Getting the Most Out of Online Classes

Last week, we discussed some of the steps you can take to stay on top of your grades while having to study from home, with plenty of tips for improving productivity and organization. This week we‘ll take a closer look specifically at online classes, whether it‘s viewing lectures or participating in online seminars.

The Importance of Good Internet
For online classes or any kind of online meeting, it‘s hard to overstate the importance of good internet. Note that “good” internet isn‘t necessarily the same thing as fast internet – what you mainly need is a stable internet with low latency. There‘s nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation online when there is a huge delay between the person speaking and the other members hear it. This leads to constant awkward moments of people talking over one another or waiting for others to finish. If you‘re making a presentation online, your teacher and classmates will inevitably be less impressed if your voice is constantly cutting out or if you seem unresponsive, so bad internet could affect your grades as well as your learning.

Wired Internet Vs. Wireless
Unfortunately, we‘re usually very limited by location when it comes to choosing an internet provider, so there isn‘t too much we can do to improve the situation. One thing you can do is connect to the internet via Ethernet rather than using wifi. There are several reasons why an Ethernet connection might provide better performance for online classes. The first is reduced latency (often referred to as “ping”). Information travels down a cable at the speed of light, whereas wifi radio waves are much slower. If you‘re near the wifi router this probably won‘t make much difference, but if the router is far away or if you are using a 4G connection, latency will be noticeably worse (something well understood by online gamers).

An even more important reason why a wired Ethernet connection is better is stability. Wifi signals are notoriously prone to interference, which can cripple your network speeds and result in an intermittent service. With an Ethernet cable, no interference is possible and you‘ll always get a super-stable connection. Ethernet also offers much higher download speeds than wifi, especially compared to older wifi versions, and wired connections are much more secure. In short, wired internet has less latency, is far more stable, is more secure, and offers faster speeds. So if you‘re getting frustrated with choppy performance in your online classes, it‘s worth giving it a go.

Most modern laptops no longer provide Ethernet ports, but there‘s no need to worry, AUKEY offers a wide range of adapters and hubs which support gigabit Ethernet. The Link PD Pro provides a full selection of ports, while this ultra-compact and very affordable adapter provides just the gigabit Ethernet port.

Hear Your Teacher Loud and Clear
When listening to an important lecture, it‘s important to hear what‘s being said clearly, especially if your internet isn‘t providing the crisp audio-visual experience you‘d want. A good Bluetooth speaker like this stylish metallic one is a massive step up from laptop speakers and allows you to keep the sound as close as possible to you. It can also be used on smartphones, even those without an audio jack. And if you don‘t want to disturb others, a pair of earbuds like the T21 True Wireless Earbuds are a great choice and come with the added benefit of an in-built microphone.

Declutter Your Desk
Keeping your workspace neat and tidy is always a good idea for students. With PowerHub XL you have all the outlets and USB ports you could possibly need. It comes with a handy mix of USB-A and USB-C ports for fast-charging your devices, and having all the outlets in one place saves you from having cables running all over the place. And if you think the Power Hub is overkill for your needs, a powerful dual-port charger like the Omnia Mix 65W is worth considering. It allows you to charge you laptop and phone from the same compact charger, freeing up space and reducing clutter.

 

 

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