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Study skills

Studying online

Guiding you through some simple steps on how to get the most out of your studies.

A student working on a laptop from accommodation at Limes Court

Depending on your course, you may be expected to engage in some online study.

Online study is similar to other forms of study. You need the same skills such as note making, reading and time management.

Whether you are studying on campus or online, our student support teams are here to help.

1. Make sure you have the right tools

Microsoft Office 365 is free to all students while they are studying with us. You can use it online or download Microsoft Office applications on up to five devices. Find out more from our self-help guides:

Getting started with IT

Help with study skills


2. Attend your sessions

  • Research shows that students who attend more sessions (online or on campus) tend to get better grades.
  • Whatever your mode of study, attending sessions gives you the chance to become part of our community.
  • Sessions which are pre-recorded or recorded during the session give you an opportunity to review sections you do not understand, allowing you to embed knowledge and understanding.


3. Get involved with your study

  • When you listen to recorded material, do what you would do if you were attending a live session and make notes. Making notes can help you learn, and they also give you something to review later.
  • Taking good notes is a skill and you can get help from Study Development if you're not sure what to do.
  • Focus on understanding the lecture and make your own summary notes as best you can. If your session is recorded, you can review it to improve your notes and fill in gaps.
  • Check whether the lecturer has made PowerPoint slides or other material available for you and take time to review these.
  • Your lecturers may ask you to do reading or a task before a session. These will prepare you for the session so do your best to complete them. Making notes from pre-reading will help your understanding of the topic. If there is something you are not sure about, make a note and ask your lecturer.
  • You may be offered live question and answer sessions to go with a pre-recorded lecture or workshop. These sessions are a good opportunity to find out more, ask questions and deepen your knowledge. They are well worth attending so make sure you add them to your calendar.
  • You may be asked to complete a quiz or task after a session. This is a good way of consolidating your knowledge and checking your understanding.
  • Some modules may feature online forums in Moodle, use these to ask questions and discuss topics. It's a good way to connect with other students on your course and your tutors.


4. Review your notes

  • Check your notes for areas you don't understand and identify any gaps.
  • Once you've watched a recorded session in full, go back and revisit any sections you didn't understand. There's no need to watch everything again.
  • Ideally you should aim to go back to a recorded session within 2–3 days. This will allow you to think about the session and digest the information properly.
  • When you are revising your notes, try to summarise in your own words.


5. Catch up

  • If you miss a live online session or forget to view a recorded lecture, review the resources on Moodle and any recordings within a week.
  • Learning is more effective when it's spread out, so try to keep up to date with your sessions and module content each week.


6. Ask for help

  • We are here to help. There is lots of advice available from your tutors and our support teams. If you do not understand something in an online session, please ask.
  • Try watching the recorded sessions with others on your course as part of a study group.
  • Check your knowledge on a regular basis using your module content in Moodle as a help resource.
  • Look up additional resources, including those that are mentioned in sessions (the pause button can help). Remember, your reading lists are a great tool to connect you with the resources you will need to use to take part in the learning for your course. Don't just rely on the content in a lecture.


7. Communicate

  • Stay in touch with students in your class, your tutor, lecturers and our support teams. Our online tools are a good way to keep in contact with everyone.
  • Remember to check your university email on a regular basis and you will find lots of useful information on your module pages in Moodle.


8. Build in regular breaks

  • It's easy to spend a long time in front of a laptop or a computer. Make sure you take breaks and do something relaxing.
  • It's also worth deciding on a cut-off point for finishing studying for the day.


9. Top tips

We recommend that you:

  • Space out viewing online sessions as it's more effective for learning. Binge-watching online sessions might seem tempting but it's not the best use of your time.
  • Plan ahead when going back to a recorded session you've already viewed, don't just view the whole thing again. Think carefully about the bits you need to review as this will help you learn more.
  • Use quizzes and any extra material your tutors send you. They will really help you to read around topics, use knowledge and connect different parts of your learning.


Your online safety is important.

If you have any concerns about yourself or a fellow student then please speak to us. You can raise your concerns with your academic tutor or the wellbeing team. Alternatively, you can report anonymously by using Report and Support.

This guide is brought to you by York St John University and York St John Students' Union. It is based on: Nordmann et al. (2018) Lecture capture: practical recommendations for students and lecturers. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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