While the transition to online and remote learning may present some challenges and concerns for students, all students are capable of successfully finishing this semester and maximizing the opportunity to learn through a new environment. Being prepared and following a few key suggestions will help to ensure your likelihood of success.
Your top priority and our primary concern for you is that you remain healthy. Regularly wash your hands for at least twenty seconds, get plenty of sleep, and practice social distancing.
Reach out for help and support
If you’re feeling anxious about making this transition, you are not alone! The Counseling Center remains open, your Academic Advisor is here to help, and all other offices at BGSU remain open to serve you. Check out the list of Campus Resources below for more information.
Being prepared and proactive as you head into the next few weeks will make a big difference in being successful during our remote learning period. Consider establishing a daily and weekly routine for yourself. Review the To Do list below for some practical next steps.
Be flexible and resourceful
BGSU faculty are committed to your success and are working hard to transition to a virtual and remote learning environment. They are committed to maintaining a high-quality academic experience, while at the same time learning new was to provide instruction and administer assignments, exams, and projects. Our Remote Learning website has more tools to help you succeed.
Practice kindness and patience
Regardless of where you are learning, you are a Falcon. Support your peers, faculty, and staff, and understand that everyone’s intentions are motivated by a desire to do good.
Keep in touch
Remember that you have peers and classmates and that all BGSU students are making the same transition as you. Stay in touch with other students and across the university, ask for help, guidance, and suggestions, and remember that you’re not alone.
TIPS FOR ONLINE LEARNING
1. Treat an online course like a “real” course
When it comes to online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. Though you can may have the ability to be flexible as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, you can’t put it off indefinitely.
One of the easiest ways to ensure follow-through is to approach these classes just as you would for a traditional, in-person class. You must “show up” if you’re going to get real value out of your class. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.
2. Hold yourself accountable
Set goals and check-in with yourself weekly multiple times a week. In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a professor actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due.
If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a friend to check-in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even through these challenging times.
3. Practice time management
The flexibility and freedom of not having a regular class meeting time is often viewed as an advantage of online classes. But that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills. Without them, you might easily to find yourself cramming before exams or submitting subpar assignments.
Though how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality, here are some universally valuable tips to help you practice and improve your time management skills:
- Check your syllabi for any changes since the start of the semester and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead.
- Create a weekly schedule that you follow, designating certain hours each week to reading, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Commit to making your online coursework part of your weekly routine, and set reminders for yourself to complete these tasks.
- When working on your assignments, try time-blocking: , allotting yourself a certain amount of time for each task before moving on to the next one and setting a timer to keep you accountable.
- Check in periodically, and look at how you’re spending your time. Ask yourself: How much time am I dedicating to course reading and assignments? Am I regularly underestimating the time it’s taking me to get things done, forcing me to cram the nights before the exams? A little self-reflection and adjustment can go a long way.
4. Create a regular study space and stay organized
Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, a chair on your back porch, or a desk in your basement, it’s important to determine what type of environment will work best for you. Experiment to discover which type of setting boosts your productivity.
Setting up a regular workspace or office will also help you to stay organized. Knowing exactly where important dates, files, forms, syllabi, books, and assignments live will help keep you on track towards hitting your goals. When setting up your study space, make sure you:
- Have a strong, high-speed / WiFi internet connection
- Have the required books, materials, and software for the course
- Have headphones for listening to lectures or discussions
5. Eliminate distractions
From Netflix to social media to dishes piling up in the skink, you’ll be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. The best online students know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus.
Exactly how much of a challenge these distractions will prove to be will depend on your own unique personality and situation. Some might find that they can tune out a noisy home by listening to music. Others might choose to work from a local coffee shop or library to eliminate their urge to multitask at home. Ultimately, you will need to find a strategy that works best for you.
Regardless of where you choose to work, consider turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up. And if you’re still having trouble resisting the temptation to check your email or surf the web, try downloading a website blocker. Using applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.
6. Figure out how you learn best
Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If you have kids that require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re doing their own school work. Brew your usual cup of coffee, put on your go-to playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business.
Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.
7. Actively participate
Participate in the course’s online forum to help you better understand course materials and engage with fellow classmates. This might involve commenting on a classmate’s paper on a discussion board or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and your professor are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.
Make sure you are checking in as often as you can, too. The flexibility of online learning means that if you have 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.
And if you do feel yourself falling behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. Email your professor and be proactive in asking for help.
8. Leverage your network
Online classes may sometimes make you feel like you are learning on your own, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most online courses are built around the concept of collaboration, with professors and instructors actively encouraging that students work together to complete assignments and discuss lessons.
Build relationships with other students by introducing yourself and engaging in online discussion boards. Your peers can be a valuable resource when preparing for exams or asking for feedback on assignments. Don’t be afraid to turn to them to create a virtual study group. Chances are good that they will appreciate it just as much as you will.