School survival guide: 5 tips to get you ready for online classes

With many schools shifting to distance learning for the upcoming academic year, students across the country face unfamiliar territory in accessing education under the “new normal.”

Aside from gadgets and internet access, students may need to change their study habits to keep up with distance learning. (READ: Online classes: What the country will need to make them happen)

What do you do if you struggle to pay attention to online classes? What can be done to make online classes feel more official? How do you balance school work and your personal life now that everything is online?

If you’re a student asking these questions, Katrina Santiago, a teacher at the De La Salle-College of St Benilde; and Val dela Rea, a sophomore at Cavite State University, shared some tips on online classes on social media. They said their suggestions are based on their own experiences managing online classes and assignments.

Here are some of their valuable tips to help you make the most out of your online learning experience.

1. Assess yourself as a student

Not all students are the same when it comes to learning. According to Rasmussen College, there are 4 types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading learners.

Knowing which learning method works for you can help you find the resources to help supplement your studies, Dela Rea said.

“I personally try listening to YouTube videos to supplement the information I got from our discussion, and it works for me,” shared Dela Rea.

This also ties in with knowing your learning pace as a student, added Dela Rea. If you feel like you’re a slow learner, doing advanced reading can aid in helping you understand the lesson quicker. If you learn best when verbally discussing a topic, you can schedule study sessions with your friends. 

2. Stick to a schedule

Although asynchronous sessions allow you to learn at your own pace, it’s also important to take note of deadlines for school requirements. 

Santiago suggested allotting the same amount of time you would spend in the classroom, for class work at home. For example, if your classes usually run for an hour and a half, continue following that schedule even with your online classes and class work at home. 

Sticking to a schedule can prevent cramming for your academic requirements in the future and can help build an effective routine for online classes.

By having a schedule, you can also reduce the time you spend on unnecessary activities such as scrolling through your social media feed, Santiago said. 

One thing that worked for Santiago is treating going to class like a job, so he will be more disciplined in learning through online classes and assignments.

"Put so much dedication to studying that even if you don't feel energized and motivated, you still push and work because it will pay off soon," he said.

3. Take necessary breaks

Although it is advisable to stick to a schedule, it is equally as important to stay flexible as well. Don't beat yourself up when internet connection issues and household chores disrupt your schedule.

For Dela Rea, staying flexible also means taking necessary breaks and rewarding yourself after finishing a class or a task in your to-do list. This can help fend off burnout which can take a toll on your mental health.

“It is also great for self-care. Sometimes you cannot stick to the schedule you set because of what’s happening outside of your studies,” said Santiago.

4. Make a to-do list that works for you

What makes an effective to-do list varies from student to student. For some, listing down all their tasks, no matter how small, works best, while others prefer grouping tasks into bigger chunks. 

“Make a list and tick off something on it every day. It can be a lot of things; it can be one thing,” said Santiago. 

The importance of ticking something off on that list can push you to move forward with your learning, Dela Rea said.

“This will also develop a sense of achievement for every task done so you won’t lose your motivation and energy,” she added.

5. Make the most of your resources

With the internet, resources are more accessible than ever. Dela Rea said productivity apps can help you adjust better by keeping you on track with your online classes and requirements. These include apps for note-taking, calendars, and browser extensions. 

Productivity apps can also help in building effective study habits as these can aid in your adjustment to the “new normal” of learning.

“Dictionaries, planners, [and] PDF readers come in small sizes that will fit your phone’s storage,” said Dela Rea.

Other applications that worked for Santiago were those that restricted his social media use since this can often sidetrack one’s focus when studying.

While the tips are mainly for students, Santiago believes that they can also apply to teachers like herself. 

“I think what’s important is that we all admit that we’re all in the same boat. All teachers are adjusting to this new way of teaching, just like our students are adjusting to this new way of learning,” she said. 

Do you have your own tips to cope with online classes? Share them with us by tagging @MovePH on social media! – Rappler.com

Khaela C. Vijar

Khaela C. Vijar is a Rappler volunteer from Ateneo de Manila University. She is an incoming freshman taking up a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

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