As Collarts and other schools across Australia have moved their lessons to the online space during the COVID-19 crisis, students are opening their laptops on the couch and downloading Zoom by the second. But it can be difficult to stay motivated and productive when you're studying from home, so we enacted the help of some of our stellar staff members —Dean of Collarts Professor Tim Moss, Academic Skills Manager Chris Sandoe, and Associate Dean Dr. Paul Doornbusch — for their best study tips while you're at home.
It can be easy to feel like you have to dedicate 100% of your time to study, but just as when you're on-campus, it's important to look away from the screen and take breaks. Academic Skills Manager Chris Sandoe says you should "take a few minutes for yourself every so often — grab a snack, play with your dog, or water the plants." It can help you maintain productivity through out what could otherwise be a monotonous day.
SET A STUDY ZONE
Another tip from Chris: set a "study zone". When you're at school, your brain clicks into school mode, but it can be hard to tap into that studious well when you're at home. While it doesn't have to be a stiff and proper desk (Chris says it can be any "seat, desk or couch"), make it your own space. Especially if you're living with family or housemates, "let others know that when you're here, you're in the 'zone', and you need space, quiet, or time".
With online studying comes a variety of softwares that you might not be familiar with. Dean of Collarts Professor Tim Moss advises every student to "get set up" and to make sure that Zoom is downloaded on your laptop or mobile device as most Collarts classes will use it. And don't forget to test it, Dr. Paul Doornbusch adds; the last thing you want to do is trying to get your microphone working one minute before your class starts.
USE COLLARTS RESOURCES
Speaking of online resources, we have heaps at Collarts — use them! Chris says online journals and systems, like JSTOR, LibGuides, or Studiosity, can be crucial to moving your studies along and researching for projects. He also points out that you can tune in for online Academic Support sessions, as well as organise wellbeing sessions with our Wellbeing Practitioners Anne Ligthart or Garrett Teters via Student Services.
Just because you're home doesn't mean you have to become a hermit, and in this particularly anxious time, it's good to reach out to your fellow students and friends. Dr. Paul Doornbusch points out you can use Zoom to have a group chat, or even jump on Campus Coordinator Brad Woodhead's CollartsMate giveaways. There are also heaps of new platforms where you can meet with your friends and classmates in innovative ways, rather than through a tried and true Zoom window.
While it's easy to feel disconnected from a distance, we at Collarts like to keep in touch with you regarding university-wide or course-specific updates. Professor Tim says our main contact is through your Collarts email, so "if you haven’t checked it in a while, it’s a good idea to log in now, and make it part of your daily study routine." And it's always good to know your way around the other Collarts systems, like MyCollarts and Canvas.
BREAK DOWN TASKS
If projects and exams are piling up, stay calm by breaking down the tasks on your radar and managing your priorities. Chris says that while it's great to have a positive attitude to studying, sometimes it can be counterproductive to just think "I'm going to study". Be specific, he suggests: "Think I'm going to study X for my exam Y" and you'll be done with your tasks in no time.