One of the great advantages of classroom-based studies is the classroom itself – a place set aside specifically for learning. Purpose built student accommodation found in many university settings usually comes with built-in desks and book-shelves – ideal for students to continue their studies well beyond bedtime. But for the student studying from home, on a distance learning course such as this, it is quite likely that there is no such special provision and alternative arrangements will need to be made.
You know your own situation and it would be meaningless for us to make anything other than general recommendations in this department. It would certainly be best if you have, or are able to ‘create’ your own study space, whether it be a room or a corner of a quiet room somewhere in the house. Failing that you might want to check how much space there is under the stairs or in your loft, or maybe contemplate investing in an insulated garden shed with electric light! You really will find things much more satisfactory if you have a space that doesn’t need to be cleansed of study material after each study session.
Consider the following:
- Your own study space – as distraction-free as possible
- Desk or table – for books, paper, computer (though a proper computer table is best)
- Sensible chair – comfortable but not sleep-inducing
- Bookcase or shelving – for books, files, etc.
- Filing cabinet or box-file – for keeping papers organised
- Sensible lighting
- Wastepaper basket
- A place for tea or coffee well away from the computer or books!
In recent years a great deal has been written about ergonomics in the computer workspace environment. It really is not unusual for people who spend a lot of time sitting at computers to suffer some sort of discomfort or injury – most of which can easily be avoided. However, judging by the number of working days lost to injuries incurred through computer use, one might almost be excused to think that it would be safer to work down the mines.
It may seem somewhat out of place in a course of this nature to pay much attention to these issues, but it is likely that the problem long predates computer usage and might even have troubled the writers of scrolls long ago in Israel (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:12).
If you have not yet watched the video presentation “Where to Study” then this might be a good time to do so. The presentation introduces a number of factors that ought to be considered when planning and using your work area. As you are intending to spend a fair amount of time in study activities, it might be wise to make what changes need to be made as early as possible. This way you should avoid bad habits creeping in which otherwise might lead to you needing to creep upstairs to lie in bed for a week recovering from a sore neck. And these things do happen – I know!
Some useful links
The University Health Services at Princeton University in America have published an interesting article on Ergonomics and Computer Use. You can access it at:
or for something similar from a British perspective, Birkbeck College at the University of London offer this:
‘Pause Gymnastics’ have been found helpful by some. These are “simple movements designed to move joints and stretch the muscles and nerves . . . They can be done sat at your desk, and take only a few minutes to do.” For further information see:
We appreciate that these notes and links are “one size fits all”. If you need some “made to measure” personal guidance on using computers safely please speak to your mentor or contact the module tutor.
In this section and in the video presentation a number of suggestions are made with regards to the physical well-being of the student. Please understand that any advice is offered in good faith, based on our knowledge, our experience and the best information available to us. Students must take responsibility for their own decisions based on any advice or suggestions given. If you are aware of any particular health conditions which might affect your ability to study with us, you should seek professional medical help. Thank you for your understanding.