Remote Learning: Zoom, Teams, and screen time overload!

As we continue to work and learn remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have all reached our limit of sitting in front of a computer screen (or tablet or smart phone or however you are staying connected). Or is that just me?

Everyone is using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or some other platform to attend classes, meetings or connect with family and friends. And while it’s great that today’s technology allows us to work and learn from home, it can get exhausting. So how can we maintain some type of balance?

The Washington Post recently published an article titled “How college students can make the most of remote learning” that shares some tips for how to manage your Zoom time and find a routine that works for you.

  1. Find a daily schedule and a place that works best for you – Stanford University Academic Technology Specialist Jenae Cohn suggests building a schedule around accomplishing tasks, not just when the next Zoom lecture is happening. This includes taking some time to reflect on “your ideal universe” for finishing assignments and reflecting on how you learn. Create a daily schedule and stick with it. Having a structured day can help you feel “more in control” about your coursework. Find a room or place that can be dedicated to class and study time.
  2. Limit screen time if possible – Zoom fatigue is real. It is true that having your camera on for hours during the day can be draining and create a feeling of “people looking at us” (Thomas J. Tobin). And it can be hard to stay focused and engaged during a Zoom lecture regardless of your instructors brilliance and how much you are interested in the topic being discussed. Art Markman of University of Texas Austin suggests trying to engage in discussions and be an active participant. If the professor gives you the option of turning off your camera during a lecture, this might help you listen and take notes without feeling like you are under a microscope. In addition, take breaks between Zoom classes and lectures, research and working on assignments. In other words, get away from the screen!
  3. Socializing in and out of class needs to become more intentional – as we have all learned, there is not much opportunity for side conversations or socializing during Zoom meetings. Art Markman suggests connecting with classmates and friends via text or even AN ACUTAL PHONE CALL (gasp!) to stay in touch and find out how they are doing. Find out how fellow classmates are discussing the course and materials and engaging with each other outside of class.

Ultimately, as we continue to interact with co-workers, instructors, and classmates virtually, it’s important to make sure we are limiting the distractions that prevent us from completing tasks, meeting deadlines and staying engaged. If you have questions or need help with a class concept or problem, do not be afraid to reach out to your instructor!

It is also just as important for us to remember to step away from the screen, get some fresh air, exercise, and find a healthy balance! Stay healthy, wear your mask and keep washing your hands!!!

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