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How to prepare for remote online courses

A quick guide to preparing your home working environment for video conferencing, concentration and focus – especially when being assessed.

Tips on how to prepare for remote online courses

The sudden transition to remote working, and in some cases remote learning has thrown up some unexpected challenges. So here we’re going to set out some tips on how to prepare for taking a course remotely online via video conferencing.

Technology challenges

These fall into two key areas, the ‘hardware’ you possess and connectivity to the Internet.

Hardware: This is your computer and its functional features. Like does it have a web cam and microphone? Do you have multiple screens or just one small laptop display? Is it capable of running the video conferencing software? Does it have the latest updates? It may be time to upgrade as home working and flexibility are probably going to be the watch words of the next few years.

Connectivity to the Internet: If you haven’t got good internet connectivity, you may need to upgrade your package. However, if you have a smart TV, Netflix or similar, then you most likely have what’s needed. One thing you do need to be careful about is other people using the internet and streaming or downloading when you’re on your course. Or even worse, taking your exam!

Focus Challenges

This is really about ensuring you have the right environment, which is a mixture of comfort and location.

Comfort: You’re likely to be sat at your desk for long durations, maybe more than you’d usually be sat at a computer. So make sure you have a proper desk and seat, rather than a makeshift area to work from. Office chairs are designed specifically to provide the right support and desks are at the correct height – so the two work together.

Location – working without interruption or distraction: You’re on a course with nine others in most cases, so if you get distracted, the likelihood is you’ve missed something you need to know. There will be comfort breaks and discussion, which the trainer will control, but you need to be mentally focused on the task in hand. This is especially true when taking the course assessment – distraction at this point could be the difference between a pass and fail.

So make sure you have a great space to work, where you can get the internet access speeds you need. Test this prior to the course starting – ideally days before, so you have time to get things sorted out if need be.


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