Transitioning to remote learning

Recent developments caused by COVID-19 have left students, many of whom who have never taken an online course, to begin remote learning—something quite different from in-person learning.

Classes still have the same learning outcomes. That means you’re still going to have quizzes, exams, papers, assignments, group projects, presentations and more…just done in a different way. You may also have lectures to listen to, class to attend in a virtual setting, or videos to watch as part of your courses.

This guide offered by Student Affairs and the Burton Center for Student Success will help better prepare you to complete your courses remotely.

Learn to Use the Technology
Generally not much of a techie? That’s OK! You can find loads of helpful tutorials on YouTube. Still stuck? Reach out to your professor and they will help walk you through the programs. You should already be familiar with Brightspace, but should you run into any technical issues, you can reach out to Terreyl Williams—Brightspace administrator and instructional designer—for help. He’s also put together a whole host of materials available for every course within Brightspace. Just click on the “Content” link towards the top of the page, and you’ll see the module in the Table of Contents.

Depending on what your professor requires, you may need to acquaint yourself with programs like Skype, Virtual Classroom, or others that your professor may be using. The best way to learn how a program works is to spend some time with it clicking around and generally becoming more comfortable. This way, once your class starts, you’ll know where to find essential tools and certain capabilities.
Make sure you take inventory of the devices you'll have access to and communicate this with your professor. Don't have a particular device or Wi-Fi at home? Sharing with family? That’s OK, your professor will work with you on a solution.


You've Got Mail
Now more than ever you will need to keep an eye on your Lees-McRae email. Set a timer to remind yourself to regularly check your inbox or turn on notifications. This will most likely be the main mode of communication between you, your professors, your fellow classmates, and the college, so it’s important to stay in contact.


Get Organized
Start your day off with a to-do list of what needs to happen and prioritize those tasks from most important to least important. Additionally, you may find it helpful to begin your day with a few, easily accomplishable, smaller tasks to get motivation moving and your mind in the zone to work.
If you don't already have a method to organize what you need to do and when it is due, try the Academic Calendar, Student Schedule, or Daily Work Schedule in Excel—these are all pre-built and easy to use. Outside of the Office suite, you can also check out other free productivity programs like Evernote and ToDoist.


Set Routines and Hold Yourself Accountable
Set aside specific times each day for schoolwork—maybe a couple of hours in the morning and then a couple of hours in the afternoon, whatever works best for you, your schedule, deadlines, and your overall productivity. To remove any additional distraction, let your family and friends know when you’ll be working on assignments so they don’t interrupt your work time.


Create an Environment that Promotes Success
When it comes to working, for some, peace and quiet is essential, for others, it’s some background noise. Find which environment works best for you and do what you can to create that space for yourself. If you are working at home with others that may be distracting, find some headphones to block out the noise.

It’ll be much easier to stay focused and maintain motivation if you disconnect while learning and studying. This means turning off your phone or using browser extensions that block notifications like Cold Turkey or Freedom.

Lastly, make sure you are comfortable! While your bed may not be the best spot to learn, it’s important to find a good space that allows you comfort without getting too cozy. Make sure that wherever you choose to work that you have proper lighting—straining your eyes can lead to headaches and tiredness.


Be Flexible

Everyone is doing the best they can and the courtesy and grace you extend to others will be returned to you. If you have questions about something, don’t be afraid to ask! You can ask your professors, a Lees-McRae tutor, someone in the Burton Center for Student Success, or staff in Student Affairs.

Note: This article includes links to external websites. These links are only to provide ideas and examples, and do not reflect endorsements.

By Hannah Finkelstein and Sue McGuireMarch 20, 2020
AcademicsFamiliesCampus Life