How to make your online class 10X better

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New to online learning? Here are five suggestions to ensure you’ll have a great class each time.

  1. Get your tools and mindset ready

    Before class, check that your tools are working to ensure that your session will not be interrupted by technical issues.

    1. Open your computer and test your internet connection and Skype.
    2. Check that you’re using Chrome as your browser.
    3. Test your microphone and videocam.
    4. Have an electrical outlet nearby so you can recharge your computer when needed.
    5. Consider having a back-up device like your phone in case of technical problems.

    Most importantly, have some coffee and snacks ready!

    Aside from your tools, you also need to get your mindset ready. Whether it’s the relaxed atmosphere of home, or the lack of the rituals of getting ready for an in-person class (getting dressed, travelling, etc.), online learners may find it hard to focus at first. It is important to keep in mind that an online class is a regular class – first, because IT IS a regular class, and second, thinking of it that way signals to your brain that you need to focus and pay full attention.

    You can also try some strategies to boost your mindset. Personally, I like dressing up as if I was attending an in-person class. I also close the door to my room and post a “Do not disturb” note outside the door. Once I turn my computer on, I’m in my learning mode. It can be different for you. You can try different techniques to get fully ready for class.

  2. Sign in early

    Sign in to Skype five to 10 minutes early so you can settle in before the class starts. Think of this as the period where you get comfortable in your “classroom”. While waiting for class to start you can:

    • Test the class link posted by the instructor. If it doesn’t work, you’ll have time to ask for help and solve the issue.
    • Scroll over messages on the EO Community Group chat to catch up on announcements or important information you might have missed.
    • Check if there are materials you need to read before class.
    • This is the best time to post your questions on Skype because you’re sure that your instructor is online and can answer immediately.
  3. poster with 5 tips on making your online class 10x better

  4. Turn on Mute

    Remember to turn the mute button on (usually the microphone icon) when entering a session or class. This will help minimize the noise for you and other people in the session. Turn the mic on only when you want to say something. Turn it off again when you are not speaking to your teacher or the class.

    Knowing when to speak in an online class can sometimes be difficult. Video conferencing software allows only one person at a time to speak. Here’s an option: When you are eager to say something but the moment is not right, you can either click on the function “raise your hand” (if you’re on Skype) then wait for the instructor’s signal to speak, or just type your message or question on the chat box.

  5. Minimize distractions

    Avoid setting up in a cluttered and noisy area. But if you absolutely cannot avoid being in an active environment (like sitting in a coffee shop for example), use a headset to lessen the noise. You can also choose to turn off your camera if you think your surroundings would be a distraction.

    A note about kids and pets: At English Online, we’re used to having kids and pets in the background. This is perfectly fine as long as they don’t distract you or your classmates. However, consider your kids’ privacy as well. Some kids may not be happy being seen by total strangers. If this is the case, it will be better to turn off your video or move to an area where they can’t be seen.

  6. Listen, observe and engage

    Just like in any class, you get the best results when you are fully engaged. You should:

    1. Listen to the instructor and follow the discussion.
    2. Take notes (have a notepad and pen handy on your desk) and complete activities or homework.
    3. Ask questions if there are points that you don’t understand.
    4. Ask for more resources if you need more materials to practise.
    5. Reach out to your instructor or your classmates if you need help or want to discuss something about the lesson.
    6. Information on the best times and ways to contact your instructors is posted on the Events Calendar. Look for the date, time, and the specific class you attended. After clicking on it and you will see the name of the instructor, their contact details, and their office hours.

    Online learning requires self-direction and self-motivation in order to work. You have to be creative and focused on solutions. It can feel like it’s hard work at the start but once you get used to it and start realizing your goals, you’ll know that the effort you put in is worth it!

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