Whether you are taking online classes this semester as part of continuing professional development or are teaching online and virtual classes because of the pandemic, there are some strategies to help you and your students be successful.
It may take some extra effort, self-discipline, and motivation. No one disputes the fact that learning and teaching this way is an adjustment for everyone. Follow these guidelines to make the process proceed more smoothly.
- Create a dedicated workspace to complete online work. This could be at home at the kitchen table, at a library computer station, or in a corner seat at your local favorite fast-food restaurant. Ideally, the area should be as quiet as you can get it or at least have a minimum of distractions so you can concentrate. Plan study times around family and work responsibilities.
- If you have the option, start slow. Taking one online class rather than several, until you get used to the format, is the best scenario. If you do not have any choice, break studying into small, manageable chunks rather than sitting for hours in front of the computer to (hopefully) prevent burnout.
- Manage your time wisely. Use an online or physical planner to denote study times, assignment due dates, and other commitments.
- Take advantage of student resources. Consult an advisor or counselor, visit chat rooms, or contact your instructor, if necessary. The resources are there to help you.
- Organize your work, both in a planner and by creating folders on your computer. Keeping everything in a specific place keeps you from losing it or forgetting about it.
- Become familiar with your computer and the learning platform your school uses. Have a reliable resource for computer-related issues – they always occur at the most inconvenient times!
- If you do not understand an assignment, ASK your instructor about it. Most professors are happy to help you and would rather you ask than have you do poorly on the work.
The first time you teach online or take an online class can be a challenge, but it is not an insurmountable one. Follow our recommendations to make it easier.