By Nafisat Adebusola Ogunsesan

As the University of Ibadan prepares to commence its first virtual classes for her undergraduate students on the 22nd day of February 2021, it is appropriate for the students to also equip themselves with sufficient information and tips to make their virtual class experience pleasurable and remarkable.

Virtual classes make it feasible for you to learn comfortably, earn as well and even gives you a flexible schedule. Nonetheless, it can present different challenges as it expects you to have some specific skills for a successful experience. That’s why the below tips must be read by every student as we welcome the virtual classes. 

  • Figure YOURSELF out: It is declared that a new experience comes with a new you. In that light, set aside an hour or two today to make personal researches about virtual classes and how best you can prepare for them. Find out the best way for you to maximise learning during online lectures. Do you need snacks to keep you alert or some background music? Find that out! Would you record the lecture and watch later or make some jottings during the lecturers? Discover that! Do you prefer printing the documents or you are okay with the soft copies? Find that out too. So, prepare yourself earlier and know how best you can handle virtual lectures. 
  • Have the right attitude: It is quite saddening to know that some students already think that the virtual classes are bound to fail as they presume the institution lacks the capabilities to successfully run virtual classes. Just as the conventional aphorism ‘As a man thinketh, so is he’, if you think it is not conceivable, then having a successful virtual class experience is already a failure. If you are also anxious or nervous, it’s fine as long as you have the right attitude to learning. So, as you begin your virtual class experience, be open-minded, have great expectations, get your resources ready and be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. 
  • See virtual classes as very identical to physical classes: It is a must for you to exhibit the same values as you do for physical classes. Do not miss classes because you are not being pressured or because you don’t have to be physically present. Make sure you are physically, mentally and intellectually attending the virtual classes and not by making your name visible for the sake of attendance.  Also, participate in the lectures, ask questions and join every discussion being made. Set goals for this semester and review it at the end of each week to stay in charge of your academic success. Lastly, engage in virtual class interaction, tutorials and discussion groups as you do for physical classes. 
  • Engage in Time Management to avoid distractions: There is no gainsaying the fact that there would be a lot of distractions for us all as we engage in virtual classes as most of us will be at home or have side hustles. But, the good news is that they are surmountable with effective time management. If you have a plan already, that’s great. If you don’t, make a plan now about how this virtual semester will be used. Take note of the time for your classes, your assignments and presentations. Have a reading timetable too to give room for your other commitments and be disciplined enough to follow through. Furthermore, have an organized study space that will motivate you and keep you on track. Be sure to know that engaging in other social media activities like chatting or watching a movie while you are in a virtual class will only put you at a disadvantage. This is the time to put your discipline at work. Get ready!
  • Learn the essential skills: It would be wonderful for you to learn some basic computer skills: know how to operate a computer or a smartphone as the case may be with regards to virtual learning. Be familiar with the benefits of interactive features during lectures such as muting your audio and video buttons when not needed, chat sessions and video conferencing for you to get the most from the classes. Also, learn more about email culture and how to send an email. Similarly, be cognizant of how to use the Ms-word, Ms-excel and other toolboxes effectively. Likewise, be knowledgeable about communication skills during classes. Lastly, ask questions if you don’t understand and also share your knowledge with others. 
  • Just like the physical classes, don’t limit your learning resources: To reiterate the general fact, academic success is more than attending the classes, reading the textbooks and recommended materials. It involves you to be innovative, inquisitive and do the extra work. Learn online, gather more information, do researches, engage in virtual study groups, teach your friends and widen your resources. For the virtual semester, be limitless.
  • Optimise your Internet Connectivity: For any successful virtual class, good internet connection is the most important factor. Without it, all other factors and even your readiness may have a sad ending. It is hence important for you to have sufficient data to have a hitch-free virtual learning experience. If you have the option of being connected to a router, that’s great. Remember, your speed will determine the quality of your video and audio. Moreover, stay on alert during classes because you may be disconnected as a result of bad connection and you have to login again. As we all know how costly being online is, please, choose an affordable TELCO (Telecommunications Company) and a convenient data plan. Lastly, you can make use of the data saver option on your smartphones. 
  • Lastly, have fun and avoid stress: It’s vital for you not to overburden yourself with the stress that comes with virtual classes and in the process lose your enthusiasm. If you miss a class as a result of bad internet connection, talk to your classmates to update you on what you have missed. You might be lucky to get a recording of that class. So, remember to check up on your classmates, interact with them and have the same relationship just like in a physical class. You may need them at any point to come to your rescue. Have other productive activities to engage in as you learn online to cure boredom and passivity. 
  • In conclusion, to our lecturers, please be informed that the virtual classes need you to be more innovative and interactive. We also hope that you will be available to render any help to the students as we learn virtually. Some days ago, a friend complained to me that their lecturer gave them ten (10) minutes to submit a quick test during virtual class while he ignored the fact that poor internet connectivity could pose a threat. So, only a few students submitted on time and others failed the test as he refused to accept theirs because they submitted five (5) minutes later than the deadline. We, therefore, implore that we are provided with sufficient deadlines to submit test, assignment and presentation. I pray that our requests are granted and I wish us all an outstanding virtual semester. 

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