You will access your online learning through Unilearn. This is the umbrella term for the integrated system which supports USW learning and teaching activities through technology. FAQs and guidance on Blackboard, Turnitin and Blackboard Collaborate are available on the IT Services website.
Studying at home and maintaining concentration over time can be difficult, but there are things you can do to help you stay focused:
Create a study area
Try to create an area where you can study with minimal distraction. If you are living with others, try to agree a set time that the space is yours alone. Keeping your study space clean, tidy and comfortable will make for a calmer environment and enable you to focus on your studies.
Manage your time
Divide your work into manageable time slots and take proper breaks. Recognise that different tasks require different levels of concentration. Watching a video can be easier than reading a complex text and taking notes.
Have a virtual study session with friends
A virtual Pomodoro study session with your friends may help deepen your understanding of a subject. Pomodoro sessions, based on the Pomodoro Technique, prioritise working for 25 minute bursts with five-minute breaks in between. Use your preferred video-calling app; when the 25-minute study session begins, work “together” silently. When your five-minute break begins, take the time to chat together until the next study session starts.
You may find that you have good days where you’re highly motivated to get through work and bad days where your motivation is nowhere to be found. When work seems impossible, prioritise what you must get done that day - get through high priority tasks, and then let yourself have some time off.
Have a daily routine
Having a daily routine can help reduce stress levels. It can help us to cope with change, to form healthy habits, and aid our mental health. Coping with unpredictable periods of time can feel more doable when we have a little structure in place.
Schedule time for relaxing
Taking a break from studying gives your mind a chance to digest the information it’s been processing. Choose a healthy reward like going for a walk, practice mindfulness, bake your favourite recipe, or check in with friends.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up for not getting through your entire to-do list! It’s okay to expect less from yourself right now.
Try to manage your time as best you can, keep studying, engaging with your lecturers, and doing as well as possible in your assessments. We don’t want you to be worrying that you’ll end up with a lower result because the Coronavirus situation has disrupted your home life.
The University will look to see how we can best support you and mitigate any unnecessary effects to your studies. If you need to, you can also apply for extenuating circumstances – the Advice Zone can help you with this.
You may not have the perfect workplace or equipment for studying at home. If you can, try and use a supportive chair as opposed to sitting on the sofa, or in your bedroom. If that's not possible, consider using a stand-up desk. Get up regularly (every 25 minutes) to stretch.
Watch the following video for advice on home studying laptop ergonomics - basic tips, to minimise aches, pains and injury whilst studying from home.
When listening to or watching an online lecture, it’s a good idea to continue to take notes as you would in class. Do the relevant reading beforehand and ask questions if there is anything you aren’t sure about.
Ensure you log onto Blackboard regularly, to see the most up-to-date information that has been posted by your Faculties.
It's important you check your USW email account regularly as it is the primary official communications tool the University will use to contact you.
When you take part in online learning, it is important to remember to use language and behaviour that are appropriate and accessible. We often refer to this as ‘Netiquette’. The following guidelines have been designed to help you get the best from online communication for learning and teaching whether that is in real time, using tools like Blackboard Collaborate, or asynchronously (self-paced) using discussion boards, blogs or lecture recordings for example.