How To Prepare For Online Learning At University | TOTUM
Ben HaywardAugust 26th

Following the rather abrupt end to the 2019-20 academic year, many students, both new and returning, still aren’t quite sure what to expect when they return.

Uncertainty abounds, but following the profound impact of the coronavirus panic, universities have had no choice but to spend the fallow months of summer redesigning curricula to get in line with a new approach to study combining online learning with the traditional face-to-face teaching. 

A major consideration for your university return is that your tech choices are going to be more important than ever, with restricted access to university resources meaning an increased reliance on your own computer.


There are a whole host of different brands, models and specs out there to choose from and here at TOTUM we’ve got loads of offers to help you get student discount on the laptop you need.

From 10% off a new MacBook off at Apple, up to 20% off at Dell and up to 35% discount at HP, you can check out all our offers here.   

If you’re worried about your tech specs, contact your university, and if you’re worried about being to able to afford what you need, be sure to get in touch with your uni.  

“The expectation is that students who can’t afford it will be provided with a laptop,” Pablo Charro de la Fuente, education officer at Newcastle University’s students’ union, told the Guardian.


Large lectures are unlikely to happen due to the need for social distancing, with the majority likely to be recorded and uploaded to your virtual learning environment (usually the Blackboard or Canvas systems, accessed via a web browser, which handily also have tablet and smartphone apps! 

At most universities it’s looking like smaller seminars and tutorials could happen in person, but most will take place on video-calling services like  Microsoft Teams and Zoom. 

Since tech is going to be so pivotal, it’s also worth checking that you’ve got the right insurance cover in place in case something untoward happens. 

Endsleigh are the sector leaders in student insurance, and have a good range of different policies to cover your tech, gadgets, bikes and whatever else you might need.

working from home

If you’re doing a technical degree such as engineering or architecture, your department will let you know what specialist software you need, but Adobe are currently running a huge student discount on their creative cloud, meaning you can get an incredible 65% off Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Lightroom, inDesign and more.

You’ll also be able to use things like Teams and Zoom outside the classroom to keep in touch with family and friends and students’ unions and societies are making extra effort to ensure the socialising that usually occurs in freshers’ week doesn’t get missed out on. 

“Societies are transferring a lot online, but there are some things we’ll miss,” admits Sara Elkhawad, welfare and equality officer at Newcastle University’s students’ union. 

To get the best experience possible, make sure when you get to uni you download the students’ union’s app – this will help you coordinate online introductory events.

There are also some really useful online resources you can use to help prepare.

Pearson has produced some handy online tutuorials with advice on looking after your wellbeing, transitioning to higher education and how to become a digital learner that are well worth a read!

NOTE: This article contains affiliate links, which will earn the site a commission if the product is purchased.

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