Practical Tips For Studying From Home

Almost overnight, we’ve had to adjust to a radically different learning environment to keep people safe due to COVID-19. Like most new protocols, remote learning involves a learning curve for students and faculty. As we move forward in this new reality, there are few practical tips that may help make the transition easier.

First, be patient with yourself and with others during this time. Second, create a structure for yourself to help you succeed as an online learner. Below are more suggestions to help you make the switch from classroom to home and online learning.

Gather the Right Equipment

  • Since stay at home restrictions limit our ability to visit places like libraries and coffee shops, it’s important that you have access to a computer and reliable internet service at home. If that is an issue for you, talk to your school and see if they can help you get what you need.

 Prepare your study space and state of mind

  • Keep your learning materials handy. Make it easy for yourself to attend class or complete assignments. Keep paper, pens, chargers and other materials all together. If possible, keep a dedicated space in your home with these materials ready to go. If it’s not possible to keep a dedicated space, then keep everything together in a box or backpack, and treat that as your home office.
  • Be aware that changes will differ from course to course. Instructors may revise the course schedule, assignments, exams, grading and other components of class to accommodate the online format. They may also introduce new tools to help remote learning. Ultimately, instructors will adapt their courses in the way they feel best meets the learning objectives of the course.

Hold yourself accountable

  • Instructors will still hold you accountable for your work in an online setting, just as they would face-to-face classes
  • Actively participate in class posts and discussions—the earlier the better, so that you aren’t left repeating what others have already shared with the class.
  • Ask yourself the following:
  1. Has the syllabus changed since the class moved online? Look for and understand what will be different for future sessions.
  2. What is required for each class? Any specific materials?
  3. Is attendance and participation required and part of the final grade?
  4. If there are live lectures, will the lectures be recorded for later reference? Where can those be accessed?
  5. When are assignments due? Are there time limits on any assessments/exams? Be aware if they are due at a specific time in a different time zone. You will likely be held accountable for keeping track of time differences.
  6. How should assignments be submitted (via email or a learning management system like Canvas, Moodle, etc.)?

Stay connected to college or university resources—your school and instructors are here to support you and help you learn

  • Communicate with professors and school services to ensure your needs are being met for online assignments—especially if they’re timed—and work out other arrangements if they are needed. It’s important to know and ask about what resources are available to help with online videos or recordings and have support in place to navigate potential challenges.
  • If you need help, reach out for assistance. While it may take some time—especially at first—for campus offices, your instructors and support services to respond to email, be patient as they are working to answer lots of questions at the same time and really do want to provide you support.  
  • Be patient with your instructors and their response times. They might be maintaining “office hours” and may not respond to emails or messages at all times of day. Questions, especially about assignments, should be sent sooner rather than later to prevent turning in anything late. If you are unsure the best time or method to communicate with faculty—ask. They are there to help you learn and succeed.

We’re all doing our best to adapt in uncertain times. Reach out to your school if you have questions or need additional information about online classes. 

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