COVID-19: How to get the most out of online learning

It has been over two months now since The University of Manchester announced that all teaching would be moved online for the remainder of the academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the University later announcing on the 11th May that all lectures during semester one of the next academic year would also be done solely online, thousands of students across the country have begun to adjust to this new way of learning.

Charlotte Alcock is a 1st year Speech and Language therapy student who has had to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on her learning since the middle of March. Below, she offers some tips and guidance to current and future students who may be worried about the prospect of online learning in September…


Although I am hopeful that by September we will be back on campus for seminars and tutorials, it seems like our lectures will be online for a while to come. I have put together the following tips on what has helped me so far when it has come to online learning, and I hope they can be useful to you too:

  • Have a learning space –  It’s nice to stay in your PJ’s some days (though maybe not for uni video calls!) but trying to do your work in bed doesn’t really work. If you have a specific room you can go to work in or even just a desk it is much better for getting into your studying head space.
  • Stick to the schedule, if you can – It’s definitely better to listen to the lecture when it is timetabled if you can. You think you will do it later that day but inevitably something else comes up, you get to the end of the week and you have to spend 10 straight hours in one day catching up and nothing really goes in. That being said, one of the nice things about online is that if you work best first thing in the morning or last thing at night then you aren’t tied down by uni timetables and you can learn when it suits you.


  • Join in with the conversation – It can feel a bit lonely listening to lectures and doing work by yourself. So if there is a video call for any part of the learning then it’s really good to join in. Even if you don’t want to say anything it’s nice to hear everyone’s voices and see their faces. Quite often the questions and worries I’ve had have been having have been mentioned by other students too which is reassuring.
  • Stay social – I have missed seeing my friends from the course. We didn’t really get chance to say bye to each other as the move online happened so quickly and we aren’t sure when we will actually meet up properly again. But we have a WhatsApp group where we chat and help each other out with study problems which has been really useful for me.


The latest government advice on coronavirus

To read more from our students about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their studies click here

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