We are all in this together!
We know that getting used to study during this weird time in the world can be really hard. Feeling uncertain is normal. But feeling uncertain doesn’t mean that you can’t do this – you can! To help you moving online (or studying online if you already were) we thought we would provide some advice from those in the know – online students and online teachers. Over the next few weeks we are going to be bringing you lots of support to help you as you adapt and adjust.
So to help you get started, join our new Student Learning Advisor, Dr Lauren Butterworth, as she guides you through the mad new world of study in our new video series “….like a Boss”.
Watch the video by clicking the image below.
Or you can read the transcript below:
Hi Flinders Fam!
I’m Lauren, (Dr Lauren Butterworth, if you want to be formal about it) and I’m a learning advisor and academic with the Student Learning Support Service. You may have seen me in the Learning Lounge, in Yunggorendi, in the English Department, or you may know me as the former president of the Speakeasy club. Basically, I’ve been kicking around here for a while! I started as an undergrad back in 2006, then stuck around for my PhD in Creative Writing, and now I work here, so Flinders feels very much like home to me.
But, let’s be honest, things are a little different around the campus at the moment and that’s been difficult. The University has moved really quickly to make sure we’re all safe, but that also means we’ve all been dealing with some pretty big transitional stuff. I, for one, have had a couple of crazy mad weeks. I started a new job here on Monday – great timing! – and have been learning a lot of new software, tech and teaching practices in a very short amount of time, and I know you’re all feeling it too.
So that’s why we’ve started the Like a Boss series. We want to help you transition to studying online and ensure you look after yourself from home … like a boss!
- This series will cover some key things like:
- Planning to online … like a boss.
- Embracing technology … like a boss
- Managing stress … like a boss
- Staying connected to community… like a boss
- Getting your assignments done … like a boss
- Looking after your physical wellbeing … like a boss
- Dealing with procrastination … like a boss
- Juggling caring duties and study … like a boss
As well as being a teacher, I’m also a writer, podcaster, live storytelling enthusiast, and performer and things vlog brings so many of my interests together, so I am super excited to be able to present this series to you (if only I could do it while riding a bike and travelling too …). In these dark times, we all need a project that excites us, right? I just happen to be the kind of nerd who’s excited by this stuff!
We also want to make sure the awesome campus vibes we have here at Flinders transition with us into the digital world. That means you are a central part of this vlog. We want to hear from you, so let us know what you’re struggling with and we’ll get that content to you!
So without any further ado, here’s a few quick tips to get you started as we move online:
#1: Get Set Up
I’m going to talk more about this one in the next vlog, but I want to give you some quick goods to get you started now.
- Create a study space away from as many distractions as possible. Try to find somewhere with good lighting where you can maintain good posture. If possible, de-clutter your space and keep what you need at hand.
- Create an organisational system for yourself. This might mean setting up folders on your computer for each topic, or colour coding some real-life folders. Keep notebooks at hand and make use of your diary and calendar to mark important dates.
- Like I said, I’ll have more detail about this next week, but in the meantime, if you want some extra tips, check out this recent post from Student News about how to up your work space.
- Dr Gareth Furber’s excellent Health and Wellbeing Blog. He’s keeping a Coronavirus diary, and in particular, I recommend checking out his Working from Home post.
#2: Embrace Online
Studying online is going to be the new normal for a little while, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge (even though it may feel that way at first). If we embrace the technological changes at hand, we can not only learn a range of important new skills, but ready ourselves for workplaces of the future.
- Familiarise yourself with how your topics will run from now on. Be sure to check your emails and FLO pages. In particular, spend some time reading through the Announcements and Discussion boards. Chances are that if you have a question, another student may as well and the answer may have already been provided.
- Get to know Collaborate and other online tools. Check out the student guide about how to use Collaborate if you’re unsure, and show up to your online tutorials ready to participate just as you would in a physical classroom. Engaging actively with your classes can go a long way to helping you you feel connected and motivated!
#3: Create a To-To List
Having small and manageable chunks of tasks to focus on a time can help not only with your organisation and time management, but can keep you focused and make things a little less stressful.
- Jump onto your topic FLO pages and work through the instructions that have been given to you. Try to turn these into small and manageable goals. Do you need to watch something? What times do you need to be online in your Collaborate rooms? You might choose to share your to do list on your topic’s FLO discussion board and ask everyone if you’ve missed something.
- Break up your day into a few study sessions of a few hours and write clear and specific goals for each. Your goal for one session might be to complete your weekly readings for a topic, or to do research for an essay. Once you’ve completed a task, tick it off. It’ll give you a real sense of satisfaction!
#4: Be Kind to Yourself
As we undergo this difficult transition – and deal with the world at large – it’s important to remember to be kind and patient to yourself and to those around you – your fellow students and teachers!
- Embrace patience. Yes, there might be some bumps and unexpected hiccups with technology and communication, but we can iron out the kinks in the system together if we act with empathy and acknowledge that everything may not go quite as smoothly as we hope in the first instance. Be patient and remember that everyone is working hard behind the scenes to make this transition as smooth as possible!
- Take a break from social media or the news when you need to. Too much of this kind of information can take a real toll on us mentally and physically. Remember to switch off and take care of yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
- Look after your physical and mental health. These things are easier said than done, and we’ll be talking about them a lot more in some future vlogs, but if you need some tips now, I again recommend Dr Gareth Furber’s Health and Wellbeing Blog. He’s an expert!
#5: Reach Out and Stay Connected – We Haven’t Gone Anywhere!
The university might have moved classes online, all of the support services that you are used to finding on campus still exist and everyone is working hard to make these as accessible for you as possible.
- You can access all of Flinders’ support services through the Flinders Support Network. Jump online and reach out if you need support.
- You can also still access study spaces on campus if you need somewhere to come with secure internet and some peace and quiet. Just be mindful of the safety of yourself and others and maintain distance and good hygiene practices while on campus.
- If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on, you can access news and updates from the university at the Coronavirus information page. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling and Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Clare Pollock have also recently provided some important updates about things like exams, parking, assessment, and fees. It might put some of your anxieties at ease to know all the ways the University is adapting to help support us all!
So remember everyone, try to get yourself set up and create a study space for yourself at home, embrace the challenges and learning opportunities of moving online, give yourself small and achievable goals, and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll get through this together, and in the meantime, the staff here at Flinders haven’t gone anywhere.
That’s all from me this week, but I’ll be back soon with tips about how to plan and get yourself organised. In the meantime, here’s my challenge to you all. Share photos or videos of your workspace. Give us a virtual tour! Where are you set up? Do you have any animal study buddies? Post your photos and videos so we can all see!
And share with us your tips for getting set up to study at home. What challenges have you faced, and what strategies have you found super useful? Comment below – let’s get a conversation happening! #LikeaBoss