I’m having a hard time motivating myself to “attend” online lectures and, especially, watch recorded ones. What can I do?

by Nic Voge

There’s a lot to adapt to.Whether you are on or off campus there is now a lot less structure to your day, fewer environmental and social cues that you are a student in college, and there may well be greater distractions of a less-than-ideal workspace, so your difficulty is understandable—and that’s not even considering the economic, health, and personal worries you might be having about COVID-19. Adopting a general approach of creating structure in your day and weekly routine, as well as trying to recreate a virtual social environment can help. Put lectures in your calendar (whether synchronous or taped) so you see it regularly and get reminders. Be intentional about setting up video calls with someone in the class—or even a friend who has a class at the same time for mutual support/accountability and to whom you can ask questions. Try to increase the relevance of lecture material and your interest in it by reminding yourself why you chose the course to begin with, read the description on the syllabus and skim past class notes, readings, and upcoming p-sets to spark curiosity. The larger issue here is that students will have greater responsibility for their learning in many courses and thus will need to be more self-directed and motivated. Just as there are skills and strategies for reading or taking lecture notes, for instance, there are skills and strategies to meet these demands, too. A learning consultant can help you adapt.