ADJUSTING TO ONLINE LEARNING
No doubt, you are going to face some uncertainty and disruptions. Be patient with yourself, your classmates, and your instructors. When things feel out-of-control, remember that we are all in this together and there are steps you can take to help regain and maintain a sense of control.
ESSENTIAL THINGS TO KNOW FOR EACH COURSE
This may feel a little bit like the first week of classes all over again. Focus on confirming details now just like you would have then.
How have in-person parts of the class changed?
- Where can you find the stuff that used to be in-person and how do you access it? (live-stream, lecture capture, etc.)
- Are those things at a specific time or can you watch it anytime?
Have assignments changed?
- Are there new due dates?
- Do you know how to submit assignments?
- When and how are quizzes and exams being held?
What should you do if you need help?
- Is your course offering virtual office hours? When and how?
- Is there an online forum for asking questions?
SET A SCHEDULE AND CLEAR THE WAY.
Whether we like it or not, many of us have fewer social commitments, group meetings, or work hours. Setting a schedule for yourself can help provide structure.
- Try to keep your regular class schedule. For instance, if you have a class that met at 10 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, consider doing that class at the same time with a similar structure. Building on an existing habit helps us make a smoother transition.
- Remember the 8x8x8 rule. Dedicate 8 hours for schoolwork, 8 hours for other commitments (work, self-care, etc.), and 8 hours for rest. Life doesn’t always allow us to follow this rule, but it can be helpful to remember to try to find some balance in your new schedule.
- Have a planner (online or paper) and stay organized with your daily/weekly tasks. With having so much free time, it can be easy to lose track of time and deadlines. Remember to check Canvas daily for updates from your instructors.
- Don’t assume that online classes will be easy and neglect your study habits. An online class requires you to have the same commitment as your regular class.
Locate and prepare your at-home classroom. You'll want a room or a space that is can be consistent and clear of distractions.
Think of the basics:
- You'll need outlets to keep yourself plugged in
- Good task lighting and ideally some natural light
- A chair that isn't too comfortable
- Room to spread out and write as needed
Make it totally yours:
Establish a rule and a way to let others know that you are busy
Use headphones (try white noise) or earplugs to tune out
Gather up everything you'll need for your day (textbooks, paper, etc) to reduce the little trips around the house
When your time feels less structured, the temptation to multitask is real. That includes checking social media or streaming a show while working. We all think we can do multiple things at once. Research shows that's pretty unlikely.
WHY IT DOESN'T WORK
- Assignments take longer. When you check Insta and then come back to an assignment, you have to find your spot, remember what you were going to do next, etc. Waste of time!
- You’re more likely to make mistakes. Distractions and switching between tasks tires out the brain.
- You’ll remember less. When your brain isn't focused, you are less able to commit what you’re learning to long-term memory because it doesn’t get encoded properly into your brain.
WHAT WORKS BETTER
- Schedule yourself for set times to work on coursework and give yourself some scheduled breaks.
- Set aside a quiet space for you to do your coursework that’s distraction-free. That might mean keeping your phone in another room.
- Consider the “pomodoro method” to help you focus for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks.
REVISE YOUR STRATEGIES.
Your usual routine may have to adjust during this time. Look for ways to continue (or adapt, if needed) your positive habits and form new ones.
- Ask yourself what kind of environment helps you study. See if you can recreate that at home. Maybe it’s studying in a chair, rather than on your bed or couch, or moving to a new spot when you change tasks. If you feel you need background noise, consider a white noise app.
- If you used to work with a friend at a coffee shop, try a virtual or even phone-based study session with your group.
Always take notes as you go through lectures, watch videos, or read. Keep all notes/documents from each class together in the same notebook and/or folder to help yourself stay organized.
Try new ways to do old tricks. For example, flashcards are a proven method and you can make them online!
KNOW WHAT RESOURCES YOU NEED.
Even though your courses are online, there are still resources available for you to reach out to for support. You still have access to a campus of support.
WE'RE ONLINE, TOO. JUST A FEW EXAMPLES:
- Advisors are scheduling virtual appointments on Navigate
- PARC is fully online with tutoring and academic support
- Financial Aid is bolstering online support and financial resources
- The Library has a bunch of online databases, a chat feature, and more
- Student Health and Counseling offers phone appointments and SilverCloud, an app with high improvement rates for depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Disability Services works with students who need accommodations.
Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions or if you need some extra support and motivation. We're online for you.
As we limit face-to-face time, connecting with classmates, instructors, family, and friends in other ways is more important than ever. We are all feeling the effects, but isolation does not overpower our ability to connect.
Be an active participant in class.
- Stay engaged with your instructor and classmates. An easy way to lose motivation in an online class is to feel like you are all alone taking the class. Ask your instructor questions on Canvas or via email.
- Consider your tone and be smart with your emails or messages. You won't be able to convey tone or body language as easily, so review your communications before you send them. You don't want to be misinterpreted or confusing.
- Use technology (Canvas, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, social media, Facetime, etc.) to connect with your classmates. Create a virtual study session or find ways to stay connected to support each other. Don’t be afraid to create the community that you need to succeed.
- Attend your instructor’s virtual office hours. Even if it is just to say hello and thank them for continuing to be available to students. They will appreciate the engagement!
- Check on each other and ask for backup. If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, ask them if they are still able to particpate. If you don't hear back, let your instructor know.
Be an active participant in the campus community.
- Schedule video calls with friends and family. Talking with loved ones is often really helpful when you’re stressed or nervous about something.
- Taking a break to share updates on social media. If social media hasn't been your thing, you may find value in checking out new online platforms. You may find one that you like!
- If you are feeling increasingly isolated, please speak up. Contact the Student Health and Counseling Center for support.
CHECK OUT: Campus Activities and Engagement
We'll miss seeing Rangers on campus, but thankfully, there is a place for social in social distancing. Share an Instagram post with hashtag #uwparkside, and it may end up here!