by Krista Nadeau
Computer screens seem to dominate our lives these days. Technology was prevalent for many prior to COVID, but if not, chances are there has been a newfound reliance on it. That is, if you’re lucky enough. Estimates report more than nine million people across the nation do not have access to a computer and internet services, which makes it nearly impossible to complete assignments.
Even for those with a computer and access, connection is not a guarantee. In addition, when schools first went to remote learning there were issues keeping classrooms safe and secure. With millions of people connected to the internet, it allowed “bad actors” the ability to infiltrate the Zoom app. Reports of racist and pornographic material being displayed as content was reported in Maine and across the nation.
Zoom addressed the issue by “rolling out a new security button that is easy to see and gives meeting hosts more immediate access to tools they need, ” according to PCMag. Zoom originally had security features that could be enabled to enhance security, but with first time users many were not aware of them. The security button allows access to various tools to protect participants.
With security issues now addressed, the question that needs answering is how to become a good online learner. It isn’t as easy as one might think. The pros and cons of online learning focus around how certain skills are handled, but for many students juggling multiple responsibilities in addition to learning remotely, feeling overwhelmed appears universal.
A quick internet search will reveal tips to help with time management— an elusive skill for many—but worthy of effort. Time management skills help in the classroom, whether it be in person or online, but more importantly, it is a life skill worth having.
For the online learner, possessing adequate time management skills will provide more flexibility and free time because assignments can be done quickly. It works the other way but with different results for those who lack time management skills and structure— assignments may be missing causing one to fall behind.
Onlinecollege.org spells out in black and white what the traits of successful online learners are:
- A key to being successful in anything is to keep your eyes on your goals—remember your why to maintain motivation.
- Be interested in learning, and in this online learning world, that means more than just the class you are taking. Be interested in learning new technologies, be open to learning new ways to communicate, and be ready to exercise problem-solving skills—be interested in learning.
- Exercise flexibility skills. According to onlinecollege.org, “Higher education is going through a lot of changes and online programs are no exception.” Online learning can include frustrating technology issues— “a positive approach will go a long way.”
- Ask for help. This sounds easy but can be challenging for some. Learn to speak up for yourself and ask questions. Keep the lines of communication open. Reach out to an instructor or classmates if questions or need clarification.
- Be persistent. Psychologically speaking, “persistence refers to perseverance in spite of fatigue or frustration.” Some classes may pose more challenges than others. Tap into your network, those who can help if you are feeling too weighed down.
- Be open-minded and respectful in the online environment. Just as in person classes allow for diversity, face-to-face Zoom classes offer the same opportunities. Perspectives that differ from yours allow growth—be open to that and be respectful.
- Two heavy-hitter character traits for successful online learning are self-direction and self-efficiency. No better time than right now to begin learning these skills, these skills are useful beyond the classroom.
Time management is key, it escapes many, ironically, because life is too busy, but it is one worth mastering. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, they say.