Professor of English Linda Krumholz, Associate Professor of Modern Languages Charles St-Georges, Professor of Psychology Nestor Matthews, and Assistant Professor of History Hoda Yousef share some “Do's and Don'ts for Remote Learning Students.
- Dedicate a specific space to homework and studying, if you can. It can be as simple as a chair or a corner of a room. When there's no separation between home space and work space, it helps to make these distinctions, however small. Your environment helps create the mindset and mental space for you to learn.
- Reach out early to your professors and advisor. Going to office hours is always good advice. This semester, it is doubly important. I would recommend setting up an appointment or dropping into video office hours to just say hello, introduce yourself, talk about why you are taking the class, etc. If you can’t make the scheduled office hours or if office hours are by appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a time that works for both of you. Your professors want to get to know you … but they are strapped for time too. Making the effort early in the semester to reach out will be important for your success.
- Ask questions: if you’re not clear about expectations for an assignment or interacting with technology, as your professor for guidance.
- Dress as you normally would for in-class instruction. It's important to maintain a back-to-school routine.
- Log in to your classes early so you can get as much informal talk time with your classmates as possible and build classroom community before class actually starts.
- Find your voice in the class. This is a tricky piece of advice, but something to think about. Depending on how the class is set up, consider ways you can be an active member of the class. Does that mean asking questions? Responding in the chat or on discussion boards? Setting up individual meetings with your professors and classmates? Organizing “community” or class note-taking? If you are having trouble, set up a session to strategize with your professor.
- Try to be patient with others and yourselves, kind and forgiving to each other and themselves. Being remote leaves less room for visual cues and chats after class to resolve misunderstandings. Technology goes wrong from time to time, and our own words go wrong from time to time. A willingness to fail is the way forward to learning. Accept the failures, realize we are all dealing with them, and move on.
- Set aside regular hours throughout the week to dedicate to homework and studying, free of distractions, notifications, etc., and stick to it. Creating structure when working remotely is a challenge that millions of us have had to rise to this year.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if something is not working as it should: you can’t hear a question, the technology is not working, etc. Be patient with us, yes. But also, let your professors know what is going on from your end. We all want this to work for everyone.
- Don't rely solely on pre-pandemic networks of friends and having them on Snapchat, Instagram, etc. to get you through this. Notebowl allows you to view the names and email address of your classmates in each of your courses under the "Roster" tab. Reach out to them to form study groups or just chat groups, which can be hosted through Google Meet (from MyDenison go to the "G" in the upper right-hand corner for Google Suite, click on the calendar on the drop-down menu, then "Create" an event, invite classmates using their denison.edu email address, and click "Add Google Meet video conferencing") or Zoom.
- Don't forget to stay engaged virtually with your non-academic communities at Denison as well.
- Zoom allows virtual backgrounds of your choosing. If your room is messy and you don't want to show it, then a Zoom background might help. Note: Not all computers can generate Zoom backgrounds.
- Remember that, for educational purposes, your course instructor might be recording the session for subsequent viewing. Please present yourself in the manner that you would like to be recorded.
- Silence notifications on your mobile devices as you would in the classroom, but if notifications are enabled on your computer, silence those as well, since they are incredibly distracting when class is in session. On a Mac, it's a simple as option-clicking the notifications icon in the far upper-right corner of your screen:
This article that offers several options for PCs: