How to get the most out of online classes

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How to get the most out of online classes a.k.a. 5 things your tutors want you to know

The COVID19 pandemic has changed the way we learn. No more lunchtime hangouts at Parra Westfield or adrenaline-fueled Kahoot sessions. And what’s more, it is highly likely that much of your future education (high school and university) will be conducted via computer screens.

Online learning can be a sea of new and confusing experiences. So how do you get the most out of our online classes?

Don’t be invisible

We tutors may be laden with top marks, state rankings and years of teaching experience, but we are not psychic. You need to tell us if you can’t hear us, or we’re going too fast, or you need to go back to the previous slide. Remember that your tutors are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to make reasonable requests.

And please, please be active and responsive. If your internet allows it, turn on your video and microphone. If not, keep the chat open and ready. When in the classroom, we tutors use a lot of non-verbal cues to see where you’re at, like furrowed brows, slow nods, and frantic copying-down of notes. We miss all that when we’re online, so we need a little extra help from you.

Get to know Zoom

You know exactly how to use your pens and geometry set and calculator. Now we need to add a new tool to that list: Zoom.

Making sure you know your way around Zoom ensures that you’re able to interact with the class activity in a timely fashion. Do you know how to send a private message to your tutor in the chat? Can you navigate the Annotate tools? Perhaps you even know some keyboard shortcuts, like ‘Alt+V’ (PC) or ‘Command+Shift+V’ (Mac) for turning video on/off, and ‘Alt+A’ (PC) or ‘Command+Shift+A’ (Mac) for muting/unmuting.

Spread that Gen Z power!

Your tutors are typically on the younger side, but some of us are still confused millennials. So if you have ideas or suggestions for how to spruce up your online classes, don’t be afraid to bring them up. Maybe you know of a helpful website or app. Or perhaps you have a fresh idea on how to use one of the features on Zoom. Whatever it is, it’s worth hearing so please do tell!

Remember to talk to each other

When you’re watching a close-up of your tutor’s face for two hours as he/she carries on about exponents and growth curves, it’s easy to forget that you are seated amongst fellow scholars. If you were in the classroom, you could be collaborating on a particularly nasty problem, sharing your meticulous hand-written notes, or secretly conspiring with Morse code to pull an elaborate prank on your tutor involving the radio, the projector and the green whiteboard marker.

Okay maybe not that last one. But the point is – don’t forget to communicate with your classmates online as well. You’re in this together, so when it’s class discussion time, make sure you get in on the action! Turn your video and microphone on or get those fingers tapping away in the chat. Never underestimate the value of peer learning.

Embrace versatility

If there’s one thing 2020’s taught us, it’s the certainty of uncertainty. In this rapidly changing and frighteningly unpredictable world, being adaptable and versatile is absolutely critical. You’ve already had to adapt to a new learning environment and a whole new paradigm on how to live your everyday life. There are sure to be more challenges ahead. Embrace this as a challenge and seize a pro-active role in your learning. You have take control of your education and be the driver of your own success.


Now, I’m going to finish off with a quote from Disney, because you can’t really go wrong with that. “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
— Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

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