Let's not get physical: how to study from home
UPDATED 28 JULY By now, most have us have moved to online classes, and even if you’re still on campus, you’ll be doing lots more learning from your own desk. It’s the sensible thing to do to keep our community safe, but there’s no doubt that studying online will carry some unique challenges. Never fear – we’re here with a range of strategies, systems and services to help you out.
First thing's first – confirm whether you'll be coming to campus for face-to-face activities or studying online by logging in to MyTimetable and heading to enrolment. In the Location section of each subject, you'll be able to see whether your class is in a classroom (i.e. on-campus) or online.
When you’re at home, it’s easy for study time to morph into procrastination time. So, once you’ve set up your class timetable, work out a couple of hours each day where you’re going to do readings, prep work and general study for your subjects. Top tip: create or download a weekly timetable planner, fill it out and print it, then stick it somewhere prominent!
Ask all the questions
Just because we’re self-isolated doesn’t mean we’re alone. Your tutors will be busy, yes, but they’ll still be there to help you with anything you don’t understand. Who knows, it might even be easier to ask questions this way – it's easier to pretend that you don’t have 27 other students listening to you!
Work on your group work
Group work is going to take a different form depending on your subject and tutors, but it can’t hurt to brush up on general techniques for working together. These include things like establishing a common goal and setting some basic ground rules – read the full article for more!
Set up study groups
Social distancing doesn’t mean never seeing your friends or classmates. Using Zoom technology (see below), set up a regular time where you can study together (or watch Netflix together, whatever you prefer). And no, you don’t have to be working on the same thing – it’s just nice to have company!
This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer … but did you know you can email classmates through UTSOnline? And no, you don’t have to know their student number – just log in, press on the name of the subject your group assignment is from, scroll down and press the name of your class under My Groups, and hit Send Email. Postgrad students, we haven’t forgotten about you – Canvas has a similar messaging system, and on both platforms you can contact individuals, the whole class, or even your whole cohort – although we really hope you don’t have a group assignment with all of them.
All UTS students have access to this all-inclusive platform. Here’s some of the things it includes:
- Teams is a messaging platform where you can set up individual and group chats, as well as creating teams where you can post things – think Facebook Messenger and Facebook groups, but with less chance of your team mates stalking your profile. It’s easy to use, and will even give message suggestions based on who you’ve last emailed – so maybe see above, first!
- Using Word Online, you can set up a document and share with your classmates, so everyone can work on it at the same time (plus, you can see who has accessed the file – bludgers beware!). Same goes for Excel and PowerPoint, meaning there’s a way to plan and create group work no matter what it is!
- If you need to create multiple documents or share files between you, set up a shared folder on OneDrive.
- Need to keep everyone on track? Use Planner! You can segment tasks, allocate people to certain things, and, best of all, tick off things once they’re done. Online work that’s organised, too? You really can have it all.
Do you remember your Skype password? Nope, neither do we, which is why we’re glad Zoom exists. You've probably already starting using this software for some tutorials, but you don't have to limit yourself. Why not use it to schedule video meetings, share your screen with others, or shoot the breeze (that's a daggy way of saying 'chat')? Plus, it works with one or more people, so it doesn't need to be a big catch up to warrant a Zoom!
If you’re struggling academically, it’s more important now than ever to reach out. And luckily, you can still get academic support from our friendly HELPS staff, from the comfort of your own home! Check out what they have on offer:
- Virtual drop-ins
- One-on-one consultations
- Daily Zoom workshops for academic skills, including writing essays, critical thinking and managing course readings
- UPASS subjects online
- HELPS Buddy program: open for both those who need to practice their English, and those who want to volunteer to help!
UTS Careers online
At the end of the day, most of us are still at uni to get work in a field we enjoy. And that mission doesn’t have to stop just because we’re not on campus! Luckily, UTS Careers has a range of services that are available online. Here are some of our favourites:
- UTS Careers blog
- Career Action Plan and Career Assessments
- Professional Mentoring Program
- Rate my resume
- Career videos and workbooks
Yes, all your readings are stored in the online library, but we bet you don’t know about all the other things you can find there. Find online versions of books through databases like Google Scholar or Dictionary of Open Access Books, proof your group’s final work using Grammarly Premium, or double-check your (team mates’) referencing before you submit anything.
The most important thing to remember among all of this is: we’re all in this together. Help each other out not only by practicing social distancing and proper hygiene, but by checking in with your friends and keeping each other on track if you can.