Every person starts his career differently. Some reach middle school, get an education and then start their careers, others extend their school careers, graduate from high school and hang out with a degree. Personally, after my Abitur and my vocational training, I decided to study at a distance course that I completed a few weeks ago.
In retrospect, I have to say that the time was demanding, but nevertheless worthwhile. After all, anyone who approaches a distance or evening study in addition to their job will receive not only the theoretical content of their studies but also practical experience in everyday work. In the following list I would like to summarize which tools and tips have made the last 4 years easier for me. Please note that these are my favorites. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments.
Before we start, I would like to thank the European University of Applied Sciences Hamburg. The organization of the studies, the face-to-face seminars and the exams were always optimally organized and a contact person was always available when there were any questions. If you are looking for a distance university, I can Euro-FH highly recommended.
At the beginning of each course of study, the question arises as to which hardware to purchase. If you want to buy a Mac, you have a manageable choice. But what about Windows? Personally, I worked a lot from home, which is why I bought two monitors in addition to my tower PC (brand: self-made). One was used, for example, to work on the actual task (for example, the doing of a housework), while the other had to be used for research on the subject.
Nevertheless, I also bought a laptop, because you are not always at home and sometimes had to travel to Hamburg for presence phases. After my Asus Ultrabook gave up the ghost after 4 years, I bought a Microsoft Surface laptop and had to say: I don’t regret it for a day. The screen is well illuminated, has a touch panel and the workmanship is first class. So if you’re looking for a laptop with Windows, I’ll recommend this model.
If you’re traveling frequently (such as business trips) and a laptop is too bulky for you, then a tablet could be a very good addition. Since the study documents were also available as PDF, I usually used the time in the subway or in the ICE to internalize the material. If you’re more in the Android universe, I can recommend Samsung’s Galaxy S tablets. Apple fans, on the other hand, are well served with an iPad Air and an Apple Pencil. Personally, I recommend the LTE variants, as you can also search for something on the internet on the go.
Computers would be quite useless if there wasn’t the right software. For my studies, the first step was to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). This was mainly due to the fact that there are certain design regulations for housework at Euro-FH that require Microsoft fonts, such as Times New Roman and Arial. The advantage of the Microsoft subscription is that 1 TB of OneDrive storage is also included. This allows documents to be synchronized across multiple devices and processing is possible from (almost) anywhere. If you want to take digital notes, you can use OneNote with its wide range of functions.
If you are travelling with a tablet as described above, I recommend reading PDF study books via the PDF reader integrated with OneDrive. Here, you can take notes and annotations with an S-Pen or an Apple Pencil, which are synchronized in seconds via the different devices. Important content can be marked and converted to index cards in the next step.
There is also an app for this. Anki is an open source software that is also available for iOS and Android in various variations. In the desktop version, index cards can be made with front and back or even with gap text. When a batch has been completed, it can be copied to the terminal device and the query can be performed on the smartphone or tablet. This way, content can be learned quickly and easily in a wide variety of places.
Especially when it comes to housework or even the bachelor’s thesis, many pages of flow text are created. Who doesn’t know that there are sometimes letter turners that you quickly read over. If you want to detect errors quickly and at the same time perform a grammar check, I recommend the Duden MentorSimply copy the text into the text box and the mentor highlights all the errors found. The spelling checker hasn’t been that simple for a long time.
Last but not least, DeepL which helped me a lot with English modules. This is a German service that can easily compete with the Google translator. In addition to English, other languages, such as Spanish or Italian, are available.
Finally, I would like to mention small helpers who have personally helped me to focus on a topic. When I learned, I mostly used the Pomodoro technique. This involves concentrating for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break. Apps for this are available in app stores such as Sand by the Sea.
Rest and tranquility is important. In order to take a breath and sharpen the focus, I meditate regularly with Headspace. After a meditation I usually feel more rested and balanced and can then start with the next task.
A healthy sleep also helps us learn things better. If you have problems with this, we have summarized tips and tricks in another article.
In the meantime, there are dozens of tools that can facilitate (remote) study. In this article, I focused on the most important topics for me and hope that I was able to support you with this. The current Corona pandemic in particular is an ideal time to start further training. I wish you every success!