There’s no doubt about it, if you attend all your lectures and tutorials you’ll do better at Uni.
Online tutorials and lectures lay the foundations for a strong performance in your assessments. Just like building a house, if you scrimp on the foundations, the final product isn’t going to be as sturdy it could be.
But attending class is about more than assessments too. Everything you experience in your classes contributes to a well-rounded education.
We caught up with some La Trobe students to find out the benefits of attending classes online. Here are their eight reasons why you should commit to staying on top of your online classes this Semester.
1. You’ll gain a better understanding of the content
Actively engaging with the content you’re learning in class gives you a better chance of retaining that knowledge.
Master of Professional Accounting student Mohinesh Krishna Kangloo recommends actively participating in your tutorial sessions and sharing your opinions and ideas on the topic being discussed.
“It reinforces your understanding of the topic and helps you to clarify what’s still unclear or instances where you are going wrong or misunderstood the topic,” Mohinesh says.
He recommends preparing topics prior to joining your tutorial session to enable you to better particpate in class.
2. You can clarify any questions you have right away
There’s nothing worse than being roadblocked by a question for which you can’t find an answer. In a live lecture or tutorial, you may be able to ask for clarification on a topic and get any questions answered right away. That’s easier than ever now most classes have moved online.
“If you’re feeling shy, you have the option to use the chat function on Zoom and message the lecturer privately in order to get your queries resolved,” Mohinesh says.
3. You’ll be motivated to stay on track with your study
Bachelor of Commerce student Linh Vu suggests using your class timetable to keep you motivated to stay on track.
“Creating the habit of attending lectures and tutorials at the planned times really pushes you to study rather than relying on recordings,” Linh says.
“A lot of the time when students postpone their online studies, they tend to just skip the contents of that week because they can’t be bothered or due to other commitments, and before they realise it, they have already missed out on the workload of a couple of weeks. It is then really challenging to have to catch up and be in the best position for assessments.”
4. You’ll be able to apply theories you’ve learnt to real-life scenarios
Due to their smaller class sizes, tutorials are ideal for discussing ideas, theories and their practical applications with your classmates and tutors.
“In tutorials you have the opportunity to apply all the content covered during your lectures to case studies,” says Mohinesh.
“You’ll be able to work together to problem-solve, which informs how you’re expected to answer questions later on in assessments.”
5. You’ll remove any risk of missing out on something
It’s definitely not ideal, but sometimes things can go awry with technology, meaning recordings might glitch or recordings may begin late.
SHE College student Mel Holland emphasises the importance of attending online classes for students studying health-related topics.
“Some materials used relating to real life cases (in health-related subjects) may not be able to be recorded due to privacy – so you may not get the full benefit of having those examples,” she says.
6. You’ll build your digital literacy
Programs like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the bread and butter of organisations communicating online during the pandemic. The more you can get to know about these progams and how they work, the better. If you’re confident with using Zoom and other online tools to collaborate and communicate with peers, you’ll be in a great position for future opportunities, such as online job interviews.
7. You can make the most of your lecturer or tutor
La Trobe Academic and Language Skills Advisor Freya Dougan-Whaite says building a relationship with your lecturer can break down any initial hesitation and help you to feel more confident about emailing them later for help.
“Think about your future career opportunities and whether you would like to use a lecturer or tutor as a reference/mentor,” she says. “It really helps to have that existing relationship, which you can build by being an active participant in online lectures.”
Linh’s top tip is to ask your lecturer or tutor questions. “Whatever you are not sure about, don’t be afraid to bring it up,” she says. “You will find that they are very willing to help out because your performance matters to them as much as it matters to you.”
“If you are shy and do not want to turn on your audio, then no worries as there is a private chat function on Zoom for you to send private messages to the teacher,” she says. “The bottom line is try to make the most of your time in class to get your questions sorted out because if you decide to email them instead, chances are there might be delays in responses given the heaps of emails sent to the lecturer/tutor each day!”
Mohinesh adds that students should make use of the breakout rooms option on Zoom during the tutorial sessions when participants are split into smaller groups.
“This will further encourage discussion and motivate you to participate in class,” he says. “I’d also encourage you to make use of the chat option function available on Zoom and ask questions privately to the tutor. Alternatively, there is also the raise hand option function which you can use to notify the teachers that you have questions in relation to the subject matter.”
8. You can connect with peers
During your online tutorials in particular you’ll have the opportunity to meet peers in a similar situation to you, which can be very motivating, Freya says.
“They likely share the same hopes, fears and challenges with online study as you, and you can talk about it and feel less isolated in your study journey. It’s quite likely that your classmates would love to see your friendly face on Zoom and have a chat about life as an online student during COVID-19.”
Zoom isn’t just for participating in classes, even though that’s where your first meeting might take place. “Organise a coffee catch up with a classmate to discuss your subject and life as well,” Mohinesh says. “Alternatively, you can use other platforms such as Skype and WhatsApp amongst others to have a video conversation and stay more connected with your friends. You could try organising a Netflix party (the chrome plugin) on a timely manner in order to better maintain that social connection with their peers.”
Linh acknowledges it can be a little tricky to connect with others in online classes. “Just try your best to engage with your peers and be proactive in generating conversations during discussions,” she says.
“You may find someone whom you can collaborate with for group assignments, or just simply some like-minded friends!”