As NCI students moved to online classes almost one year ago, it’s time to check in to see if you’re engaging with the learning material, seeking support and advice when you need it and motivated to study independently.
Faye McGinley, Student Engagement and Retention Officer at NCI, supports students throughout their college journey, whether swiping their student card in the Kelly Theatre or joining an online class on MS Teams. Her goal is to see students succeed in their academic studies by ensuring you engage in lectures, keep up with your assignments and attend your classes.
If you’re an NCI student, Faye will reach out to you from time-to-time to make sure that you are getting the support you need, whether that’s tips for academic writing, learning techniques or to make you aware of the support services available to you such as the Library Help Centre, Getting to Grips and the Computing Support Service. To help you achieve your potential while learning remotely, Faye has put together some tips to make sure that you’re getting the most from your online classes.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Attend classes as scheduled
Unsurprisingly, many research studies have found that students who have strong class attendance are more likely to pass and succeed in their exams and assignments. Although COVID-19 has significantly changed the college experience, it shouldn’t stop you from joining your online lectures when they are actually happening. While online classes will generally be recorded, watching them back is not a substitute for logging into your learning events when timetabled, they are simply available to you as a study resource.
You will thank yourself for going to your scheduled classes as they offer you the opportunity to engage with your classmates, get help with assignments, hear advice from lecturers and ultimately, will give you the best chance of understanding a subject.
2. Actively participate in class
Use your class time wisely! Take the maximum value from live interactions with your classmates and lecturers by getting involved in discussions and asking for help or clarification when needed.
Don’t wait until an assignment is due or you feel overwhelmed by the workload to speak up. Your lecturers want you to get the most from your classes and to ensure you understand what they are teaching so check in with them and raise your hand on MS Teams when something isn’t clicking with you.
3. Take notes during class
Actively learning by writing notes as your class takes place will help you engage with the study material and get more value from your class time. When the time comes to revise for your exams or prepare assignments, your note taking in-class will pay dividends as your memory will be aided by this earlier work.
4. Have a dedicated study space
We understand that your home may not be entirely suitable to daily study but carving out a consistent study space in your house can help you focus better, avoid procrastination and be more productive.
Try to set yourself up in a spot that gets some natural light, keep your desk neat and tidy, add a small house plant which can boost your mood and maybe even go as far as personalising it with some motivation quotes, photos.
While we recommend using the online learning resources as much as possible during Level 5 restrictions, you can access study spaces in the College if you’re unable to create a dedicated study space and the campus is within 5km of your home. Visit NCI Library’s Remote Learning Guide for information on booking an on-campus study desk.
5. Ask for help when you need it
If you’re an NCI student, you’ll know that we are big on offering support services. This stretches beyond academic and learning support into the areas of health, wellness, counselling, career, IT and international. These services are all still available while you study remotely, and we would encourage you to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
Visit our student toolkit for a full list of these services or get in touch with the Students’ Union and they will be able to guide you further.
6. Find ways to stay motivated
Lockdown fatigue has contributed to higher levels of tiredness, lack of focus and a loss of motivation. So, how do you break this cycle to make sure you’re getting the most from your online lectures and classes? Here are some ideas:
- Start with sleep: Get your sleep routine back into shape by setting your alarm every morning. If you don’t have a live class at 9am, aim to be at your desk at that time anyway to work on your assignments and other commitments
- Get some fresh air: Now that we’re getting some lovely pockets of sunshine, make the most of it and get out for a daily walk in your local park, take a longer route to the shop or being your pet for a walk. If you haven’t been doing this already, it will make a BIG difference to your motivation levels
- Connect with your classmates: We’re almost a year into lockdown at this stage so be honest with your classmates when you’re struggling and ask them what has worked well for them when they found that their motivation levels were weaning
- Start a new hobby: Step away from the laptop outside of class time and indulge in some ‘me’ time. Whether that’s reading a book, baking, arts and crafts or something as random as lock picking, learning something new will help your mind grow and give you some perspective. Remember you can join a number of clubs and societies during your time at NCI from dance to photography and everything in between which are all running online activities and meet-ups.
- Create a mood board: We love this idea! Your mood board could include your future plans, whether that includes travelling or career aspirations, or something as simple as memes that make your smile.
7. Don’t lose sight of the reasons why you are in college
When you move through your day-to-day studies, you can easily forget about your long-term objectives. Going to college isn’t just a tick the box exercise, it’s a time of personal growth and development that will shape your future. You’re not just joining lectures to make sure your attendance is strong, you’re there to learn, progress and get ready for employment.
Remember that NCI’s graduate employment rate has consistently reached 96% and above in recent years meaning that the hard work you put in now will reward you with success in the future.
If you’re struggling with your studies at the moment and you’re worried about continuing your course at NCI, please get in touch with our Student Engagement and Retention Officer Faye McGinley and she will be able to guide you towards a solution that works for you.
Remember that you can access a range of useful Student Support resources on Moodle also.