With most university lectures, tutorials etc now taking place online, we wanted to share some ideas about how to get the most out of an online session.

Before:

Get prepared before it begins; think about what you did last time in the same session, which topics are coming up and what reading you have already done on this.  It’s also a good idea to think about what kind of questions or ideas you have in advance.

During:

You might need to adjust both how you interact in an online classroom and how you take notes as the session progresses.

As you’re all participating online, you may not be able to see one another (unless you are all able to use webcams at the same time).  You therefore need to be more explicit about putting forward your contributions to the group as your usual body language won’t be obvious!  If you have emojis available to you in a chat, then use these to show that you agree, understand or have questions.  It’s also nice to say hello and goodbye to everyone at the beginning and end of every session, and to thank your tutor!

Making notes might be more difficult if you normally do this on a laptop and you will be attending your session on the same device.  Think about how you want to use your notes afterwards and make sure that you have a clear way to record any further work that you are informed about in the session.

After:

Look at your notes or a recording of the session if this is available.  Mark up your notes to show which parts you feel more or less confident in, and where you might do more reading.  If you’ve been given extra references to follow up after the session look these up in Library Search.

Online classrooms are a different experience if you’re used to participating in face to face sessions, they do make it easier for students who feel less confident about speaking in public or asking questions in a large group.  Remember, that most students (and quite a lot of staff) are also getting used to this change, so be patient with one another!

Look out for more tips on learning and working online from our blog over the coming weeks.