Online Classes: Studying In A Pandemic

Remember all those Sci-Fi movies set in the distant future? The characters always portray the school of the future to be very different from today’s. I remember them having a personal robot tutor to teach them and dispense homework. Today, we are closer to that being a reality than ever before. COVID-19 has changed the way we attend classes and “go to school”. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic, an epidemic so massive that it has forced all of us indoors. Lectures and classes are being conducted fully online. So, how do we adapt to this new normal, and take advantage of our online classes?

Mr Ruel stands in front of a board brandishing "Online Classes"
Online classes are a new thing for all students around the world. We are all trying to adapt to this new normal.
Picture used with permission from Mr Ruel Tuition.

What Are Online Classes, Anyway?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone indoors for an extended period of time, including students. As a university student myself, I have experienced first-hand the sometimes complicated transition of physical classes to a virtual space.

But first, let’s define what online classes actually are. As the name suggests, online classes are basically a lecture or class that takes place online. This could be in the form of a forum, meeting, or video call where the instructor can broadcast slideshows to the entire class. Students would need decent Internet access and a gadget of some sort to attend these classes. Due to COVID-19, almost all classes have been moved online, from kindergarten classes, all the way to university lectures.

Online classes are usually carried out on these platforms:

My classes on Microsoft Teams.
My university holds classes on Microsoft Teams, as pictured above. One of the advantages of using this platform is that my university can automatically enrol me into my classes. I can access all my classes on one platform!

Dress To Impress

The beauty of online classes is that it completely eliminates travel time. In my experience, I don’t need to wake up early and drive to university. Now, the class comes to me. I just roll out of bed and log into class. This may lead to a decrease in productivity, because you are not forced to get into “study mode”. You may end up feeling lazy and not concentrating in class.

One way to combat this is to dress to impress. Wake up early, prepare your stationery and notebooks, and make yourself presentable. This will help set your mind and body in the right mood for classes. This is especially helpful if your teacher or lecturer requires you to show yourself to the class. You will give a good impression to your teacher because you look prepared and presentable. Get dressed, maybe sneak in a sandwich or some bubble tea, and start your classes right!

Stick To A Routine

"Routine, Routine, Routine", as advised by Mr Ruel when coping with online classes.
“Routine, Routine, Routine” should be the tagline in all our lives, as we adapt to our new normal.
Source: Mr Ruel Tuition on YouTube

All around the world, governments and policy makers have put in place certain guidelines to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Malaysia, the government has introduced the Movement Control Order (MCO), where certain restrictions against non-essential activities have been enforced. Despite the government reducing the restrictions recently, I have personally found it very hard to maintain a routine. Consequently, the different daily activities have blurred into one long, continuous exercise. Therefore, sticking to a routine, or creating a new one, can be very beneficial in these trying times.

But, I hear you ask, what should I put in my routine? I had to really think about my routine, because it seemed that quarantine provided me with infinite free time to do whatever I want. However, there are some key activities you can schedule time for.

You may want to consider…

  • Study Time (online classes, revision, extra reading)
  • Leisure (watch a movie, read a book)
  • Exercise (opt for simple home workouts)
  • Game Time (quarantine can be fun too!)
  • Self Care (take care of your mental health)
  • Other things that you’ve always wanted to do
Picture of a weekly planner, waiting to be filled.
Make a plan of your time in quarantine. Planning helps you organise your thoughts and actions, in a time where organisation is lacking in the world.
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash
All the books I read in quarantine.
This unique time in my life has given me the opportunity to read more books. These are the five books I read while isolating at home.

Teach Yourself What Online Classes Don’t

This whole pandemic experience has really revealed the generosity in some companies and businesses. This is particularly true in the education sector. Recently, many institutions and online education platforms have made their resources cheaper, or even free, for a limited period of time. This means that you can take a course from Harvard University, or learn a musical instrument from a professional musician, all for free! Also, your classes will all be from the comfort of your own home.

I have also jumped on the bandwagon. Recently, I’ve been studying up on creative writing on Skillshare. I have also dipped my toes in some free writing and science courses offered by Harvard University. Additionally, there are some science courses on edX and FutureLearn that I would like to explore. There are also many useful education channels on YouTube, such as Crash Course and Seeker, which break down complicated topics into bite-sized chunks.

Here in Malaysia, secondary school students sit for the SPM examination in their final year of school. Unfortunately, not long ago, the Malaysian government announced the cancellation and postponement of the SPM examination due to COVID-19. However, according to Mr Ruel Abbarow, the exams may be postponed but learning isn’t. Mr Ruel is an international school teacher who has a rapidly growing channel on YouTube called “Mr Ruel Tuition”. He provides concise explanations on complicated topics that SPM students might not be able to understand.

Mr Ruel’s Online Classes

Banner from Mr Ruel Tuition YouTube page brandishing his name and slogan.
“It’s always time to learn” with Mr Ruel’s YouTube channel.
Picture used with permission from Mr Ruel Tuition.

One day, I was scrolling through Instagram as per usual, and I stumbled across a post from a teacher I once knew. Mr Ruel was announcing the start of his brand new YouTube channel. Almost two months later, Mr Ruel’s YouTube channel boasts many educational videos with colourful thumbnails, all attempting to educate students about complex scientific and mathematical concepts. Even while preparing this article, I found myself caught up in his easy-going demeanour and the ingenious way in which he explains certain theories.

Underneath the banner brandishing his name and the slogan “It’s always time to learn”, Mr Ruel brings students (and former students like me) down a journey. Armed with his graphics and a laser pointer, he finds a way to not only simplify Kepler’s Law and the electrochemical series, but to make it relatable to real life as well. As a former student, I found myself immersed in his fascinating videos, exploring topics which I had long left back in secondary school. Mr Ruel makes learning fun, and what more could we ask from this pandemic than that.

Mr Ruel explaining Kepler's Law on one of his online classes with the help of some graphics.
With only a few simple drawings, Mr Ruel breaks down difficult topics and makes them easier to understand. This photo shows him explaining Kepler’s Law, which deals with planetary motion!
Source: Mr Ruel Tuition

The Next Step To Success

If you are an SPM or IGCSE student or teacher, do subscribe to Mr Ruel Tuition on YouTube. We all could use some extra help once in a while. Now, you can learn more from the comfort of your own home! See you there!

Here’s Mr Ruel telling us one selfish reason to continue studying in lockdown. Remember, exams are cancelled, but studying isn’t!
Source: Mr Ruel Tuition

If you are stuck at home and miss the outdoors, why not check out these articles.

  1. Hidden Gems Of Malaysia (Part 1): A Lake For The Everyday Adventurer
  2. Glamping 101: The New Trend In Holiday-Making
Derrick PANG

About Derrick PANG

English language major with a love for teaching and a seasoned volunteer with NGOs, Derrick is a familiar face in teaching English and live skills to underprivileged communities around the world.

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