Tips to Stay Focused on Your Online Classes

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Hadeel Hossam

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17 April, 2020

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4 mins read

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Tips and Advice

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Since the breakout of COVID-19 and the implementation of national lockdown, many schools, universities and other educational institutions have started remote education by setting up online classes. Attending classes from home might seem like a great idea as it saves a lot of time and is more comfortable, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Many students struggle with maintaining the same level of focus they have when they are in a classroom as it’s easier to get sidetracked at home. It’s difficult enough to concentrate for a long time, which is why we previously wrote our How to Stay Focused for a Long Time blog; but now students have to think about ways to focus on classes while staying at home as well. Attending online classes is definitely new territory for most students, so here are some tips to stay focused and make the most out of the situation.

1. Maintain a Routine

It’s pretty tempting to wake up 2 minutes before class and attend from the comfort of your bed in your pyjamas, but that’s also the recipe for losing focus as soon as your professor starts speaking. Even though you have to attend your classes online, you should still maintain your usual routine. Start your day the usual way; whether it’s taking a shower, going for a morning jog, or having a healthy breakfast, keep doing just that. If you used to grab a cup of coffee before class, make sure you get up early enough to make yourself one to sip on while attending. Also, it helps to dress as if you’re going to class instead of staying in your pyjamas. Maintaining a routine will keep your energy levels high and help you stay focused throughout the day.

2. Create the Perfect Workspace

Your own workspace

Let’s face it, attending your online classes from bed or in front of the TV just doesn’t work. You must have a quiet place meant only for class and studying at home. It should be somewhere you can turn into your own space where you can stay motivated and attentive. It is also better to keep your workspace away from your bedroom; otherwise, you’ll always be tempted to pick up your laptop and lie down on your bed.

3. Update Your Technology

It won’t help your focus if you keep disconnecting from your online class or can’t hear and see properly. Therefore, it is important to update your existing technology, whether it’s your internet connection or your headset. You’ll also need to get acquainted with the online platforms that professors use for quizzes, discussions, or assignments so that you don’t try to figure it out during class and waste time. You can also get certain apps that will help you in tracking time, taking notes, or setting a schedule or reminders. Find out more in our Useful Apps for Students Studying Abroad blog and our 7 Must-Have Student Mobile Apps.

4. Eliminate Distractions

stay away from Distractions

Would you be scrolling through your Twitter or Instagram feed if you were in an actual class? Just because you don’t have the camera on and your professor can’t see you, does not mean you should distract yourself. Even if you’re listening to the class, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be distracted, and social media is the number one thing to eliminate. Moreover, If you’re staying with flatmates, it’s important to establish boundaries so that they do not disturb you. Explain to your flatmate that vacuuming can wait until you’re done, and make sure they know your class schedule to avoid walking in on you. Check out our Study Hacks to Avoid Distractions blog for tips on specific tactics to get rid of any distractions.

5. Utilize Learning Strategies

Learning strategies

Now is the best time to put into action a few learning strategies that will help you keep up with your online classes. First of all, it’s important to stick to your professors schedules instead of just watching the classes later. Attending live online classes will help you maintain a feeling of normalcy and encourage you to interact and participate. You should also consider how you accept and interact with information; are you a visual learner, auditory learner or do you learn best in other ways? Find more about that in our blog 9 Types of Learners: Which One Are You? This will help you determine which learning approach suits you the most. 

Additionally, although you can go back to the lecture anytime, you should still take your own notes while attending. You can’t depend on your classmates notes to reflect your learning style. Take your notes with a pen and paper instead of typing them; it’s proven to help in paying more attention to details and remembering the information better. Check out our 24 Hours to Improving Studying Strategies blog for more ideas.

6. Reach Out

Just because you can’t see your classmates and professors anymore does not mean you can’t still connect with them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors when you have a question or can’t understand something. Try to participate more in class discussions to stay attentive to what is being said. If you’re used to studying in groups, you can set a study group with some of your classmates where you have virtual study meetings to discuss and share information. It’s also an opportunity to share any feelings of uncertainty and anxieties you have as you go through the same feelings during this difficult time. Use our Mental Health Tips for Students blog to help you get through any negative feelings you might be experiencing.

In the end, it’s important to remember that this situation is only temporary and that things will go back to normal eventually. Try to find healthy ways to cope with the situation and don’t be too hard on yourself. Focusing on your classes is a good way to fill your time and utilize your energy. 


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