Tips for Studying Architecture Remotely or Online
I have been working from home for about 5 years now, maybe more. Before that, when I was at university, I was living off campus in another city, and commuting to uni on days when there were lectures. The rest of the time I worked at home. I guess you could say I am quite used to remote working and remote study. I enjoy working alone, in a self directed manner, but I know many people don’t, and find it really hard.
Difficulties of studying architecture remotely
Let’s look at some of the difficulties with studying architecture remotely:
- You need space, a good sized table and suitable chair as you can be spending a long time at your computer / drawing
- No other students or lecturers around to ask quick questions
- Difficult to focus
- Easy to procrastinate
- Easy to overwork
- If you have housemates, noisy neighbours, it can be difficult to concentrate
- Don’t have the appropriate computer software/equipment etc
- Access to library books and resources can be difficult
Benefits of studying architecture remotely
But there are some benefits to studying architecture remotely too:
- You have more control over your day
- You can create a more focused environment
- You can work at your own pace
- Save money (no commuting/ travel, make lunch/coffee at home rather than eating out)
- You can take power naps easily 🙂
- Study how you want, when you want
Architecture is hands on. You need to be present. You go to the studio, you present your work, you make models, you have group discussion, how is this possible when you are all sitting behind screens? Well, it will be challenging, but it is do-able! The key is to be engaged, and try to be open to the change. It will set you up well for the future.
I’m going to share with you some of my best tips for studying architecture remotely/at home/online, and hopefully they will help you in the coming months.
Tips for Studying Architecture Remotely or Online
Keep up to date
Make sure you know what is happening and when. This includes knowing when your assignments are due in, when online lectures are happening and important dates. Use an online calendar or reminder system to make sure you don’t miss anything.
My favourite is Asana. I use it for all of my work. You can create ‘projects’ and within the projects have specific tasks, along with due dates and so on. This is an excellent tool and really helps you to stay productive and on top of the important tasks of the day/week/month! Plus, it is free!
Keep track of any online portals your university or college may have and make sure you check them daily for any new messages, information etc.
Don’t put things off
Time management and self motivation are both key to doing well in a remote or home study environment. It is really important to be able to spread your workload throughout your week and don’t save everything up until the last minute.
One way I overcome procrastination, is to do the stuff I don’t want to do first. That way it gets it out the way, and I can move on to the easier or more fun stuff without the difficult tasks hanging over me.
I also find I am way more productive in the mornings, and often get quite sleepy in the afternoons! Therefore, I get up really early, and plan the difficult stuff for the morning, then enjoy doing easier tasks in the afternoon that aren’t so demanding of brain power.
Find the way you work the best, and make sure you give yourself a structure that allows you to be consistent in your work without procrastinating.
In these difficult times, things are changing often, and sometimes it is difficult to keep up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, about anything. Whether you don’t understand an assignment, or you aren’t sure about something very specific – make sure you ask.
The last thing you want to do is fall behind because you misinterpreted an assignment, but were too afraid to ask. Just be open and honest, and more often than not, other people are thinking the exact same question too!
Communication is really important, especially in times like these. Make sure you turn up for any online lectures, seminars or group activities. It is good to be engaged, and you will get so much more out of the learning experience by being as involved as possible.
Find the resources that are available
There are loads of resources online, not only your university portal, and library resources but other websites providing guidance and information for your studies. Make sure you find out what is available to you and how these resources can help you with your studies.
At the moment, many libraries are closed and it is not possible to get books out, however, most libraries are doing all the can to make digital content available, along with other resources. Speak to your subject librarian and find out what they are doing for your course.
Give yourself a schedule
Depending on the format of your remote learning, it is unlikely you are going to be reminded everyday of what lectures are happening and when, or when assignments are due. Make sure you write down the tasks of the day, and the week so you know where you are at.
As I mentioned before, I use Asana, but you could also use a normal calendar like iCal or Google Calendar, and plan in the tasks and lectures, assignments etc. This way, you can keep on top of things and know whats coming next.
Keep in touch with your lecturers and other students
A big part of the architecture student experience is sharing ideas with your student colleagues and your lecturers. Discussion is important. Make sure you keep in touch with other students on your course and discuss projects, designs and ideas.
Trying to make a space that is dedicated to your study environment is preferable. It will help you concentrate to have a space you can go to work, and help you to switch off when you are having down time.
Don’t stay in your pyjamas all day! Get up and get dressed and have breakfast as if you were heading out onto campus, this will make you feel more active and ready to take on the tasks of the day. If you stay in your pyjamas, you might be tempted to lounge on the sofa and binge watch the latest box set on Netflix.
Try and minimise your distractions. I tend to close down my emails if I am working on something that requires a lot of thought and also close down my internet browser. This helps to stop me getting distracted and going online shopping instead!
Another useful tip is to put your phone on airplane mode for a couple of hours, to allow you to get some solid work done.
Make sure you take regular breaks and keep active. Even if this means getting up from your desk and going for a ten minute walk. Its important to have a change of scenery, and to stretch yourself out a bit.
I take my dog out twice a day for a long walk and when I get back to my desk I feel invigorated and ready to get back to work. I actually quite like using my walking time to think about work, plan things and solve problems. I have had many lightbulb moments while out walking the dog.
Find time to switch off
Make sure you plan other things to take you away from study. It is easy to get so absorbed that you never take a break. Wether it is movie night, or a group video call catch up with friends, or just getting together with your house mates, find time for yourself and for socialising. It’s not all about study!
Do you have any other tips to help with studying architecture remotely or online? I would love to hear from you – let me know your thoughts in the comments below.