When students join an online tutorial, there are a variety of distractions in their surroundings, which are invisible to their tutors and peers. These are stories that students shared about their experiences of tutorials that give some insight into what helps them stay focused during the tutorial session.
I quickly inhaled my dinner and sought to hide myself in the conservatory, away from the noise and distraction of the television. I deliberately put myself in the least stimulating environment I can find, away from any television and away from the washing, so I’m not folding the washing during the tutorial but if a tutorial is dry in the way it is delivered, I find myself sort of switching off and thinking about other things and not actively taking in what is being shared. I try and take notes on a word document or screenshots from the tutorial, just so I can re-cap the session in my own words, I suppose. And if I find I’m not really a hundred percent engaged on the session I do find I go back to the word document and elaborate more on the points I’ve already made and get distracted by my note taking rather than keeping up with what’s being delivered (Samantha, student).
I lock myself in the bedroom. I take all my books to bed. I put my pajamas on. I grab a dog, we’ve got two puppies, so I grab a dog. I put the telly on, but I mute it and have the bedroom nice and warm, lock the door and tell everybody ‘don’t come in because I’m at school’ and that’s how I concentrate and not be distracted. Otherwise, I’ve got someone wanting me for something, the puppies might need letting out for a wee or the washing machine might start… Just normal everyday mum stuff. You’ve always got 15 things going on in your head, haven’t you? (Steve, student).
Sometimes, if people have been talking about other things that aren’t relevant, I’ll just go and make a drink or go and I’ll have a chat or sit on the phone or something and then just jump back in when they’ve moved on to another point. I didn’t get distracted during this tutorial because it was very focused. I knew if I got distracted, I couldn’t just come back to it because you’d moved on, so it kept me focused, the pace of it, what we were talking about. In other tutorials, I have been distracted but in this one, I wasn’t (Gemma, student).