productivity!

We are living through tumultuous times and it is important to understand that it is okay to take a break occasionally. Rather than changing your entire lifestyle, pick out the tips that work best for you and incorporate them into your everyday life!

By Cindy Cheng
Cindy Cheng Cindy Cheng