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Section 10.5 Succeeding During Remote Learning

Taking online classes is challenging, and it is different than the small liberal arts environment that we love about the university. Without the place- and community-based learning environment on campus, new academic struggles can arise and old ones manifest in new ways. But it is also possible to thrive and perhaps to develop good habits that might be harder to establish in normal times.
This section includes some suggestions for creating a successful environment for online learning. Like all success strategies, these will work differently for different learners. Take time to experiment and don’t feel bad if something doesn’t work for you! For more resources, check out the tips for success in the rest of this chapter (see Chapter 10).
List 10.5.1. Strategies for Success During Remote Learning
  • Go to class (and be present).
    It’s easier than ever to skip class, especially if your professor records lectures. Still, going during the scheduled time (time zone permitting) helps keep a normal schedule and gives you opportunities to interact with classmates and ask questions. If you let all those recorded lectures stack up, will you really listen to them later? Keep yourself accountable by turning your camera on.
  • Maintain a normal schedule.
    In the first week of online classes, class in bed might be a delicious novelty, but for most of us this isn’t the most sustainable habit. Maintaining a normal schedule by doing things like getting out of bed, putting on real clothes, and eating meals at normal times helps keep you in the headspace of going to school. Enjoy being comfortable at home, but don’t get too comfortable to work.
  • Be intentional about time management.
    Normally, we have breaks and changes in location that are naturally part of the day. At home, we must create these things for ourselves. Consider moving locations between classes and using a tool like a time chart to designate when you will work on specific things (see Subsection 10.3.6).
  • Take meaningful breaks!
    While a lot of fun activities aren’t available, think about things that make you happy and get you up and moving around. Exercise, go on walks, cook, Facetime a friend, read a book! It can be hard to motivate when you have nothing to look forward to so be sure to schedule in activities that you enjoy.
  • Limit distractions.
    It’s really easy to do other things during an online class, but lectures and discussion are still important to your learning! Close other tabs before class so you aren’t tempted to write emails or check social media and don’t keep your phone nearby. If you’re struggling with this, try a productivity app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Apps use strategies from helping you set time goals to disabling distracting websites while you’re working. It is also important to find workspaces where you can focus during class and talk to your housemates about norms during class times.
  • Continue to take advantage of resources.
    You’re not alone in this! Using resources can help you find connection to the campus community. Your teachers would love to see you in office hours. The tutoring center is also still available, along with online versions of many important campus resources. If you feel alone in your academic work you can always just chat with a tutor to feel connected! We’re all in this together.
  • Communicate your needs.
    Remote learning during the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t the same as choosing to take courses online. Everyone’s circumstances are different and if you’re dealing with a challenging home situation or virus-related stress, your professors will likely make accommodations they wouldn’t otherwise. Still, you have to communicate these needs to them in order to make a plan for success!