Effective Tips for Watching Online Lectures as a Student

Lectures in real life already could be difficult to remain concentrated, but this is even more the case for online lectures. However, almost all lectures are nowadays online due to the coronavirus. Therefore, I will give you some tips to stay concentrated and get less distracted while watching them:

Pretend like it is a real-life lecture
When the lecture is not live, pretend like you are watching the lectures in real life:

Prepare like you would normally do
If you do not prepare lectures, nothing would probably change. However,  if you normally do this, keep doing that. Read the textbooks or articles, go through the PowerPoint slices etc.
– Have your normal clothes on
Of course, those sweatpants feel nice, but they probably give you a lazy feeling. Therefore, wear your normal clothes to increase your productive feeling.
– Sit behind your desk / table
A bit the same as the previous tip. Normally, you would be behind a table in class, so do this at well from home. If you are in bed, this probably leads to less concentration.
– Do not push the pause button, or try to avoid this.
If you would not pay attention in real-life class, you would miss something. Try to do the same for online lectures, because this forces you to pay attention and therefore keep concentrated.

Avoid distractions as much as possible
Tell your housemates not to distract you, throw your phone on your bed and make your desk clean. When you easily get distracted from other websites when watching your lecture, you could use a blocker of these website.

Try to stick to the normal schedule 
When all the lectures are being recorded and put online, try to stick to the schedule of watching them when they were just given physically. For example, if the lecture would be every morning from 9.00 till 11.00, watch it every day at that time too. It is obviously tempting to procrastinate is as you can watch them whenever you want, but creating this ‘rule’ yourself will create a more structured routine.

Look at the speed 
This really depends on the lecturer and what works best for you. When a teacher talks slowly, it can be a solution to move up the speed to 1.5. Not only does this save quite some time, it is less boring and forces you to concentrate better to not miss things. In combination with ‘challenging’ yourself to not push the pause button and/or replaying something, will really improve your concentration.

My experiences
Online lectures was lectures was not a new thing for many universities, at least in the Netherlands. Most universities already recorded some/most of their lectures (depending on the course), so that students could watch them live or later. Although this could make students a bit lazy, it is also a good system, as you could (re)watch the lecture as a way of preparing for the (re)exam. And, of course, if you had a long night or it was raining, you could just watch it from home, which is quite ideal. Most of the time, I did go to lectures physically, but to be honest, the main reason for this was to meet up with my friends. So when the coronavirus began, it was not really a shock to watch all the lectures online. However, I did notice that it took me more effort to watch lectures for a longer period of time without losing concentration, as it was every day more of the same. Although I am (now) completely used to online lectures, it still can be difficult to remain concentrated. And of course, I miss being with my friends during lectures.

Download the free pdf guide on how to successfully studying from home during COVID-19.

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