Making studying easier during remote learning

Among the services the library normally provides are scheduled group study rooms and quiet space away from family and domestic responsibilities. With students under stay-at-home orders and the current closure of the Hamersly Library building, we’ve put together some ideas to help you with these study needs:

White Noise | Virtual Study Groups | Physical Spaces | Boundaries | Communication

Use white noise 

While some people like to study with music, others find it a further distraction. You might be better off with a steady backdrop of indistinct sound that masks disruptive noise in your environment.  Listen to white noise through earphones for further “distance.” 

If your internet is already struggling with other household activity, opt for downloaded files rather than adding to your streaming load. 

Search your smartphone’s app store for white noise. 

Free downloadable nature sounds

Rainy Mood website and app

Make your study group virtual

Asynchronous classes might be leaving you floundering with no time structure. Assemble a study group and schedule regular meeting times. If your virtual meetings are done with video, it can be motivating to see others working hard when you feel yourself flagging.

Google Meet is integrated into WOU’s G Suite, so you can easily create a virtual meeting from your Email or Google Calendar. The grid view plugin allows a grid layout similar to Zoom’s for seeing everyone in your group at the same time.

If you prefer Zoom or need specific functionality available only in Zoom, you can fill out this form to request a WOU Zoom account.

If you aren’t a fan of video meetings, try setting up virtual “sprints,” where everyone in your group focuses on getting work done for the same 15-minute chunk of time. You can use a cell phone, kitchen timer, or browser extension like Strict Workflow to track how long you need to focus for.

Make a physical space

If you have the space to use a different room, or some other physical reminder that you are working, this can help others in your life realize not to interrupt. 

Even if you’re living in a small place where there isn’t a whole room you can claim, using props like headphones or even a piece of paper taped to your laptop that says “STUDYING” can help.

Establish boundaries with family members–and yourself– ahead of time

Trying to focus in a busy house or apartment with other members of your family can be frustrating, to say the least. 

If you live with family members your own age or older, try to set expectations clearly before you start taking your online/remote class. Letting people know that you need twenty minutes to yourself to concentrate before you start can be more effective than reminding people that you’re busy when they interrupt you.

Studying with children–especially toddlers–can be a challenge. Sometimes there’s just no easy way to get time alone if you are in this situation. If you have other adults in your household who can watch them for a short time, that can be an option. If not, this How to Work From Home With Kids Around blog post has some ideas that might help.

Yes, domestic chores are right there, always. Establish times to attend to them separate from your studying time. Trying to do chores and schoolwork at the same time will both take longer, and you won’t be as good at either.

Be honest with your instructors

One important piece of advice is to let your instructors (and your fellow students) know what you are working with. WOU faculty are also working from home, in many cases with family members or children of their own. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is completely impossible in your situation!