Managing study/home balance in a technology-enabled learning environment - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Managing study/home balance in a technology-enabled learning environment

1 Apr 2020

USC is committed to providing a safe and healthy student experience. One way to ensure this is to deliver a quality education via the technology enabled learning environment, particularly in this time of uncertainty and change.

Balancing study/home

Studying at university requires students to juggle many roles, such as parent, care giver, employee, business owner, while also working hard to be successful at study. Managing a study/home balance is about focusing on the energy you attribute to each role in your life and maintaining a balance in the areas that are important to you. Sometimes what can happen is we focus our energy on one area more than another, which often results in life becoming unbalanced and unhealthy.

What might an unbalanced study/home look like?

  • Increased Irritability
  • Disrupted sleep or excessive sleep
  • Increased stress/anxiety
  • Health problems
  • Low mood
  • Fatigue
  • Relationship tension
  • Drug and alcohol misuse

Tips and strategies

Understand the difference between studying from home and on campus

The technology enabled learning environment while it may be more convenient, the expectations remain the same as if you were on campus. You still need to dedicate time to study, planning and completing and submitting your assessments

Create a study space

Having a space that is just for study, distraction free, quiet, organised and available anytime trains your brain that when you go into the study space it is for study. While in the study, turn off your phone, log off all social media and encourage family and friends to be considerate of your 'study time'.

Study plan

A study plan is one of the most important and helpful tools to have.

  • You must keep your plan up to date, regularly check it and revise.
  • Set time limits (eg half an hour to read a chapter of a book, take some notes).
  • Take breaks – studying for 3 hours straight is not useful. It is important to take small purposeful breaks in-between study to help you refocus, stretch and review.
  • Maintain a study routine (eg think about what time of the day (morning, middle or evening) you are more efficient at studying and schedule your study time). Routines provide structure and consistency to help you achieve your learning goals.
  • Create to do lists at the beginning of the week.
  • Factor in family, friend and fun time.
Create small, medium- and long-term goals for the day

Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. And when achieved tick/mark them off – this is success.

  • Small goal examples:
    • I will read 1 journal article for my assignment in the next 20 minutes before taking my next break.
    • I will map out the structure of my assignment in Word with basic headings in each section – I will allow 10min.
  • Medium goal example:  
    • I will have read 3 journal articles by 11am and summarised the main arguments = 1 journal article and summary  per hour.
    • I will write  300 words of my introduction before my lunch break today at 1pm, 75 words per hour.
  • Long-term goal examples: 
    • I will have sourced all journal articles and resources I need to write my assignment by 8pm tonight.
    • By 5pm today, I will have written my introduction and 100 words in the discussion of my essay.
Be flexible and adaptable

Life happens, kids get sick, internet is faulty, the car breaks down or there are changes to your course/program. Being flexible and adaptable helps reduce stress.

Participate in on-line discussions

Participating helps problem-solve course material, discuss course topics, read different peer viewpoints, provide connection and support to each other, stay up to date with your course work and be mindful when you are beginning to fall behind.

Reliable internet connection

Internet and/or computer problems happen regularly. Ensure you continually save your work to ensure you do not lose it. You can do this by emailing it to yourself, saving it to a USB, cloud storage, which will allow you to access your work from any computer, table or smart phone.

Establish a virtual study group of your peers

Studying together can help problem-solve assessment questions, understanding subject content, combat procrastination and motivate each other.

Maintain life/study routine

This may be a challenge if you have child/ren and partner in the home more than they would normally be. You may need to be flexible and rather than studying in the middle of the day you start early or later when child/ren maybe sleeping. However, keeping as close to your normal study/life routine can help reduce stress.

Look after yourself

It is really important to ensure part of your study plan is caring for yourself. Ensure you book time in your study plan to do things that you enjoy. You can practice meditation, mindfulness, yoga, read a book, listen to or play music and where safe and possible, get some fresh air, etc.

Seek support when you need it

This could be a friend, family member or professional. Talking to someone can help reduce stress, assist with problem solving and developing strategies to cope. If all the family is at home, it may be asking your partner to parent the child/ren while you study.

Want more information?

Head over to the Learning Advisers page for additional information on study support and resources.

Want to talk with some?

  • USC-Student Wellbeing are continuing to provide a free counselling service via phone or Skype to ensure we comply with the Australian Government social distancing recommendations. Contact Student Wellbeing via studentwellbeing@usc.edu.au or 5430 1226
  • Beyond Blue provide a free telephone counselling service 24/7 days a week, call 1300 22 4636.
  • eHeadspace is a free on-line support and counselling to young people 12-25 living in Australia.
  • kids Helpline is a free telephone counselling service for children and young people aged 5-25 years, 24/7 days a week, call 1800 551 800.
  • QLife is a free telephone and on-line counselling and referral service for the LGBTIQ+. Support is offered between 3pm – midnight throughout the week, call 1800 184 527.
  • Lifeline provide free phone counselling service 24/7 days a week, call 13 11 14.

In an Emergency call 000 (Police, Ambulance or Fire-brigade).