4 min read
Struggling with studying online on your own during the pandemic?
During the coronavirus pandemic over the past year or so, many of us have had no other choice but to continue living our lives in a virtual way. Be it by shifting to taking university lectures online, or working from home, or even, sadly, losing our jobs and finding ourselves having a lot of unexpected time on our hands. If you're not used to sitting in front of a screen all day long, it may feel like you've been thrown in at the deep end. So here are some useful tips for online learning that will (hopefully) give you some encouragement during this time of uncertainty...
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Be cool on Zoom
Communication via video call may have become the 'new normal' for anyone wanting to study during the pandemic, but online meetings can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to navigate through. Not only because your internet connection might let you down, leaving you sounding like a robot or simply disappearing in the middle of a call—yes, we've all been there—but also because of this new kind of online etiquette we're all suddenly expected to know. So how can we really get to grips with the awkwardness of video calls?
Firstly, having a constantly stable internet connection isn't really within your control, but perhaps paying that little bit extra to make sure you're with the best internet provider possible will save your bacon. Especially when participating in online classes or lectures. Ensuring your equipment is all set up properly before the video call is a given, so check your microphone and headphones are working and at the right volume. If you're speaking in a group, it's also customary to mute your mic when other people are having their say, to turn off all notifications and to make sure your mobile phone is on silent. You don't want to be the one person whose phone keeps pinging in the background whilst everyone else is trying to concentrate. Awkward.
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Exercise those eyes
Unfortunately, all of this time staring at a computer screen can't be doing our eyes much good. In fact, headaches and tired eyes are common symptoms many have been suffering with since our lives went online. That's why it's important to take regular screen breaks throughout the day. If you find yourself sitting down at your desk for long periods of time, make sure you get up to stretch your legs and rest those eyes for a few minutes every hour or so.
Another helpful tip is to change the settings on your screen so it's not too bright, or switch it to 'dark mode'. You'll notice your eyes are so much less strained once you've made that tiny change. You might also find that your eyes feel drier than usual due to excessive screen use, so try using eyedrops regularly and wearing your glasses if you need to. Contact lenses are great, but they can really dry your eyes out if worn for too long, especially when you're in front of a glaring screen all day. So, protect those eyes, people!
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Don't spend a fortune
And finally, once you've got your study area all set up how you want it, you might be struggling for materials to help you study on your own. But don't worry—there are hundreds of brilliant resources you can use for self-study, and many of them are free! So, if you're slightly out of pocket after buying all that new computer equipment, check out Britcent's YouTube channel. There you'll find lots of free professional videos, podcasts, audiobooks, and even two regular livestreams a week with our very own tutors. That'll give you hours of free educational content to make studying online on your own so much less lonely and more fun!
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So these are some great tips to help you reach your goals and feel less isolated during what has been one hard year for the world. Lots of the content suggested here is free, but if you're feeling a bit more flush, why not start having regular English lessons with your own professional Britcent tutor? You'll be able to put all of this advice into practice and get individual attention from a native British teacher. Check out our tutor Jon's profile video on our YouTube channel, or scroll down to watch it here. Happy studying!
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Please note: These blog posts are written in informal, conversational English.
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