Starting Virtual Classes? Here Are Some Tips to Get Prepared

share icon share icon icon calendar September 11, 2020

The idea of virtual classes is not new. Universities, primary schools, companies, and self-training courses often include online options. These remote resources can offer flexibility and deliver educational support to people who may not be in the same area or need to connect through online channels. 

With social distancing measures in place, many schools and universities are expanding to include fully-remote programs to replace traditional options. This approach helps to protect teachers, students, and their families members from any health risks. Plus, many learners are surprised to find that they can truly succeed in the right virtual school environment. 

No matter what path you choose, be it university classes, a self-paced course, or an online bootcamp program, being prepared is the first step towards a successful experience. This can set the tone for your attitude throughout your course and ensure you are ready to learn every day.   

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Take some time before your class starts to get ready, whether that means working on your appearance, mindset, or setting up a workspace. Taking the time to be fully prepared can help calm nerves, boost confidence, and get your mind sharp and ready to learn! 

Remote, online classroom settings – both live and asynchronous – are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to in-person sessions. For younger students who are still in primary or secondary school, this may be somewhat familiar. However, for some older learners, especially those who have not been in any classroom setting for quite some time, this may be entirely foreign. Setting aside some extra time before your course meets or sitting down to start working can help you feel more comfortable before your first day and every session after.

These tips can help you feel ready to go before getting started with a virtual school program or bootcamp. 

1) Ensure Your Equipment is Up to Date

cartoon showing students updating equipment

Online learning typically requires a secure internet connection and up-to-date equipment, including hardware and software and simple things like an email address and an internet browser. Since you rely on this technology, one of the first steps you should take is to test everything and make sure all your equipment is up-to-date. 

Regularly check your software and perform system updates and ensure you are running on the latest version of any programs. This practice will reduce the risk of any security weaknesses and may prevent interruptions while you are working. 

2) Come Prepared Every Day

cartoon showing students prepare for classes

Having a clean, organized, and well-stocked workspace is a big part of preparing for any type of working environment, virtual or in-person. Having pens, notepads, highlighters, and any other tools or study materials you’ll need to work smoothly can help you tackle every day with ease. Some learners find that using analog tools like pad and paper helps them retain information and take notes better. If you are better suited or prefer electronic or high-tech devices, set those up (and check to make sure you are using the newest software available) beforehand. 

Once you have all your supplies, the next step is preparing yourself mentally! Having a “can-do” attitude and clearing your headspace can help you come to class focused and ready to work. Since life is unpredictable and some days might be better than others, setting aside some time to practice mindfulness and clear your head can help you enter your learning session productive and engaged. 

3) Dress Accordingly

cartoon showing students in appropriate dress for virtual classes

Online learning can feel more casual than traditional in-person environments. Since we are in our own home, it can prompt many of us to consider wearing PJs or casual wear like sweatpants and hoodies to class, typically a professional setting. For younger students, the dress code implemented by your school during in-person classes will typically apply. However, for adult classes and college-level courses, what is considered acceptable may not be as clear. 

While it is vital to be comfortable, dressing for success can help you get into the right mindset. Looking polished and professional can help you leave a lasting impression on your teachers and other students. Picking out a learn-from-home outfit doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Avoid looking disheveled, or like you just rolled out of bed – and don’t forget to wear a complete outfit (pants are a must!)

Choose What Works for You

Of course, what everyone needs to succeed will vary. Before enrolling in an online course, be sure to look into what you will need and ensure this is viable for you. Many options have different pros and cons. Some, like accelerated bootcamps, may be more suitable for those with no experience who are hoping to enter the job market in less than a year.

At San Diego State University, we offer digital skills bootcamps for cybersecurity and software development. We provide in-depth courses led by industry-leading professionals available in virtual classroom settings with Q&A sessions, career services, and professional guidance every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how you can schedule a one-on-one with an admissions advisor! 

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