So You've Shifted to Remote Learning. What Now?

Get up and move, rest your eyes, set an ending time for schoolwork, and seven more tips for making the most of this semester.

April 3, 2020

Like many colleges and universities, Berklee has transitioned to a remote learning model for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. While students are adapting to the technological and time-management aspects of learning from home (or at least off campus), these new methods bring with them unique challenges.

In partnership with Eric Cornell, assistant professor of theater at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the staff of Berklee’s Student Wellness Promotion and Services office shares these tips for maintaining wellness while learning and working remotely. 

1. Get showered and dressed before classes begin.

A 2012 study led by researchers from Northwestern University showed that what people are wearing can affect their attentiveness.

2. Create a comfortable workspace.

This could include ensuring you are using an ergonomically correct chair and maintaining good posture

3. Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode when you're in class.

You can also set social media timers for the hours you are attending a remote class. This will help you to stay focused and put less stress on your brain to multitask.

4. Take brief camera breaks during class.

It’s easy to feel like you’re being watched all the time on Zoom or other virtual class platforms. Feel free to take a moment to stretch or close your eyes and breathe during class. It’s okay to take your face out of the camera for a moment. Your faculty members will understand.

5. Separate your “work” area from your “play” and “relaxation” areas.

The Harvard Business Review Guide to Being More Productive mentions that “unless you are careful to maintain boundaries, you may start to feel like you’re always at work and losing a place to come home to.”

6. Give your eyes a rest.

You may be spending more time in front of a computer screen than you are used to, which can lead to eye strain. Try wearing blue-light-blocking glasses, or try out some exercises that can help limit eyestrain. Also make sure to build in time after class hours for activities that do not involve screens. 

7. Get up and move for several minutes between your remote classes. 

This could include walking or jogging in place, jumping jacks, dancing, doing seated arm movements, or other movements. Think about it as “moving” from one class to another, but be sure to leave enough time to get logged on for your next class. Here are six quick exercises to try.

8.Meditate at your desk between classes.

Meditation can help lower stress, improve focus, reduce brain chatter, and more.

9. Stretch it out.

Sitting in the same position can lead to stiffness and repetitive-use injuries. Try some stretches you can do in your chair or standing up, or check out some free online yoga classes for stretching. Some classes are as short as nine minutes—perfect for a quick break. 

10. Set a time for when schoolwork begins and ends each day, and stick to it.

For our mental and emotional wellbeing, it is important to feel like we can “turn off” work each day. After your schoolwork is done, transition to an activity that helps you unwind. But remember: you have been looking at screens all day, so resist the temptation to immediately reach for your phone or other electronic device.

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