How to stay focused during Online Classes

A decade ago, we had many mind-blowing predictions about the advancements our species would achieve in the year 2020, flying cars, houses that can be relocated, a developed India. Some of these became reality, while some are still yet to be achieved. Instead, this year, our world is facing a global pandemic, which has and is impacting many work/life areas, likewise, it has temporarily forced the education institutions to operate in an Online mode. Schools and colleges are conducting online lectures to avoid students' loss but, this online mode is hard for both, the teachers and their students. For students, it is hard because of many reasons like poor internet connectivity, lack of proper study environment, and a major cause is, they're often not able to stay focused during lectures. I too have faced difficulties in focusing during lectures but, now gradually, by changing some habits, I have managed to maintain focus during my online lectures. So, in this essay, I will be sharing the tips that I tried and which have helped me stay engaged and focused during my online lectures.

The first and foremost tip is to Create a Study environment. In our conventional model, we used to attend our classes in a classroom with other students where we used to get a ready-made environment for studying. At home, in this new virtual mode, we have to take efforts and set up the physical environment ourselves. Sit at a quiet place, where there is no TV/Radio or other distractions and where you can stay motivated and attentive. Prefer a table, avoid sitting/laying on bed or sofa, as a too comfy place will make you fell asleep.

In 2020, our biggest distraction is our very own smartphone. We get a ping, a notification and we easily get indulged in scrolling endless social media feeds, checking messages, and a bunch of unnecessary things. So, the second important tip is - you must keep your smartphone out of your sight and preferably on a silent audio profile. If you are attending the lecture on your smartphone, then you must enable the "Do not disturb" mode, so that no unnecessary notification distracts you. Thus, for attending lectures laptop/desktop is preferred over a smartphone.

The average time a person can concentrate on a given task is 30-50 mins. Also, staring at a screen for long stretches can give you eye strain and pain. So, giving yourself a short 2 mins break to relax your body and re-oxygenate your brain is a must. People who use computers for long stretches follow the 20-20-20 rule, in which, after every 20 mins they have to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should follow this rule too.

Respond actively in the class, ask questions. Responses like "Yes sir/ma'am", "Understood" will also work. Actively responding and asking questions if you get any, will help you engage yourself in the class and be attentive.

Last but not least - Respect your teachers' efforts and value your time. Sometimes a lecture may sound boring to you, or the teacher is not able to deliver a lecture engagingly. In such cases, we must remember that is not our normal, this online phase is not conventional for many teachers but still, they are trying their level best to teach us. And thus, we should respect their efforts.

I hope, you'll try these practical tips and these will help you stay focused during your online lectures.