Imperial student learning online

Learning online is different to being in a lecture theatre or classroom. It is generally far more flexible and you may have greater choice over when and where you study. The transition to online learning may be challenging as it is new to many staff and students, so having the correct learning approach is vital to get the most out of your online study.

Follow the advice below to make sure that you approach your online learning in the most appropriate way:

Be open to new experiences

Online study and training is now commonplace, so it is a good idea to use this period as an opportunity to hone your skills in online learning. It is best to not approach your online learning with a closed mind, but instead go in with a positive attitude and with the hope of finding new and interesting methods of learning.

Have patience

All teachers are developing new methods of teaching in a very short space of time. Things may not always go totally smoothly and both your teachers and fellow students will appreciate your patience and understanding that this is a learning process for all.

Engage with the course

Moving your teaching online does not mean that your classes have suddenly become easier and that you can afford to pay less attention. Your online classes will have the same academic intensity as face-to-face classes, so make sure that you have the discipline to give each session your full attention and complete any work you have been asked to do. Although you may have more flexibility in choosing when to complete your work, you will have to do it at some point and cannot put it off forever. You should attend all your classes and treat your online learning seriously if you are going to get real value out of it.

Actively participate

Participating in your course's online forum will help you to gain a better grasp of your course materials and to engage with coursemates on certain topics. This could involve commenting on another student's work or posting a question about something you are working on or having trouble with. Read what other students and your teacher are posting, and if you have a question, just ask for clarification.

Make sure you are keeping up with any relevant discussion threads as often as you can and if you do feel yourself falling behind, be proactive in asking for help.

Be disciplined

Set yourself goals and try to assess your progress towards these goals on a regular basis. In a face-to-face classroom setting, you will often receive verbal or visual reminders of the deadlines for any outstanding work. But without something to actively remind you, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have allotted enough time to complete each task. You may wish to pair up with a fellow classmate to try and ensure that you are both accountable for your assignments. Visit our time management page for some top tips on how to work in a disciplined manner.

Visit our page on Using Lecture Recordings for advice on how to get the most out of watching lectures back in your own time.

Online learning tips

Students, alumni and staff from the Department of Life Sciences give their advice on learning online