TULANE LAW SCHOOL

Staying Focused on Remote Learning in a Time of Social Distancing

Even before social distancing requirements pushed most courses online, you were using remote learning to earn a TitleIX certificate from Tulane University Law School. Even if you’re already comfortable with online education, the pandemic presents new challenges. Increased stress, kids unable to go to school, and uncertainty about the future all create distractions. 

These five tactics will help you stay focused on remote learning in a time of social distancing. If you’re both a learner and a teacher, you might want to pass some of these tips on to your students.

1. Plan a remote learning routine

You know how important schedules and plans are for students. They can help you too. Create a study plan for yourself and stick to it. Stress and changing circumstances may tempt you to let your schedule lapse. However, routines can provide a sense of normalcy and structure amidst uncertainty. Try to set aside specific times to study so you don’t fall behind.

Having a schedule doesn’t just keep you on task, it also helps prevent burn-out. With nowhere to go and your certificate work available at the click of a button, you might find yourself working at all hours of the day (and night) if you don’t have a schedule. All that extra work might seem like a good thing at first, but it’s not a sustainable strategy. Schedules help avoid the overwork that leads to burn-out. 

2. Get your house in order

Everyone is talking about social distancing, but you’ve never felt more surrounded. Young children without daycare, kids studying from home, and partners working remotely can create new demands on your time and energy. If you want to focus and study, you’ll need to set some ground rules. Have a family meeting and set quiet hours for study and work. Make sure everyone in the house knows the schedule and commits to keeping it. Peer pressure will help you all stick to your routine.

If you have young children in the house, be realistic about how much quiet time you can expect from them. Try to work before they get up in the morning or after they go to bed at night. If you have two (or more) adults in the home, rotate childcare duties so you can each get some work done. If you’re on your own, prepare a series of activities children can do with minimal input from you. Coloring and drawing, playing with quiet toys like dolls or blocks, looking at picture books, making puzzles, or using learning apps are all good options. When the child loses interest in one, have the next ready to go.

3. Keep your technology healthy

Your computer and internet access are essential tools for remote learning. Keep them working well by making sure you’re doing all updates.If you’re running Windows 10, it offers you choices about how to get the latest updates that keep your device running smoothly and securely. To check that you’re up-to-date, select the Start  button, and then go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. If you’re using a Mac, you can follow these steps from Apple support to update your system and make sure your Mac is set to automatically install updates. It might seem like an unnecessary distraction when your system demands to restart for a security update, but those five minutes can save you hours spent repairing a compromised system.

Don’t add to your stress by struggling with technology issues. If you’re taking one of our online certificates and have trouble with the course platform, look under the Help section in the left-hand navigation pane to see options for support. If you decide you need help with your hardware or software support overall, local computer businesses often can help; many have the ability to troubleshoot issues over the phone or use remote access software. 

4. Manage your stress about COVID-19

Learning something new always presents challenges. Layer the uncertainty of a global pandemic onto that, and stress can build quickly. Don’t try to pretend that everything is normal. We all know it isn’t. Instead, treat yourself with the same kindness you’d show to a new student undergoing a difficult transition. 

Take breaks when you need to. Look for small pleasures you can enjoy: 

  • Read a book. 
  • Color with your kids.
  • Meditate or journal.
  • Play a game.
  • Call a friend.
  • Do some yoga. 

Businesses, artists, entertainers, and even art museums are offering online content to help you destress and stay connected. You’ll almost certainly find something of interest if you look.

5. Connect with other learners and educators

Social distance. Isolation. Quarantine. These words evoke loneliness. They imply that whatever you are facing, must be faced alone. That simply isn’t true. Now, more than ever, you should make an effort to reach out to instructors and classmates. Strong interpersonal connections can help you tackle difficult assignments and avoid getting discouraged. Use social media, email, course tools, and video conferencing to ask for help. 

Your fellow educators and learners are all facing the same challenges you are. There’s no need to suffer alone. Reach out and stay connected. 

Keep your learning goals in mind

COVID-19 may feel all-encompassing right now, but remember that this too shall pass. When students go back to regular classes and sports teams, they’ll need Title IX experts to protect their rights. You started working toward your Title IX certificate to support those students and your organization. Keep that end goal in mind. It will help you stay focused in uncertain times.