Download the free pdf guide on how to successfully studying from home during COVID-19.
The never-ending online meetings with other students. Depending on your course, but it could be the case for you that this is a daily thing. Although it could be more fun than studying online in your room alone all day long, it still leads to more complications than real-life meetings. Therefore, I will give you some tips from my own experiences.
Meet at the same time as a routine
At the beginning of the course, talk with your groupmates about the following weeks. If you have a big project and/or paper to do, try to make the arrangement to meet every day (or how often is needed) at the same time. This routine gives structure and (hopefully) avoids people who do not show up. It also saves time in agreeing every time about what moment you are going to meet up the next time.
Talk in the beginning of the meeting about today’s tasks
Write down the tasks of that day and week and talk every time at the beginning of the meeting what has to be done. This will increase productivity and motivation; everyone knows what he or she has to do and when he or she will be finished.
Give each other feedback
Feedback can feel awkward and forced, but it is actually a great way of improving your group work. Tell each other once in a while what is going well and what could go better. Do this in the most positive way possible; always start with a positive note, and then talk about possible improvements.
Motivate each other
Especially when meeting online, it can be difficult to actually start to work and to remain concentrated for a longer period of time. This makes it more important to motivate each other. If one person or some people start to complain about wanting to quit working, this demotivates others as well. So, if you notice that people get less motivated, you could say things like ‘come on, let’s work for a bit longer for a good grade and have a break in 20 minutes or so’.
Make clear appointments and write them down
This may seem obvious, but it is crucial, especially if you are working in a large group. When meetings are online, it happens faster that someone misses an appointment or task that he or she has to do. Therefore, it is useful to write everything down as a group to-do list.
Each person in the group having a role with specific tasks gives more structure during working on your project and meetings. These are a few examples of roles:
This person makes a planning/to-do list for the whole groups, so that everyone knows what the tasks are. It is also important that the chairman motivates the others.
Makes notes during meeting with teacher and each other.
Contact with teacher / mails (this could also be done by a separate person, the so-called ‘contact person’)
Someone who keeps an eye on the deadlines and warns the others
It can feel overwhelming when you have a lot of deadlines for a course and you can easily forget one. Therefore it can be useful to have one person that has a good overview of all the deadlines and warns the others about them.
The final check person
This person makes sure that in the end everything is ready to be handed in. For example if your group has to write a paper, this person reads everything at the end, makes small corrections concerning the grammar and spelling. This person can hand it in, or a separate person could take this task.
When the course itself only has one deadline at the end of the course, it is also a good tip to make smaller deadlines as a group itself, especially if it is a large project. For example, every Monday you could take to each other about what you would like to have finished by Friday. This gives motivation for the whole group to work harder towards a smaller goal.
Be (extra) careful in interrupting another
What I experienced is that because you are not face to face with your fellow students, interrupting each other becomes more common. To be honest, if I do not really pay attention to it, I do it quite often, which is definitely not good.
Evaluate at the end of every (or most) meetings
This does not have to be very elaborated, just a quick evaluation of you accomplished, what went well and what could be improved the next time (see feedback!).
And last but not least;
If your WIFI does not work properly, say it
This may be obvious, but sometimes people (guilty) do find it awkward or just do not mention it, but just do it (and try to fix it haha).