prepare online learning
Prepare for online learning and you'll stay on track for graduation, pandemic or not. Source: Bay Ismoyo/AFP

Don’t you feel like a new normal is taking over? Campuses are turning into ghost towns, and same goes for entire neighbourhoods. Face masks are on everyone and let’s not forget all the people fighting over toilet paper and panic buying in supermarkets. For international students who are waking up at 1am to attend a discussion group, the answer to the question “are online classes easier?” is a likely a resounding no. 

So with most universities shifting to online classes for the foreseeable future, how’s an international student to cope?

If you’re looking for tips and advice, look no further. Let us walk you through it.

Get familiar with online learning and communication

prepare online learning

Embrace online learning. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

Video streaming, learning management systems (LMS), forums – it’s time to get to know these things.

As for communication, email will be your new best friend – but before you hit “Send all,” please please please check out our guide on how to email your professors and university staff the right way.

If you’re unfamiliar with some of these, Whatsapp your coursemates – there’s definitely that one person who can troubleshoot just about anything from reformatting laptops to which site to stream movies for free from. Ask that guy/girl.

Even better, be resourceful and be that guy/girl. With lockdowns and all, you have plenty of time to be everyone’s new favourite person in the time of COVID-19.

Design your perfect workspace

Whether you’re back home or still in the dorms, staying productive in a space where there is temptation to be anything but that, studying becomes real tough.

Solution? Get rid of the distractions.

prepare online learning

Your laptop, headphones and a drink is all you need in the distraction-free zone. Source: Tony Karumba/AFP

Create a distraction-free zone and that includes virtually too – thankfully, there are a bunch of apps out there to stop us checking Instagram for the gazillionth time, like Offtime and Moment.

It’s nice and smart to have a clutter-free and Pinterest-worthy desk too. Lots of natural light, a photo of your hero/friends/dog – anything and everything so you’re motivated to continue studying and stay on track to graduation. 

Keep a positive attitude!

prepare online learning

Help your peers in these trying times … virtually. Source: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Online learning is convenient. But it can be a little … boring? 

There are no physical stimuli, right? Which makes Netflix and quarantine sound even. more. tempting.

But let’s not get carried away just yet (even though Kingdom Season 2 is already out).

If you’re struggling to transition to online learning, chances are, your lecturers probably are too.

Everyone’s in the same boat so it helps if both parties are patient and cut each other some slack in these trying times. 

Be supportive, help your peers and most importantly, cooperate with your lecturers too.

And don’t forget about your mental health. Keep in touch with friends and family even if they’re several lockdown zones away – after all, they’re the ones with us in the good times and bad times … and in the middle of a global health crisis.

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