We are four weeks into the national quarantine imposed by the Spanish government in an effort to combat Covid-19. When the restrictions were introduced, our entire school community – staff, teachers and students alike – suddently found themselves studying and working from home overnight.
In our last blog post, we shared what it’s been like switching to online classes. Today, we’re digging a little deeper to talk about how students can maximise their online learning potential – and we asked one of our students, Camila Viani to share her experience in navigating the world of online learning.
Here are 5 ways to make the most of studying at home during the national lockdown.
1. Manage distractions
Home environments and physical classrooms have different types of distractions. While your focus may not be broken by someone passing a note or whispering in your ear, there are plenty of other things at home that can draw your attention away from studying – especially when there are multiple people working from home together.
That said, we all experience confinement in different ways. For example, Camila – who is an ESEI Marketing and Communications Master’s student – says she can focus better at home than in the classroom. She’s currently doing an internship at a parking app startup, and juggling her studies and internship responsibilities from home works well for her.
But while studying at home comes naturally to some people like Camila, others may find it more difficult.
If you truly want to make the most of your time, it’s important to manage potential distractions. Put your phone on silent and leave it in the other room. Wash your dishes before you start your day, intead of letting them sit there calling out to you. And definitely don’t put a tray of cookies in the oven that needs checking while you’re supposed to be studying. Simple things like these will allow you to maintain your focus for extended periods of time.
2. Actively participate in online classes
Teaching online meant we had to make the switch from in-person classes to video conferences, and we’re proud to say that it has been going great.
In fact, in our student survey from last week, 20% of students rated their experience with our video conferencing tool Canvas Conferences a 5 out of 5 – and 50% rated it a 4 out of 5. Additionally, 80% of our students said they felt highly supported by our teachers.
However we know that virtual classrooms are inherently different from physical ones. Our teachers are doing their absolute best to create engaging digital content for you. But for online classes to work, you also need to actively participate in them. Don’t be afraid to join discussions over chat or ask questions of your professor. Be present, just like you would be if you were in a classroom.
As an example of a fun online exchange between students and teachers, Camila told us about her Strategic Communication class. At the beginning of each class, her professor Nicola presents real-world examples of poorly managed news stories regarding the current crisis. With the help of the professor, Camila and her classmates then discuss the “art” of delivering bad news – which is a skill that all business leaders need to master. Students pitch in whith their own opinions, and share how they would have handled the situation if they had to be the bearer of bad news.
3. Keep in touch with your classmates
What Camila misses the most from pre-online times is hanging out with her classmates. As a part of our Project-Based Learning approach, our students always work in groups. While Camila has three video calls a week – one wiht each of her groups for her three modules – and chats with her classmates on WhatsApp every day, she still feels that heir interactions have become much shorter and focused almost entirely on schoolwork.
Maintaining your friendships is extremely important in these challenging times. Make an effort to recreate your usual social interactions online: have virtual coffee dates, dinner parties, or bar hangouts on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts.
You can even use the Netflix Party extension to host online movie nights – it’s a tool that synchronises video playback and adds a group chat features to movies or TV shows so friends or family can watch together from afar.
4. Take extra online courses
Since leaving the house is not an option, we all have some extra free time on our hands. There has never been a better moment to broaden your horizons and start learning something new!
Whether you’re interested in expanding your knowledge on the subjects you’re studying at ESEI or you want to dip your toes into something completely different, there are thousands of online courses that you can take.
Here are some of our favourite platforms for online courses:
– Coursera offers training in today’s most in-demand skills via courses, certificates and degrees from world-leading universities and companies. You can learn everything from business, to computer science, to career development, to mental health – and even more, some of their courses are free.
– edX lets you access over 2,500 online courses on different subjects from the world’s most prestigious universities, such as MIT, Harvard and Berkeley. Their most popular subjects include computer science, data science, business and management, engineering, and humanities, but they offer courses on topics as diverse as sign language, sports and nutrition and sustainable tourism. You can also learn languages at all different levels. The courses are free, however you can choose to pay extra to get a formal certificate from the institutions.
– Skillshare is a flexible platform where you can learn creative skills in the categories of animation, design, illustration, lifestyle, photo and film, business and writing. The courses are taught by artists, creators, and experts who share their real-world experience and go-to tools with you. You can get started for free and sign up for a membership if you love it.
5. Rethink your goals
With the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that many of your short-term plans have gone out the window. But what about the long-term ones?
We strongly believe that this is a time for deep introspection – a chance to reinvent yourself and think about what you want to achieve. Take advantage of this downtime to set personal and professional goals. The lockdown will be lifted eventually and everything will go back to normal. Look into your future now and set yourself up for success.
You can start by setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals that will help you get clarity on your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources effectively and ultimately increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.
We hope that these tips help you make the most of studying at home during the national lockdown. Let us know if you have any advice for your peers that we forgot to mention!
To learn more about what we are doing to support our students during the lockdown, have a look at our COVID-19 information page.