Adapted from Rutgers University’s How to Succeed in an Online Course
Adapted from Indiana University Bloomington Suddenly Online
Hello GCC students. All classes have moved to remote instruction, and whether you’ve taken classes remotely before or are completely new to the online learning environment, we at the Learning Center want to offer you some survival strategies for transitioning to remote instruction.
Although this will be challenging for everyone, remember that your goals as a student, and the goals your professors have for you in your coursework, remain the same. What is changing – for now – is how you will pursue and attain those goals. We’re in this together, so let’s get started.
For the majority of students, instruction will take place through Canvas. This is where you will find all your class information such as your syllabus, assignments, and announcements.
If this is your first time using Canvas, explore the various features available to students for staying connected to your classes, fellow classmates, and most importantly your instructors. Make sure to enable any notifications for your classes, so you receive updates, instructions, and course assignments in a timely manner.
More information on how to use Canvas can be found here.
- Is the class still meeting at certain days and times each week? If so, make sure to include those dates and times in your schedule/calendar.
- If you can’t make it during those times/hours, ask if there are any other alternative modes/ways of participation.
- How are instructors going to stay in contact with you? Is it through Canvas messages or direct email?
- If you can, download the Canvas app, and set yourself up to easily get the content and communications you're going to need.
- Pay close attention to the syllabus details and the list of assignments your instructor provides and mark them on your calendar. Don’t forget to add in new assignments and due dates as they are assigned throughout the semester by your professor. Schedule due dates for everything, including: papers, projects, exams, problem sets, reading responses, discussion comments, etc.
- Use online calendars or apps to send you automatic reminders for due dates.
- When in doubt, don’t assume – ASK QUESTIONS. Contact your professor using e-mail or send a message on Canvas.
- Use this worksheet (word doc) to make a learning plan for each of your classes.
- First, try to stick to a daily routine:
- Wake up at the same time each day
- Take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, put on your shoes, so you signal to yourself and others that this is work time for you.
- Maintain regular breaks and meal times. You’ll be in front of screens a lot, so give your eyes and head a break.
- Block out time in your schedule like you would for any class.
- Arrive on time, participate, take notes, ask questions. Sure you may have a little more flexibility in your schedule, but consistent structure will help you stay on track.
- Set weekly goals and reminders regarding important due dates.
- Create a weekly schedule and designate specific times to complete readings, watch lectures, participate in forums, turn in assignments, and take exams.
- Consider working with friends or other students in your class to help hold each other accountable.
- Watch this video for three preparation and planning tips to use in your online course.
- Try your best to find a place in your home where you can keep distractions to a minimum while you are working on classes.
- Try to establish a do not disturb routine and communication system if you are living with other people, so that they don’t distract you.
- You can tune out sounds with music or ambient noise machines.
- You may want to set your computer and other devices to airplane mode, if possible, to avoid going on the Internet.
- When all else fails, set your phone to “Do Not Disturb.”
- Keep your course materials organized in your study space by using folders or specific desk drawers.
- Participating in online lectures and discussion forums will help you better understand the course materials and engage with your fellow classmates.
- If online discussion forums are employed in your course, ask questions and post your insights. Make meaningful comments on your classmates’ posts, not just "I agree" or "That's a good idea."Further the conversation. Online classes can be very passive, but you can make them more active through meaningful and energetic discussion.
- Take notes even when you’re online.
- When the lecture is a PowerPoint, slow down and take your time. When slides only contain a few bullet points, it can be tempting to just read them and move on. Try reading them out loud and making comments to slow yourself down; force yourself to think about what's on the slide. If you’ve ever done a read aloud, that may be a useful strategy here.
- When the lecture is a video conference, review your notes when you’re done. Summarize all the materials in your own words, but also try to explain the materials in terms of the other concepts in your class.
- Note things that aren't clear to you: take your questions and look for answers in the textbook, ask a friend, post your questions on the class discussion board, or simply email your professor.
- Individual learners react to different learning environments in unique ways, no matter the setting.
- Think about yourself as a learner and as a student.
- How comfortable are you with online interactions?
- How well do you manage distractions when using a computer? Where and when do you learn best – and what times and places are surefire study disasters for you?
- Think about your unique needs and make the necessary adjustments or changes.
- Consider specifically what elements will be missing from your experience without in-person meetings. Then think of what you can do to build in those missing pieces in other ways, or substitute other types of interaction for them.
- Sleeping well; getting exercise, adequate nutrition and hydration; going outside (safely); and utilizing tools for stress management are all a part of this. They all affect each other, impacting your learning, the way you feel in general and, in particular, the way you react to adverse circumstances. It’s all connected!
- Keep using campus resources. See if you can set up a virtual meeting or talk to someone by phone to meet your needs. If you’re having trouble with food insecurity or finding other resources, check the GCC website for up-to-date information. Click here for a list of helpful resources (Food, Transportation, Utilities, Work). Click here for more information about COVID-19.
- On top of meeting those basic needs, look for daily ways to find joy, express kindness and gratitude, get exercise, or just take a break.
- Stay connected with family, friends, professors, and peers.
- Talk with the people close to you about what you will need to continue to make this a successful school experience under these conditions. Ask them what they might need from you.
- Reach out to classmates. Use a chat in the course or even form a group on some other platform, like Pronto, to share tips and information, catch up, or just talk about what’s going on.
- Collaborate with your peers, and use the “Say It Out Loud!” study strategy to explain concepts to test your understanding.Be the teacher & explain it to yourself, your friend, your teddy bear - whoever is around you right now! What does this concept mean? How does it work and why?
- Make a note of any online help sessions and go - not just for you, but to reach out to others who might need your expertise!
- Finally, this is a whole new world to all of us. You’ll make some mistakes. Give yourself a break. Be aware of what a tough time this is, and remember that you’re not alone. Do the best you can, and have patience with yourself and others. Focus on what you can control, and take good care of yourself and those around you.