Transitioning to remote learning mid-semester can be painful and annoying – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few helpful tips to make your transition as smooth as possible. You may even find that you enjoy learning from a distance!
- Give yourself grace. Switching to remote learning mid-semester is tough! It’s tough for students, and it’s tough for professors. Be sure to give yourself grace – and extend that same grace to your professors. If you can’t get your technology to work right away, if you can’t figure out how to turn in a quiz or assignment, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and email or message your professor or a classmate for help. We’re all in this together.
- Remember that “online” doesn’t mean “easy.” Just because you aren’t attending class doesn’t mean your commitment and work ethic can slide. You’ll find that you need to devote the same amount of time to your education – if not more – now that you’re learning remotely
- Check your Corban email A LOT. The primary method of communication between you and your professors may be your Corban email. Check it at least twice a day so you know what’s being asked of you. Some professors will expect you to attend class through video conferencing at the same time you’d normally be in class. Others may have adjusted deadlines or ways to participate. Checking your email frequently will help you stay in the loop.
- Familiarize yourself with new or unfamiliar tools. If your professor is using a tool you’ve never used before, take some time to experiment with it. Google YouTube tutorials for the tool. Practice hosting a Zoom meeting with a classmate or friend, or set aside half an hour to click around on Converge until you’ve figured out where everything is. When in doubt, reach out and ask someone for help. (If you haven’t’ noticed yet, that’s a common theme here!)
- Ask for help if you don’t have the right tools. Are you struggling to get a good Wi-Fi connection? Does your laptop not have a camera installed? Do you not own a personal computing device? Are you running an old version of a program? Ask for help. Corban’s IT department will do what they can to help you. Email email@example.com to see if they have a solution or ideas for you
- Set up an area that’s conducive to studying. Aside from having the right tools, you need the right environment. If you can, set up a study area that is NOT associated with eating, sleeping, or entertainment. If you have to study in your bedroom, at least try to use a desk that is ONLY for studying. This will help you create the mental separation between “study time” and “free time.” Make sure your study area is quiet (or has a pleasant amount of background noise for you), well-lit, and comfortable. If you need some extra ambiance to keep you focused, consider having a scented candle, houseplant, or cup of tea nearby.
- Maintain good mental habits. In addition to a good study environment, you can improve your study habits by keeping up healthy mental routines. This might look like staying on a consistent sleep schedule and keeping up with your normal morning habits. While doing homework in your PJs is all too tempting, going through the motions of a normal day – making your bed, eating at normal hours – can help you feel mentally ready to be productive.
- Set up a schedule to manage your time. Without the structure of a face-to-face class schedule, you’ll need to create that structure on your own. Designate certain portions of your week for each class, to make sure you don’t fall behind. If it helps you to base your study times on your original class schedule, do it. You might also benefit from making to-do lists each day, and crossing them off as you go. Also, watch for emails about various opportunities being planned during normal chapel hours. We encourage you to use these times to take a break from your studies and spend time engaging with the videos and activities provided.
- Take breaks. Be sure to have a healthy balance of focused study time and breaks. On your breaks, do something that takes your eyes away from your screen. Stretch, take a walk, do some pushups, eat a snack – whatever you do, move away from your study space and give yourself permission to unwind. Then come back for your next scheduled study time with a fresh mind.
- Avoid temptations. Remove distractions from your study environment as much as possible. If that means leaving your phone in another room, do it. If it means logging out of Facebook on your computer, do it. If you’re working on an assignment that doesn’t require use of the internet, consider turning off your Wi-Fi to avoid getting sucked into “black holes” online.
- Stay connected with classmates and study partners. One of the most difficult things about transitioning to remote learning is feeling isolated. Make a conscious effort to stay connected with your friends and classmates, perhaps through regular video chat sessions or a group chat with your study partners. Check in with one another and support each other! Even if you’re feeling okay, your friends might be struggling. Check in on them.
- Stay engaged in class. Participate in group discussions. Ask questions during lectures. Take advantage of every format you’re given to participate. This will not only help you retain information, but it’ll encourage your professor as well, who may be teaching in a completely unfamiliar way. Plus, without face-to-face class hours, your professors may be measuring your attendance by your level of participation. Be all-in!
- Ask for tutoring and accommodations if needed. Corban tutors are available via Zoom to help you with your studies! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. In addition, accommodations for students with disabilities are available online just as they are for traditional classes. Be sure to let Student Support know if you need extra time for exams or other accommodations. We’re here to help you succeed!
Learning from a distance can be a difficult transition, but it can also help you learn about useful new tools to stay connected and collaborate with others. We hope you find the above tips helpful as you adjust to a new way to learn and grow!